Who is Jesus? What does it mean to follow him? In this video, Pastor David Platt explains that Jesus is God with us, who came to earth to give eternal life to those who would follow him. It can be easy to doubt that Jesus is the only hope for eternal life in a world of so many religions. In fact, Pastor Platt acknowledges that the identity of Jesus has been under attack since the early church. If we keep Jesus at arm’s-length, we can adopt a distorted and deceived view of Jesus. When we welcome him into our lives, however, we can begin to follow him and accept his lordship over our lives.
- Our Only Hope
- The Way to Eternal Life
Watch Full Sermon of Eternal Life and Everlasting Love
Jesus is eternal life. Jesus is eternal life. This is the key. If you want to know that you have eternal life, you have to know Jesus, not just know about Him. You have to know Him. Now, what’s interesting about these verses is on one hand it doesn’t seem like Jesus is talking about a person.
It doesn’t start by saying, He who is from the beginning, but that which was from the beginning, that which we have heard, not, He whom we have heard. So it’s almost like John is talking about something, not someone, “that” like he’s talking about a concept, eternal life, the word of life, not a person. But that’s where it gets interesting. Because he keeps going and he says, “We’ve seen it with our eyes and we’ve physically touched it with our hands.” So how in the world do you see a concept with your eyes?
Seeing and Feeling a Concept
How do you physically touch a concept with your hands? That’s something you do with an object that’s more personal. Even when you get down to the end of verse two, he says, “We have proclaimed to you the eternal life.” So it sounds like a concept, eternal life. But then he says, “That which was with the Father.” Which is clearly a reference to a person, and that’s the point of these verses.
Jesus is Eternal Life
Follow this, the concept of eternal life cannot be separated from the person of Jesus Christ. Jesus is eternal life. Without Jesus, you don’t have eternal life, which is exactly what the Gospel of John teaches us about Jesus. If you remember back, John chapter one, verse four, when John’s introducing that gospel, that Bible book, John says about Jesus, “In Him was life.” John 14, six, what does Jesus say? “I am the way, the truth and the life.”
John 17, three, Jesus prayed, “this is eternal life that they may know you the only true God and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. This is eternal life, that they may know you God and they may know Jesus.” You want to know you have eternal life, you must have Jesus. Now, that is a bold claim to SEVEN billion plus people in the world and countless more throughout history before now, to say that Jesus is the only hope for anyone’s and everyone’s eternal life.
How is that possible? I mean, in a world of religions and ideas and thoughts, Jesus is the only way to eternal life. He alone is eternal life. How is that possible? Well, John tells us this is true because Jesus is the revelation of God. That’s the language in verse two at the beginning and end of this verse says, “the life was made manifest. It was revealed. God, who’s the author of all life from the beginning…” Notice how first John 1:1, one echoes Genesis 1:1, “In the beginning, God…” So Jesus is the revelation of the God who was in the beginning.
Who is Jesus?
The Bible’s saying here, see who Jesus is. He’s the one who was with the Father from the beginning, before anything else ever was. Which is key because there were supposed Christians in Asia minor around Ephesus in the first century who were denying that Jesus is God. And John is warning the church not to believe that heresy, that false teaching, and that wasn’t just in the first century, that continued in subsequent centuries. There was a leader in the church named Arias in the third century, was a very prominent proponent of this position, trying to persuade people in the church that Jesus was created by God the Father.
Therefore, Jesus was not equal with God and he was persuasive. Many people were believing him that God raised up a man named Athenasius, 40 years the junior of Arias to refute that teaching. Athenasius was threatened multiple times. He stared down murderous intruders who would storm into the church where he was pastoring. He stood before emperors who had the power to cut off his head. Those emperors ended up sending him into exile five different times. You know how you get sent to exile five different times? You keep coming back.
Fight for Truth
You keep fighting for truth because he knew this truth was the key to eternal life. Jesus is the revelation of God. He is God in human flesh. See who Jesus is and see what Jesus has done. He has come to us. God, that’s the point here in first John one, has come to us. We’ve seen Him, we’ve heard Him, we’ve touched Him with our hands. This is the breathtaking reality of the Bible.
Feel this. I remember sitting across the table from a struggling teenager at camp, walking through all kinds of challenges in her life and family. She didn’t believe in God. And when I asked her, “What would it take for you to believe in Him?” She said, “If God would just come down and show himself to me, then I would believe.” This is exactly what God has done.
I said, I have good news for you. God has come to us. The life, the eternal life, the author of life before the world ever even begin. He has come. His name is Jesus. And this changes everything.
This changes everything because the implications of this truth have ramifications for every single life in this room and other campuses right now. And not just for your life now, ramifications for your life forever. And not just for your life in general, but for every single detail of your life, every single decision in your life. Please listen closely to what I’m about to say. There were many people in the first century, even professing Christians who had a small, distorted, deceived view of Jesus, and as a result, they had a small, distorted, deceived view of what it meant to follow Him.
Who Is Jesus Really?
And today, in the 21st century, there are many people, even professing Christians who have a small, distorted, deceived view of Jesus, and as a result, have a small, distorted, deceived view of what it means to follow Him. There are many people in the world today who are content to see Jesus as a good religious teacher who did good things, but they’re not about to follow Him as God, as the only Lord over their lives and their family and their money and their future.
My fear is that there are many people in the church who are exactly the same, who are content to come to the church and keep Jesus at arm’s distance. Glad to give Him a tip of our hats, but unwilling to follow Him as God, as Lord over every detail of our life, and our family, and our money, and our future.