The Gospel of John Chapter 1

For the New International Version ..

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.

In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.

There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.

He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and his own received him not.

But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

John bare witness of him, and cried, saying, This was he of whom I spake, He that cometh after me is preferred before me: for he was before me. And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace.

For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.

No man hath seen God at any time, the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.  And this is the record of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, Who art thou? And he confessed, and denied not; but confessed, I am not the Christ.  And they asked him, What then? Art thou Elias? And he saith, I am not. Art thou that prophet? And he answered, No. Then said they unto him, Who art thou? that we may give an answer to them that sent us. What sayest thou of thyself?

He said, I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord, as said the prophet Esaias. And they which were sent were of the Pharisees. And they asked him, and said unto him, Why baptizest thou then, if thou be not that Christ, nor Elias, neither that prophet? John answered them, saying, I baptize with water: but there standeth one among you, whom ye know not; He it is, who coming after me is preferred before me, whose shoe’s latchet I am not worthy to unloose.  These things were done in Bethabara beyond Jordan, where John was baptizing.

The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.

This is he of whom I said, After me cometh a man which is preferred before me: for he was before me. And I knew him not: but that he should be made manifest to Israel, therefore am I come baptizing with water.

And John bare record, saying, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon him.

And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost.  And I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God.

Again the next day after John stood, and two of his disciples; And looking upon Jesus as he walked, he saith, Behold the Lamb of God!  And the two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus. Then Jesus turned, and saw them following, and saith unto them, What seek ye? They said unto him, Rabbi, (which is to say, being interpreted, Master,) where dwellest thou?

He saith unto them, Come and see. They came and saw where he dwelt, and abode with him that day: for it was about the tenth hour. One of the two which heard John speak, and followed him, was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. He first findeth his own brother Simon, and saith unto him, We have found the Messias, which is, being interpreted, the Christ. And he brought him to Jesus. And when Jesus beheld him, he said, Thou art Simon the son of Jona: thou shalt be called Cephas, which is by interpretation, A stone.

The day following Jesus would go forth into Galilee, and findeth Philip, and saith unto him, Follow me.

Now Philip was of Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter.  Philip findeth Nathanael, and saith unto him, We have found him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph. And Nathanael said unto him, Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth? Philip saith unto him, Come and see.

Jesus saw Nathanael coming to him, and saith of him, Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile! Nathanael saith unto him, Whence knowest thou me? Jesus answered and said unto him, Before that Philip called thee, when thou wast under the fig tree, I saw thee. Nathanael answered and saith unto him, Rabbi, thou art the Son of God; thou art the King of Israel. Jesus answered and said unto him, Because I said unto thee, I saw thee under the fig tree, believest thou? thou shalt see greater things than these.

And he saith unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Hereafter ye shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man.

This first chapter of the Gospel of John is one of my absolute favorites.  There’s a lot going on in this chapter, and John is thoughtful in his very first paragraphs to describe in inspired detail not only the Person of Jesus, but Who He IS.

First John refers to Jesus as the Word.  I like the way the late Warren Wiersbe  puts it in his commentary:

Much as our words reveal to others our hearts and minds, so Jesus Christ is God’s “Word” to reveal His heart and mind to us. “He that hath seen me hath seen the Father” (John 14:9). A word is composed of letters, and Jesus Christ is “Alpha and Omega” (Rev. 1:11), the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet. According to Hebrews 1:1-3, Jesus Christ is God’s last Word to mankind, for He is the climax of divine revelation.

Words are important, and God’s Word is powerful.  Even His Name is powerful.  It’s interesting to me that public prayers given in a general “thank you god” non sectarian way is fully acceptable, but when one prays in Jesus’s Name, that’s when people bristle.  There’s something about that Name, the Word… Truth. And it cuts like a double edged sword.

The other evening we were discussing the issue of gun control- and it also was pointed out that people either don’t believe in God or they ignore Him when it comes to the real problem of our country, that the mass shootings are a heart and sin problem, not guns or gun manufacturers. But don’t dare say God’s Name out loud when talking to folks?   Never.  Jesus is the Word, and the light of the world, but He gives us the Word to share.  If He is not shared, then the light will be removed from among us. As Christians we should never stop, never give up our right to speak the Word in Truth and love, and if there comes a time when it’s taken away, it will only be because we didn’t speak the Word when we should have.

Jesus was in the beginning as God and with God. Jesus was not created, He has always existed, and through Him, His Word, He spoke creation into existence.

The Gospel of John speaks of Life 36 times.  Air, water and food are essential to life, and Jesus embodies each of these. By His Spirit we are given the breath of life.  Yesterday we read a little of how Jesus is the still waters, the river of life, the living water. And Jesus is even the Bread of Life. Light is also essential to life; without sunlight everything would die.

Jesus was and is the light of men, but darkness could not comprehend Him.  It’s kind of like that example from a couple of weeks ago, how people living in darkness don’t realize how dark it is until a light is turned on.  Speaking of John the Baptist, John writes, He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light.  The Light needed a witness because no one knew what the Light was.  If you’ve ever sat in a darkened room, you know once a bright light is turned on, you’re blinded for a minute.  I can only imagine that people were blinded to Jesus and it was only when they finally spent time in the light, that they could see better.

From Warren Wiersbe again, Why did the nation reject Jesus Christ? Because they “knew him not.” They were spiritually ignorant. Jesus is the “true Light”–the original of which every other light is a copy–but the Jews were content with the copies. They had Moses and the law, the temple and the sacrifices, but they did not comprehend that these “lights” pointed to the true Light who was the fulfillment, the completion, of the Old Testament religion.

I find this very much the same with religion today.  So many people could have a fulfilling relationship with Jesus, but are content to just have dim copies. Only instead of Mosaic law, they are content with traditions of men and denominational legalism. They prefer the religion and not the relationship, because the relationship means learning to live always in the light.

One thing I really appreciate about John the Baptist is that he is quick to tell plainly that he is nobody and that his only mission is to tell about Somebody… the Son of the Living God- the Lamb of God.  He takes the mission seriously and points people towards Jesus. That’s what all of us should be doing. The only way people can know, is if someone tells them.

The Baptism of Jesus, by John who “baptizes with water” was a testimony of what was to come through the work of Jesus on the cross through the death, burial and resurrection, and it was bore witness by John, but also by God the Father who spoke from heaven, and the Holy Spirit who, as a dove, came down and rested upon Jesus.

In the next part, we see the first disciples of Jesus appear, when they had been disciples of John’s.  They heard John testify of Christ, and followed after Jesus.  John was happy that they went “I must decrease so that He may increase.”

It’s interesting that Andrew was, of the disciples, the first to share the gospel even though they didn’t know the Gospel yet. But in telling his brother Simon, “We have found the Messiah…”  And then he brought Simon to Jesus.  Andrew is willing to humble himself when he could have said “I have found”, and rejoices in the fact that they had found Messiah- it didn’t matter to him who found Him first.

It’s also interesting that  we find Andrew also bringing the boy with the loaves and fish (John 6:8-9), and the Greeks who wanted to see Jesus.  He may never have written an Epistle or Gospel, but like God has different functions for different parts of the body of Christ, Andrew had his function of showing the way and introducing others to Jesus.

Think of some of the ways in which Jesus is thought of by the world today.  Most say He was a good teacher, or one of the great prophets, a wise Rabbi.  But how many would describe Him as John did in his Gospel?

Word, Light, Son of God, Lamb of God, Messiah, King of Israel, Son of Man.  Andrew and (scholars agree it was John) came to Jesus by the faithful teaching of John the Baptist, and their brothers came to Jesus by their faithful testimony of Jesus.  The other disciples were brought into the fold by Jesus Himself.

God uses different ways for different people to draw them to Jesus, but He always uses others to point the way and tell people about Him.  Maybe more people would be drawn to the Light if we were to shine the light on Who Jesus IS, and why the Light of the World came as the Word made flesh.

Have a blessed day all!

 

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