The Magnificence of Christ

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The synoptic Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke all begin with Bethlehem and the womb of Mary, the mother
of Jesus; the more personal Gospel of John begins with ‘the bosom of the Father’ and the Son of God. The
introductory Book of Genesis works downward, or earthward, and tells what follows; the Gospel of John works
upward and tells what preceded creation. Time, matter, and living creatures came into being in Genesis, but,
according to John, the Word was…it was preexistent in the heavens with the Father. Genesis is of the earthly,
visible, tangible; here, one can see, hear, smell, taste, and touch and relate to the elements of creation. In the first
chapter of John the scene is spiritual, it is heavenly; here “things” are invisible, intangible, and related to by faith,
recalling that faith “is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen.” Heb. 11.1

To the natural mind, these words are not logical: God speaking words and the non-existent comes into
existence; and One called the Word of God, which is the fullness of the expression of God Himself, eternally
existing with God and was God, even before creation. As it is written, “In the beginning was the Word, and the
Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning.” Jn. 1.1-2 It is most difficult
for the mind to comprehend such lofty and seemingly abstract thoughts. Even though these thoughts are true,
and exist in a reality, they remain a challenge to understand. But to understand it we must, if we are to know the
magnificence of Christ.

To fathom the depth of these words in this first verse, or to make any sense of their meaning, we must first
recognize and consent that… this preexistent Word is a person; a person who is God, who has the divine
nature, yet, is distinct from God the Father. We cannot allow these words to remain as an idea in our minds, or
as an abstract thought belonging to a religion. We cannot say, “These thoughts are too lofty for me,” assign their
understanding to the theologians and philosophers of the world. John was not introducing the Word to these
intellectuals, rather, in all reality, he was addressing you and me, wanting to open our faith to understand their

These words are as real to our spirits as the words of creation are to our bodies and senses. We are only to
allow our spiritual senses to explore areas they have not been before. The reality of “the Word,” which begins
with a capital “W”, which signals it is a proper name, is therefore not that of an idea, or an icon, or of some
article of faith in which we say, “I believe it, so that is all that is required.” By no means, because the Word that
existed with God before creation is in reality a person, we as believers must strive with all that is within us to
know that person and to relate to that person even as we relate to the people in the world…but the way to relate
is spiritual and not with logic and emotions. Faith alone is the touchstone, the standard or criterion, by which we
recognize and understand these spiritual words.

Why is it that the Son of God is called the Word? If we, in all good reason, look at our own words, do we not
find that our words, our sentences, with various expressions of emphasis, are sent forth to reveal our minds?
We speak or write to express our thoughts, often reveal the innermost longings of our heart, our wishes, and
commands. So the Son of God was sent forth as the Word in order to reveal His Father’s mind to the world.
This means that the Word had an existence before the world was created, and that this Word does not, at this
point in time, refer to the man Jesus, but rather points to that which became a man, or was incarnate, as it is

written, “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His Glory, the glory as the only
begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” Jn. 1.14

And so, the Word existed at the beginning of creation, and consequently from eternity. That Word is the Son
of God, who is and was the Word, and was present when all things came into existence. It was not until a long
period of passing time that the Word entered the physical realm of creation as the man Jesus. At this point in
time, the Word of God, who is the Son of God by nature, became equally also the Son of Man by nature. So
now the Word of God may be seen and heard and touched, as expressed by the apostle John,

“That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes,
which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, concerning the Word of life— the life
was manifested, and we have seen, and bear witness, and declare to you that eternal life which
was with the Father and was manifested to us— that which we have seen and heard we declare
to you, that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and
with His Son Jesus Christ. And these things we write to you that your joy may be full.” 1 Jn. 1.1-4

So, the One that could been seen, and touched, and heard, and related to was crucified for our sins, died and was
buried; and resurrected with an eternal body, one like a body promised to all believers that receive Him. But
today, we cannot relate to Jesus in the flesh for as such He no longer exists, He is now the resurrected Christ. It
is as Paul writes, “Therefore, from now on, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we have
known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him thus no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he
is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” 2 Cor. 5.16-17

And so today, we must find our fellowship with the resurrected Son of Man, who is also the Son of God, who is
the Word, and who is ultimately for us the promise of the Father, the Christ, the Eternal One. The tangible and
visible objects of this world, and also components of religions, must diminish as central to our faith and trust,
and the pursuit of fellowship in the spiritual, in the Christ, who is the ultimate of our faith, must be sought after.
He, the magnificent Christ, alone is high and lifted up; He alone sits on the throne of God at the right hand of
our Father in heaven; and it is through His Spirit we find ourselves in union with God, and that by our
regenerated spirits.

Life and Light

Continuing now in the first chapter of John, it is written, “In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.”
Jn. 1.4 According to Biblical scholars, the word for life here, (Gk. Zoe) can be understood in its widest sense,
that is, the totality of life: the life which animates the body, the life that brings consciousness to the soul, the life
of the spirit; all life in the present and eternal life in the future. In Him was life, all life of the universe, which
only and always comes from God and is sustained by God’s own self-existent life. God alone is the self-existent
One, the “I Am” who has no beginning or ending, and in whom is this mysterious element we call life.

And the life was the light of men.—At this point in the reading, attention shifts from the relation of the Word
to the universe to His relation to man. Relation is what life is about. Without relationships all things are
simply objects and meaningless. Things just exist for their own existence. But by relations, there is a
connection, a communion, an inter-active effect on one another. It is here, in this verse, that intimates that the
Word is the source of life and intimately shares His gift of life with people but also even more so, asserts that in
Him is a higher life, an eternal life, and if received, this life brings forth a new creation in man.

In a recent Bible study we were discussing the gross darkness that is in the world today. Here, I commented
that the greater the light that is in us through the Word, the more distinct we are from darkness, and the more
darkness becomes darker to the eye of our understanding. Darkness becomes more evident in what surrounds
us in the natural: in the world, with events, and organizations, business, governments, media, entertainment
industry, even education today and regrettably, even elements in many established churches. There is the
fulfillment of the prophecy of Isaiah the prophet, “For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, And deep
darkness the people; But the LORD will arise over you, And His glory will be seen upon you.” Is. 60.2

Contrary to worldly thinking, mankind and society are not basically good with some bad elements in it. No,
these all have a fallen nature prone to corruption as they seek power, influence, prosperity, health, and all that
brings safety and security and prosperity, sexual satisfaction, and so on. In referring to all who are outside of
Christ, Paul writes, “having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, because of the
ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart;” Eph. 4.18 Even as the fruit of the forbidden
tree appeared to Eve as good for food and pleasing to the eyes, and that it was desirable for obtaining wisdom,
(Gn. 3.4) so do the elements of this fallen world appear to those of the world, and to eat of it plunges them
further into darkness—they become convinced all must, by all and any means, follow them if even by coercion.

“And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.” Jn. 1.5 The meaning here is
that which is dark, whether it be the heart of man or corruption in the world through lust, does not and will not
appropriate the light so as itself becoming light. It likes the darkness. That which is in darkness separates itself
from light and thereby appears, to those in light, even darker.

As I, personally, find increase in life in my soul through the Word, the rays of light become stronger and
brighter, and the attraction to darkness becomes less and more repulsive. I believe this to be an ultimate goal of
God for our lives. In confirmation, it is written, “But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the
glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the
Lord.” 2 Cor. 3.18 The Word is the going forth by way of the Holy Spirit from God to the soul of man.

Within the Word is the wisdom of God. Having eaten of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, the
world, through Adam and Eve, prefers to derive its own brand of wisdom . The troubling part is that the world
lies in darkness, and abounds to the nth degree in knowledge, but lacks the wisdom of God. Advancements in
science, medicine, and technology are transforming the world as I write. But there is a danger in grounding
everything in knowledge, for without wisdom knowledge alone is unsafe. There is a deadly element in the
understanding by knowledge alone which destroys truth and perverts the Word of God. The darkness of this
knowing world will not, and cannot comprehend the light of God, for it is of such an impenetrable dense
It is written, “We know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge puffs up, but love edifies. And if anyone thinks
that he knows anything, he knows nothing yet as he ought to know.” 1 Cor. 8.1-2 How often is the wisdom of
God, as contained in and through the Word of God, perverted and distorted, and stretched to fit one’s personal
knowledge, a knowledge gained intellectually and emotionally. Mankind is taught, trained, even brainwashed
with what society deems right and useful. Darkness demands to be at the helm of the ship to guide the world
through treacherous waters.

Moral questions in society today are shrouded in the darkness and are absent of the truth in the wisdom of
God’s Word. What the Word considers perverse and abominations are readily acceptable in the world,
condoned, even promoted. Immorality and sexual promiscuity is accelerating in society being promoted in the

media, taught in education, and enforced by the government. The wisdom of God, and those who walk in the
light of the Word, are actually hated by these elements of darkness.

Light is that by which we see things distinctly. The light of the sun enables us to discern the path before us to
show the way and to prevent us from falling into danger, which results from darkness. The Word, who is the
Son of God, who is the Christ, is here determined to be the “light of the world.” He is not only the emitter of
light and truth by which one may see more clearly, He is also the infuser of that light, by which the light and
truth and wisdom of God abides in and transforms the soul.

This is verified in the Word, as Old Testament prophecy, “The people who walked in darkness Have
seen a great light; Those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death, Upon them a light has shined.”
Is. 9.2

And in the New Testament Gospel, “The people which sat in darkness saw a great light; and to them
which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up.” Mt. 4.16

And by the words of Christ Himself, “Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the
world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.” Jn.8.12

He, the Word, He is the Christ, He is the highest light of the heavens, the brightest and warmest and most potent
light of Divine illumination into a dark and wicked world. The life which was in the Word, has always been, is
now, and will ever be the only true source of the light of men—and the wisdom of God. One who abides in
darkness, living by all his or her theories, reasoning, logic, by the writings of great scholars and intellectuals,
and famous people of the world, these cannot, and will not, appropriate the true light but regrettably lie in
darkness and in sin and death, “whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their
shame—who set their mind on earthly things.” Phil. 3.19 Whose end is destruction. This is what has been
referred to as the “tragic tone,” characterized by extreme distress or sorrow, being dreadful, disastrous, and
fatal. Follow closely the admonition,

“And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather
than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come
to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds
may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.” Jn. 3.19-21

Men love darkness. Darkness is the mark of ignorance, iniquity, error, superstition, and whatever is opposite
the truth in the wisdom of God. It says here that men love darkness more than they do light in that they are more
pleased with error than with truth, they are more comfortable with sin than holiness, and that they would prefer
to pay homage to false gods and dumb idols than to the living God, or they would prefer to trust in no god and
atheistically deny the spiritual realm and trust only in science and the ingenuity of man. In my youth I may
have been innocent and naive, but today I have never witnessed such wickedness in the earth, such sin,
immorality, and unrighteous principles, such conniving and deception, such greed and thirst for power, and such
a departure from church and God. We live in a dark age.

Because their deeds are evil – Men who commit crime commonly choose to do it in the darkness of night, so as
to escape detection. They sneak about and lie in wait. But today they are even more brazen in their crimes,
openly looting and raiding, raping the innocent, enslaving youth and women for immoral purposes, and openly
lie about the streets in alcohol and drug induced stupor. The only light that can be seen on nighttime satellite
images of the earth are clustered around large populated cities, the larger to metropolis the greater the glow of

light. But in spiritual reality, these are by far the darkest regions on the planet—the seats of wickedness, the
Sodom and Gomorrah’s of this age, and the centers of corrupt powers and of business greed.

At one time there was, in the eyes of God, a single light in the world, which was the Word of God, who is the
Son of God, the Christ. It is written, “Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He
who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.” Jn. 8.12 And from the Spirit of Christ is
born the Church, the Body of Christ, who God says in His Word, “You are the light of the world. A city that is
set on a hill cannot be hidden.” Mt. 5.14 All else is in darkness.

Even in the presence of this light, the Jew, the greater part of them, preferred the shadows of the ceremonial
Law and the whole religious system of Moses and the traditions of their elders. And for the rest of the world,
the Gentiles, for the greater part, both then and now, choose to continue in their heathenish ignorance, and
idolatry, and atheism, and to walk in their own ways in the vanity of their minds, rather than to lay hold of the
light of the Word that was/is in Christ and His Church.

In their darkness, which openly and arrogantly reject the light, men prefer false doctrine and error to the truth
because such words tickle their ears and endorses their vain minds. The religious, like the Pharisees of the Old
Testament, clothed themselves and their misconducts under the darkness and shadow of their religious system;
amid their false teachings, and their superstitions, they attempted to convince others that they had a pious zeal
for God; and that they alone are the bulwarks of the faith. This is duplicated and triplicated today amid the
religious sects that spring up and people are lured in by false teachers and false prophets, with perverse doctrine,
lifestyles, worldly morality, entertainment and emotional worship, and perverse customs—lifestyles that appear
deceptively good to the reasoning and emotions of man but are inherently corrupt: consider Catholicism,
Mormonism, and any other religiously styled “ism” existing today.

Whether relating to politics, economic, philosophy, or religion, the suffix ism implies a particular practice, or
system with particular doctrine, belief system, or prevalent attitude. Catholicism, Pentecostalism, Methodism,
communism, Hinduism, atheism, and all the other isms puts man into a box confined to certain teachings,
rituals, and codes of behavior that enslave the soul. Appearing to man as places of light, these blackholes pull
people deeper into their ism darkness.

And so it is still. In seeing aerial photos and satellite images of cities, I continue to marvel at the mass of
humanity that extends for miles in these densely populated areas—from high rises to huts. Yet, the greatest
mass of humanity, sunk in the grips of sin and despair, will not receive this light, and be enlightened, and be
saved. Sin, with the fallen nature of man, always blinds the mind, for it is not just shadows, or shades of gray,
but the state of sin is impenetrable darkness. And yet there remains for these, the most dreaded darkness to
come—the Bible refers to it as the gloom of darkness and outer darkness.

Darkness and light are incompatible with one another. Darkness has no affinity for light and light will
consume and dispel darkness. They cannot co-exist in company with one another. Mankind is in desperate
straits, yet is blinded to it, their eyes see but cannot see beyond the edge of their darkness, and they hear but do
not the detect the Word. They are deceived this day even as Eve was deceived by Satan in the Garden. Their
destiny is determined because darkness and light cannot occupy the same space, either in heaven or earth, or in
this age or the age to come.

Where there is the WORD there is LIGHT, where there is LIGHT there is GRACE, and
where there is GRACE there is HOPE.

To His praise and the persistent, relentless love of God, His grace flows forth in the Word. How can I best
describe grace? Let me try the best I can with that given to me. Sin is death, first the death of the spirit in
relation to God, followed by the death of the body in relation to the world, and finally death to the soul only to
exist in a state of eternal darkness and despair; but then the Almighty God “leaning forward towards” me
breathes a breath of His own life into me, cleanses me of all filth, washes me in the pure blood of the Lamb of
God, and says to me, “live.” This is His grace, His unmerited favor, towards me and all who by faith receive
the Spirit of God’s Son into their heart.

Let us continue reading a few more verses in John 1, discovering the magnitude of this grace, the miracle of its
immeasurable blessings toward us.

“He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. He came
to His own, and His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to
become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will
of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” Jn. 1.10-13

The promise and grace of God lies not in “things” wanting, like that of eternal life, a hope of heaven, a hope of
well-being and of eternal bliss, of wanting joy and peace, and so on. These are all inanimate objects capable of
being perceived by the mind and felt by the emotions. But there is the One who has all those “things” within
Himself, who is the source of life and peace and joy, etc. Why ask for a sip of water to quench our parched lips
when we may receive the spring of living water springing up to eternal life?

The promise is in the Word, in the Son of God, who is the Christ. Why ask for heaven when there is Christ? Is it
better to be taken to a “place” of bliss or to the One in whom is the fullness of happiness and joy. The life is in
the Son, heaven is in the Son, our well-being, salvation is in the Son, all the promises of God, all, without
exception, cannot be found as individual objects through various religious rituals, prayers, and expectations.
Christ is all in all. He alone is our sufficiency. To have the person of the Word, the Son of God, the Christ is
sufficient. As it is written,

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every
spiritual blessing in the heavenly places… in Christ.” Eph. 1.3

We must not seek for things that only satisfy the outward man of his wants, but desperately seek after the One
who satisfies and fills the inward man of the heart.

Two Considerations
The first consideration. In our reading of verses 10-13, there are two very, very important considerations of
which to take particular notice. The first is an action to be taken, something we must do, and the second is the
experiential response to that action. Firstly, the action, the passage reads,
…as many as received Him. Now understand, Christ is not a doctrine (some lofty teaching), nor is He a
religion, or some other system of belief and or special practices; nor is He but a concept, some imaginary figure
or idea representing God. Not at all, He is none of these “things.” Christ is a person, a being, to be regarded

as an individual, who is the Word, the Son of God, and He is the Christ. He is spiritual! Being spiritual means,
that though once He was visible and approachable in the flesh as the incarnate Jesus, today He is the resurrected
One, and as such is intangible and invisible to our senses but approachable by way of our spirits and by faith.
We approach not idols, pictures, statues, an idea or concept, or some power or mysterious spirit, but we come to
a person—the individual but spiritual being having a divine nature and holy character, and who equally has
human nature. He existed before time began, and who presently not only is with God, but who is God.

Our hope in Christ is not a wish, something we feel emotionally about and have a want for, but our hope is an
expectation, and anticipation of what is to come by receiving Him. Understand now the bold significance of
this word, receive (Gk. lambano). It means to “lay hold of by aggressively (actively) accepting what is being
offered.” This word emphasizes initiative— independent initiating the act of actively stretching forth the hand,
reaching out to lay hold of what is being offered; and this word also emphasizes volition—which is the faculty
or power of using your own will, of decisively choosing to do so.

The verse continues, He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him. His own, meaning the Jew, did not
receive Him, but just the opposite, by their initiative and volition they decisively rejected Him, and furthermore
crucified Him. Today, it is as I heard a Jewish woman say about Christ Jesus, “I know nothing about Him, I
have no connection to Him.” I do not believe that she, or other Jews, or all of the same rejection, want my pity,
but nevertheless I have great sorrow and compassion for them.

The second consideration. But now we must continue to the second consideration of these verses, and that is
to think carefully about the experiential result of receiving Christ, the Promise of God. It is further written,
“But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who
believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but
of God.”

Oh the magnitude of these words, the inherent glory contained in them, the unveiling of such a great mystery
released from the heavens in but a few words, to become the children of God… who were born, not of blood,
nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” We all know quite well what it means to be
born of blood, of the will of the flesh, and of the will of man. We have parents who had parents, who had
parents…traced back to the fallen parents of Adam and Eve. The seed of our first parents was passed down
through generation upon generation until you and I are born. We are, we exist by the will of the flesh, by the
will of man.

…to become children of God, It is specifically written with carefully chosen words, to become children of
God. To become, not “to be” children, or to be considered as children, or to be legally adopted as children, but
“to come into being” indicating a “change in condition.” To become children of God is to be born firstly of the
will and choosing of God as our heavenly Father; and secondly it means to be born of the seed of the eternal
Christ, as it is written, “having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of
God which lives and abides forever.” 1 Pet. 1.23 This constitutes a new spiritual birth, a new creation that was
not but is now.

Succinctly said, the experiential result revealed in this word, is becoming spiritually connected with God as our
heavenly Father through the inwardly abiding seed of Christ. By this we are connected to the only source of
eternal life even as the branch is connected to the vine, surviving only by the essence flowing from the vine into
the branch—and in that essence are all things, recalling “as His divine power has given to us all things
that pertain to life and godliness.” 2 Pet. 1.3

I must draw this to a close because it is becoming too lengthy for one sitting. But in this I truly hope that a
glimpse is made into the “magnificence of Christ,” knowing full well that such fullness cannot be captured in
such brevity, nor can it be contained in volumes and volumes of such words. But once the magnificence of
Christ is tasted, the desire for all else dissipates, and the Light of the Word of the Son of God becomes brighter,
and brighter, and more glorious with every breath we take, and every day we live…

“Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the
power that works in us,” Eph. 3.20

Picture of Daniel DeVitis

Daniel DeVitis

Daniel P. DeVitis (Dan) has served in ministry for over 50 years. Since 1972 he has overseen a home church, Immanuel Fellowship, Shippensburg, PA, where he currently resides with his wife Petra. He was a professor of Geography and Earth Science at Shippensburg University until his retirement in 2003. He now serves as an elder in Unto Full Stature Ministries where he continues to author newsletters, write articles, and speak at leadership conferences and churches at and abroad.
Picture of Daniel DeVitis

Daniel DeVitis

Daniel P. DeVitis (Dan) has served in ministry for over 50 years. Since 1972 he has overseen a home church, Immanuel Fellowship, Shippensburg, PA, where he currently resides with his wife Petra. He was a professor of Geography and Earth Science at Shippensburg University until his retirement in 2003. He now serves as an elder in Unto Full Stature Ministries where he continues to author newsletters, write articles, and speak at leadership conferences and churches at and abroad.

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