John 1:1-2 says, "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."
When Matthew and Luke wrote their gospels, they gave the human lineage of Jesus. Luke gave the lineage of Jesus through His mother Mary, and Matthew gave the lineage of Jesus through His stepfather, Joseph. What John sets forth is the divine origin of Jesus. For all of us, our existence starts with our conception. And then when we are born, God breathes into us the breath of life and we start living outside of the womb. In many ways Jesus was the same as we are because He became human and He lived a human life on the earth, but in some very important ways He was different. One of the ways that Jesus was different was that He existed before He was born. With Jesus conception was not the start of life. Conception was when He left heaven and entered the womb of Mary. †
Many names are given to God in the Bible, and many names are given to Jesus. Here in John Chapter 1 He is called the Word: in Greek, the ďlogosĒ. There is the written Word, the spoken Word, and the living Word. Jesus is the living Word. Why would He be called the Word? The "Word" stands for communication: we communicate with words. Jesus is the ultimate revelation of the truth of God to human beings. Some people say that there is some truth in all religions. That may be, but Jesus is the ultimate revelation of that which is true about God. Which is better to give attention to and to follow, that which offers some truth or that which is the living Word of God?
The life of Jesus and the teachings of Jesus are the ultimate revelation of that which God wants us to know, because Jesus is the living Word. Itís no wonder that those who heard Jesus said of Him, "No man ever spake as this man." With no money and no advertising campaign and no publicity, crowds that numbered in the thousands came to hear him, and lawyers who came to trap Him with their words went away confounded with themselves having been trapped. Those who receive the teachings of Jesus have their lives transformed. How are these things explained: because Jesus is the living Word.
What John is talking about in John Chapter 1 is where Jesus came from. What is the explanation for who Jesus was, and why is it important that we give heed to the teachings of Jesus? John said, "In the beginning was the Word of God." We are taken back as far as the human mind can go, and when we get there we find that Jesus is already there. How could Jesus be at the beginning: because Jesus was not like other humans. He existed before He was born. He was with God at the beginning. He was God. That leads us to another question: how could Jesus both be with God and be God at the same time? There is only one logical explanation: God is a trinity. This is entirely consistent with the book of Genesis, and its account of creation. Gen.1:1 says, "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth." And then God spoke about Himself in the plural and said in Gen. 1:26, "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness..."
The Bible never uses the word ďtrinityĒ, but it gives divine attributes to the Father, The Son, and the Holy Spirit. One of the attributes of God is His eternal existence. That attribute is given to Jesus in John 1:1. Another attribute of God is the fact that He designed and created all things that exist. John 1:3 also gives this attribute to Christ. It says, "All things were made by Him; and without him was not anything made that was made."
All of life originates with Christ, and all life is precious because God has given it. There are no accidents in the creating of life: if someone is born into the world, itís because God has created them. Jesus is the giver of all physical life, and He is also the giver of all spiritual life. And it proceeds in that order. First a human is given physical life. But that human also needs spiritual life, and Jesus is the source of spiritual life. John 1:4 says, "In him was life; and the life was the light of men." We obtain spiritual life once we are enlightened by Jesus.
John 1:5 says, "And the light shines in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not." From a natural standpoint, humans are in spiritual darkness. Thatís why they do the things that they do: they do the works of darkness. The best thing that can happen to a human is for them to have their darkness taken away. The problem of the human race is just what John said here: the darkness does not understand the light. It does not see or grasp or enter into the light, and therefore it remains in the horrible condition of spiritual darkness. But God is at work doing things so that people may come into the light, and be delivered. God is a creator, and part of the creative work of God is to shine the light of the gospel of Jesus Christ into the hearts of men and women. God does that by sending messengers with the spoken Word of God.
The Apostle John, who wrote this gospel was a messenger, and he is now going to introduce us to another messenger: John the Baptist. John 1:6-7 says, "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."
We have already been told in this chapter that the problem of mankind is spiritual darkness, and we have been told that Jesus is the answer to the problem because He is the Light. Now in verse 7 we are told the means by which a person can go from darkness to Light: the word "believe". If you believe in Jesus, that is, if you trust in Him and depend upon Him then you will go from darkness to light. Anyone who does not believe, who has not trusted or depended upon Jesus, is still in darkness.
Once we do believe in Jesus, we are delivered from darkness into light and a new life begins for us. Itís a life-changing experience to go from darkness to Light and John the Baptist is a good example for us in many of ways that our new life should be. There was a purpose for the life of John the Baptist. It says that he was sent from God. We also should realize that there is a purpose to our lives. God has given us life for a reason also, and one of the chief goals of life is to find out His purpose for putting us here and fulfilling that purpose. John was also a good example in that he was a witness to the Light. Every day you should pray that God would help you to be a witness for Him, in what you do and in what you say. If you succeed in being a witness for the Light, then no matter what else happens, your life will be a success. On the other hand, if you succeed in all other things and fail to be a witness for the Light, then you will be a failure indeed. In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus said, "Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven."
We are also reminded by John the Baptist of what our message should be. It says in John 1:8, "He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light." Some people who want to be a witness make the mistake of talking too much about themselves. Donít use yourself and your own life as the example: use the teachings and the incidents from the life of Jesus. He is the Light. Remember the goal is to point people to Jesus, because only the Light can deliver them from darkness.
John 1:9 says, "That was the true Light, who lights every man who comes into the world." This is a very interesting verse in the Bible that has some far-reaching implications. It shows that God is interested that everyone be saved, and that God has already done something to provide for the salvation of every human being: God has made sure that every human is given light, and the Light that they are given is actually the person of Jesus. This is another divine attribute that is being ascribed to Jesus: the fact that He is everywhere present: and He is involved in the life of every human being. At the end of someoneís life, if they end up in darkness, itís because they have turned away from the Light that was given to them.
John says about Jesus, "He was in the world, and the world was made by Him, and the world knew Him not." There is a great contrast between verse 9 and verse 10: itís a contrast between what could be and what is. Itís the difference between what might have been, and what happened because far too many have turned away from the Light. Verse 9 talks about the desire of God and the work of God and the will of God, that all people would be saved. "Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved." Anyone can call out to the Lord, because the Lord lightens everyone who comes into the world. Itís no wonder that the Apostle Paul was so excited about the tremendous possibilities in the telling of the Gospel. He said, "I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God unto salvation for everyone that believes." That being true, how did we end up with such a sad state of affairs as that which is described in John 1:10. How can it be that the world was made by Him, but that the world knew Him not? The answer is very simple: too many people have made the wrong choice. Too many people have failed to come to the Light. Itís a decision of the will of man, and not enough have made that decision.
The Apostle John goes into more detail for us in regards to this situation in the world. The situation is that Jesus is the Light of the world, who lightens everyone who comes into the world; but most people are in darkness. How can it be that such a large number of people sit in darkness, and do not know Him who made the world? To understand that, you must understand how people go from darkness to light, and that is explained for us in John 1:11-13. It says, "He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many 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."
We have already been told that spiritual life and enlightenment comes from God through Jesus the Son of God. He is the Light of the world, and in Him is life. But there is human side also and a human responsibility. Humans are given a choice. Because of the power of choice, every human must decide to either receive Christ or to not receive Him. All of the human race can be divided into two groups: those who have received Christ, and those who have not received Him. "He that has the Son, has life; and he that has not the Son of God has not life."
In John we are shown the benefit of receiving Christ: becoming a child of God. If you are a child of God, then you are the object of Godís love, Godís protection, and Godís care. You also have an inheritance that is awaiting you. Happy and blessed are those who have become Godís children through faith in Jesus. We may have some difficult times to go through, but God will be with us because we are His children. We are also told in John 1:12 that to receive Jesus is the same as to believe on His name. "Believe" means to trust or to depend upon. For every person in the world, at some time in their life, Jesus will enlighten them: if a person responds in a positive way to the light that they are given they will be led to Jesus, and they will receive Him by believing on Him. If they do not, then they will remain in darkness.
Once someone enters into the will of God for the first time, they are given a spiritual birth. The spiritual birth will be explained to Nicodemus by Jesus in John Chapter 3; but here in Chapter 1 we are told something very clearly about the spiritual birth: itís given by God and not by man. You cannot get the spiritual birth from a human, you can only receive it from Jesus. You cannot obtain the spiritual birth from your family or from a religious tradition; but only from God through Christ.
Jesus is the greatest revelation of
the truth of God, because He is the Son of God. We know that Jesus existed
before He was born into the world, but His birth into the world was a very
important event for the human race, because the time had come for God to make a
greater revelation of truth to the people of the world. When Matthew and Luke
talked about the coming of Jesus into the world, they went into a lot of detail
about Mary and Joseph and
"The Word was made flesh:" the expression of the truth of God, the communication from God to man, was made flesh. In some miraculous way, the divine Son of God temporarily gave up some of the glories of heaven and came and dwelt in a human body. He was full of grace and truth. If you want to know the truth about God, then you must know Jesus. If you want to know more about the truth, then learn more about Jesus. He is the Word, He is the Light, and He is full of grace and truth. Grace means the free gift of God. Truth is a gift. It will cost you nothing to inherit the truth. Jesus came in the flesh, and He was Godís greatest gift to the human race. He came in the flesh so that He could speak to us in a language that we could understand, He came in the flesh so that He could identify with our sins and then die in our place, and He came in the flesh in order to defeat the devil and to prove that itís possible for a person to live entirely for God being led by the Spirit.
In John the Apostle John is making very clear the accuracy and authenticity of the information that he is giving us about Jesus. These were not fables or myths passed down from one person to the next. John was an eyewitness to the life and teachings of Jesus. We have here the sworn testimony and the eyewitness account of one of the closest companions of Jesus. This is evidence that would be acceptable in any court of law.
Not only was the Apostle John an eye-witness, but so was John the Baptist and John says, "John bare witness of him, and cried, saying, This was He of whom I spoke, He that comes after me is preferred before me: because he was before me."
Copyright; 2000 by Charles F. (Rick) Creech
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