HE SPOKE, and galaxies whirled into place, stars burned the heavens, and planets orbiting their suns - words of awesome, unlimited, unleased power. He spoke again and the waters and lands were filled with plants and creatures, running, swimming, growing, and multiplying - words of animating, breathing, pulsing life. Again He spoke, and man and woman were formed, thinking, speaking, and loving - words of personal and creative glory. Eternal, infinite, unlimited - He was, is, and always will be the Maker and Lord of all that exists.
And then He came in the flesh to speck in the universe called planet earth. The Mighty Creator became part of the creation, limited by time and space and susceptible to aging, sickness, and death. But love propelled Him, and so He came to rescue and save those who were lost and to give them the gift of eternity. He is the Word; He is Jesus, the Christ.
It is this truth that the apostle John brings to us in this book. John's Gospel is not a life of Christ; it is a powerful argument for the incarnation, a conclusive demonstration that Jesus was, and is, the very heaven-sent Son of God and the ONLY source of eternal life. John discloses Jesus' identity with his very first words, In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning."(John 1:1,2); and the rest of the book continues the theme. John, the eyewitness, chose eight of Jesus' miracles (or signs, as he calls them) to reveal His divine/human nature and His life-giving mission. These signs are (1) turning water into wine (John 2:1-11), (2) healing the official's son (John 4:46-54), (3) healing the invalid at Bethesda (John 5:1-9), (4) feeding 5,000 with just a few loaves and fish (John 6:1-14), (5) walking on the water (John 6:15-21), (6) restoring sight to the blind man (John 9:1-41, (7) raising Lazarus from the dead (John 11:1-44), and after the resurrection, (8) giving the disciples an overwhelming catch of fish (John 21:1-14).
In every chapter Jesus' deity is revealed. And Jesus' true identity is underscored through the titles He is given - the Word, the One and Only, Lamb of God, Son of God, True Bread, Life, Resurrection, Vine. And the formula is "I AM." When Jesus uses this phrase, he affirms His preexistence and eternal deity. Jesus says, I am the bread of life (John 6:35); I am the light of the world (John 8:12, 9:5); I am the gate (John 10:7), I am the good Shepherd (John 10:11, 14); I am the resurrection and the life (John 11:25); I am the Way, and the Truth and the Life (John 14:6); and I am the True Vine (John 15:1).
The greatest sign, of course, is the resurrection, and John provides a stirring eyewitness account of finding the empty tomb. The he records various post-Resurrection appearances by Jesus. John, the devoted follower of Christ, has given us a personal and powerful look at Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God. As you read his story, commit yourself to believe in and follow Him.
John makes it clear that Jesus is not just a man, He is the eternal Son of God. He is the light of the world because He offers this gift of eternal life to all people. How blind and foolish to call Jesus nothing more than an unusually good man or moral teacher. Yet we sometimes act as if this were true when we casually toss around His words and go about living our own way. If Jesus is the eternal Son of God, we should pay attention to His divine identity and life-giving message.
Jesus meets with individual, preaches to great crowds, trains His disciples, and debates with the religious leaders. The message that He is the Son of God receives a mixed reaction. Some worship Him, some are puzzled, some shrink back, and some move to silence Him. We see the same varied reactions today. Times have changed, but people's hearts remain hard. May we see ourselves in these encounters Jesus had with people, and may our response be to worship and follow Him.
Jesus carefully instructed the disciples how to continue to believe even after His death, yet they could not take it in. After He died and the first reports came back that Jesus was live, the disciples could not believe it. Thomas is especially remembered as one who refused to believe even when He head the eyewitness accounts from other disciples. May we accept the eyewitness testimony of the disciples that John has recorded in this Gospel.
Jesus Christ, Son of God - John shows us that Jesus is unique as God's special Son, yet He is fully God. Because He is fully God, Jesus is able to reveal God to us clearly and accurately.
Importance - Because Jesus is God's Son, we can perfectly trust what he says. By trusting Him, we can gain an open mind to understand God's message and fulfill His purpose in our lives.
Eternal Life - Because Jesus is God, He lives forever. Before the world began, He lived with God, and He will reign forever with Him. In John we see Jesus revealed in power and magnificence even before His resurrection.
Importance - Jesus offers eternal life to us. We are invited to begin living in a personal, eternal relationship with Him now. Although we must grow old and die, by trusting Him we can have a new life that lasts forever.
Belief - As said before, John records eight specific signs, or miracles, that show the nature of Jesus' power and love. We see His power over everything created, and we see His love of all people. These signs encourage us to believe in Him.
Importance - Believing is active, living, and continuous trust in Jesus as God. When we believe in His life, His words, His death, and His resurrection, we are cleansed from sin and receive power to follow Him. But we must respond to Him by believing.
Holy Spirit - Jesus taught His disciples that the Holy Spirit would come after He ascended from earth. The Holy Spirit would then indwell, guide, council, and comfort those who follow Jesus. Through the Holy Spirit, Christ's presence and power are multiplied in all who believe.
Importance - Through God's Holy Spirit, we are drawn to Him in Faith. We must know the Holy Spirit to understand all Jesus taught. We can experience Jesus' love and guidance as we allow the Holy Spirit to do His work in us.
Resurrection - On the third day after He died, Jesus rose from the dead. This was verified by His disciples and many eyewitnesses. This reality changed the disciples from frightened deserters to dynamic leaders in the new church. This fact is the foundation of the Christian faith.
Importance - We can be changed as the disciples were and have confidence that our bodies will one day be raised to live with Christ forever. The same power that raised Christ Jesus to life can give us the ability to follow Christ Jesus each day.
I will give three different versions explaining John 1:1-18
John 1 - The Eternal Word (NKJV)
1In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2He was in the beginning with God. 3All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. 4In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.
John’s Witness: The True Light
6There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7This man came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all through him might believe. 8He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. 9That was the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world.
10He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. 11He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him. 12But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: 13who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
The Word Becomes Flesh
14And the Word became 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.
15John bore witness of Him and cried out, saying, “This was He of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me is preferred before me, for He was before me.’ ”
16And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace. 17For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him.
John 1 - The Word Became Flesh (NIV)
1In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2He was with God in the beginning. 3Through Him all things were made; without Him nothing was made that has been made. 4In Him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. 5The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
6There was a man sent from God whose name was John. 7He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all might believe. 8He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light.
9The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. 10He was in the world, and though the world was made through Him, the world did not recognize Him. 11He came to that which was His own, but His own did not receive Him. 12Yet to all who did receive Him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God— 13children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.
14The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us. We have seen His glory, the glory of the One and Only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
15(John testified concerning him. He cried out, saying, “This is the One I spoke about when I said, ‘He who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’ ”) 16Out of His fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given. 17For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18No one has ever seen God, but the One and Only Son, who is himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made Him known.
The Life-Light (The Message)
1-2The Word was first,
the Word present to God,
God present to the Word.
The Word was God,
in readiness for God from day one.
3-5Everything was created through Him;
nothing—not one thing!—
came into being without Him.
What came into existence was Life,
and the Life was Light to live by.
The Life-Light blazed out of the darkness;
the darkness couldn’t put it out.
6-8There once was a man, his name John, sent by God to point out the way to the Life-Light. He came to show everyone where to look, who to believe in. John was not himself the Light; he was there to show the way to the Light.
9-13The Life-Light was the real thing:
Every person entering Life
He brings into Light.
He was in the world,
the world was there through Him,
and yet the world didn’t even notice.
He came to His own people,
but they didn’t want Him.
But whoever did want Him,
who believed He was who He claimed
and would do what He said,
He made to be their true selves,
their child-of-God selves.
These are the God-begotten,
14The Word became flesh and blood,
and moved into the neighborhood.
We saw the glory with our own eyes,
the one-of-a-kind glory,
like Father, like Son,
Generous inside and out,
true from start to finish.
15John pointed Him out and called, “This is the One! The One I told you was coming after me but in fact was ahead of me. He has always been ahead of me, has always had the first word.”
16-18We all live off His generous bounty,
gift after gift after gift.
We got the basics from Moses,
and then this exuberant giving and receiving,
This endless knowing and understanding—
all this came through Jesus, the Messiah.
No one has ever seen God,
not so much as a glimpse.
This one-of-a-kind God-Expression,
who exists at the very heart of the Father,
has made Him plain as day.
What Jesus taught and what He did are tied inseparably to who He is. John shows Jesus as fully human and fully God. Although Jesus took upon Himself full humanity and lived as a man, he never ceased to be the eternal God who has always existed, the Creator and Sustainer of all things, and the source of eternal life. This is the truth about Jesus, and the foundation of all truth. If we cannot or do not believe this basic truth, we will not have enough faith to trust our eternal destiny to Him. That is why John wrote this Gospel - to build faith and confidence in Jesus Christ so that we may believe that He truly was and is the Son of God. (John 20:30, 31)
John wrote to believers everywhere, both Jews and non -Jews (Gentiles). As one of Jesus' 12 disciples, John writes with credibility and the details of an eyewitness. His book is not a biography (like the book of Luke); it is a thematic presentation of Jesus' life. Many in John's original audience had a Greek background. Greek culture encouraged worship of many mythological gods, whose supernatural characteristics were as important to Greeks as genealogies were to Jews. John shows that Jesus is not only different from but superior to these gods of mythology.
What does John mean by "the Word"? The Word was a term used by theologians and philosophers, both Jews and Greeks, in many different ways. In Hebrew Scripture, the Word was an agent of creation (Psalm 33:6), the source of God's message to His people through the prophets (Hosea 1:2), and God's law, His standard of holiness (psalm 119:11). In Greek philosophy, the Word was another expression for God. John's description shows clearly that he is speaking of Jesus (see especially John 1:14) - a human being he knew and loved, but at the same time the Creator of the universe, the ultimate revelation of God, the living picture of God's holiness, the One in whom all things hold together"(Colossians 1:17). To Jewish readers, "the Word was God" was blasphemous. To Greek readers, "the Word became flesh" (John 1:14) was unthinkable. To John, this new understanding of the Word was gospel, the Good News of Jesus Christ.
When God created, He made something from nothing. Because we are created beings, we have no basis for pride. Remember that you exist only because God made you, and you have special gifts only because God gave them to you. With God you are something valuable and unique; apart from God you are nothing, and if you try to live without Him, you will be abandoning the purpose for which you were made.
Do you ever fell that your life is too complex for God to understand? Remember, God created the entire universe, and nothing is too difficult for Him. God created you; He is alive today, and His love is bigger than any problem you may face.
"The darkness has not understood it" means the darkness of evil never has and never will overcome or extinguish God's light. Jesus Christ is the Creator of life, and His life brings light to mankind. In His light, we see ourselves as we really are (sinners in need of a Savior). When we follow Jesus, the true Light, we can avoid walking blindly and failing into sin. He lights the path ahead of us so that we can see how to live. He removes the darkness of sin from our lives. In what ways have you allowed the light of Christ to shine into your life? Let Christ guide your life, and you'll never need to stumble in darkness.
We, like John the Baptist, are not the source of God's light; we merely reflect that light. Jesus Christ is the true light; He helps us see our way to God and shows us how to walk along that way. But Christ has chosen to reflect His light through His followers to an unbelieving world, perhaps because unbelievers are not able to bear the full blazing glory of His light firsthand. The word witness indicates our role as reflectors of Christ's light. We are never to present ourselves as the light to others, but are always to point them to Christ, the Light.
Although Christ created the world, the people He created didn't recognize Him (John 1:10). Even the people chosen by God to prepare the rest of the world for the Messiah rejected Him (John1:11), although the entire old testament pointed to His coming.
All who welcome Jesus Christ as Lord of their lives are reborn spiritually, receiving new life from God. Through faith in Christ, this new birth changes us from the inside out - rearranging our attitudes, desires, and motives. Being born makes you physically alive and places you in your parent's family (John 1:13). Being born of God makes you spiritually alive and puts you in God's family (John 1:12). Have you asked Christ to make you a new person? This fresh start in life is available to all who believe in Christ.
"The Word became flesh" means becoming human. By doing so, Christ became (1) the Perfect Teacher - in Jesus' life we see how God things and therefore how we should think (Philippians 2:5-11); (2) the Perfect example - as a model of what we are to become, He shows us how to live and gives us the power to live that way (1 Peter 2:21); (3) the Perfect sacrifice - Jesus came as a sacrifice for all sins, and His death satisfied God's requirements for the removal of sin (Colossians 1:15-23).
"The One and Only, who came from the Father" means Jesus is God's only and unique Son. The emphasis is on Unique. Jesus is one of a kind and enjoys a relationship with God unlike all believers who are called "children" and said to be "born" of God.
When Christ was born, God became a man. he was not part man and part God; He was completely human and completely divine (Colossians 2:9). Before Christ came, people could know God partially. After Christ came, people could know God fully because He became visible and tangible in Christ. Christ is the perfect expression of God in human form. The tow most common errors people make about Jesus are to minimize His Humanity or to minimize His divinity. Jesus is both God and man.
Law and grace are both aspects of God's nature that He uses in dealing with us. Moses emphasized God's law and justice, while Jesus Christ came to highlight God's mercy, love, and forgiveness. Moses could only be the giver of the law, while Christ came to fulfill the law (Matthew 5:17). The nature and will of God were revealed in the law; now the nature and will of God are revealed in Jesus Christ. Rather than coming through cold stone tablets, God's revelation (truth) now comes through a person's life. As we get to know Christ better, our understanding of God will increase.
God communicated through various people in the Old Testament, usually prophets who were told to give specific messages. But no one ever saw God. "God the One and Only" is a title showing that Jesus is both God and the Father's unique Son. In Christ, God revealed His nature and essence in a way that could be seen and touched. In Christ, God became a man who lived on earth.