John Chapter 1
The Word Became Flesh:
(Read John 1:1-18)
John begins his Gospel in the eternity past. Who is Jesus? This is John's question, and he invites us to join him as we read his account of Jesus. Everything that happened with Jesus is the gospel or good news. Jesus is eternally one with the Father- the very Word of God. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word (LOGOS) was with God and the Word was God (John 1:1) John uses the Greek word LOGOS here for the Word. LOGOS has many meanings. It means, a thought or an idea. Philosophers suggested that LOGOS was the first cause, the unknown intelligence or reason behind the universe. It is the creative power of God (Psalms 33:9). But John defines the Word as a person. When time began, the WORD was already in existence. The WORD became flesh in Jesus and dwelt among us full of grace and truth (John 1:14). God became man, yet Jesus never ceased being God. Jesus is eternally, equally, and essentially God. Eternity is the duration without beginning or ending. Jesus said, “before Abraham was, I am" (John 8:58). He was with the Father before the world began (John 17:5; Hebrews 1: 8, 9). The Word was with God: 1:1. The Word was face to face with God. Jesus is a distinct person, eternally one with the Father (John 1:2). He enjoyed fellowship with the Father (John 17:5). The deity of Christ is the fundamental doctrine. Jesus means “He will save His people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21). He is the anointed Savior, who was promised in the Old Testament (Daniel 9:26). He is the begotten Son of God, the one and only Son (John 1:18). This speaks of his unique relationship with the Father. He came to reveal the Father and save sinners. He is the only hope of the world. Jesus claimed that He is coequal with the Father (John 5:17-18, 20:28). Jews sought to kill Jesus because He claimed to be God. John says that “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14).
The Word was God:1:1.
Jesus is essentially God (John 10:30). Some argue that Jesus was only a great man and He never claimed deity for Himself. But the Jewish court and the high priest had no such doubt. When the high priest asked Jesus directly; "Are you the Christ, the Son of the blessed One?" Jesus answered plainly "I am, you shall see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of Power and coming in the clouds of heaven" (Mark 14:62). The court immediately voted to condemn Jesus to death, since it was a blasphemy to claim deity and deserves capital punishment. Jesus is called “Lord” in the New Testament some 250 times. He is the Lord of Glory and the Holy One (Acts 3:14). Jesus claimed that He possessed the attributes of God (Matthew 16:16-17). He was unique in His moral perfection. His works were Godlike works. He is the creator and preserver of the universe (John 1:3, Hebrews 1:2,3). He directs and controls the course of history by the word of his power (Hebrews 1:3). Jesus has the power to forgive sin and to raise the dead (Mark 2:5-7; John 11:25). Only God could forgive sins. All power of judgment is given to Jesus (John 5:22). He deserves equal honor with the Father (John 5:23). To know Jesus is to know God (John 8:19). To see Jesus is to see God (John 12: 45). To receive Jesus is to receive God (Mark 9:37). To honor Jesus is to honor God (John 5:23). What more evidence do we need to believe his deity? What a great Savior!
Jesus is the Creator: 1:3-5.
He is the creator of all things (John 1: 3). Apart from Him nothing came into being. We are created by Him and for Him (Colossians 1: 16). Everything owes their existence to Jesus (1 Corinthians 8: 6). He is the sovereign source and the divine agent of all creation. For His use all things were created (Colossians 1:16). We are not the product of some unplanned and accidental chemical process. Jesus controls everything by the power of His Word (Hebrews 1:3). In creation we see God's power and wisdom. Christ is the power and the wisdom of God (1 Corinthians 1:24). He will bring all things to their final destiny and perfection. Jesus is the Source of physical and spiritual life (John 1:4-5). In Him was life and life was the light of men. Christ is the true light of reason and conscience. This light shines in the darkness. This world is in spiritual darkness. In the Bible darkness is the picture of sin and unbelief (John 3:19). There is always hostility between darkness and light. The light shines in darkness and darkness can never overcome the light (John 1:5).
The Testimony of John the Baptist: 1:6-10.
John the Baptist was the forerunner of Jesus Christ (Isiah 40:3-5; Malachi 3:1). He was sent to bear witness to the Light. Jesus is the true light. John came to prepare the way of the Lord (Matthew 3:2). John testified that he is not the Christ, or Elijah or the other prophet (John 1:21). His ultimate desire was that Christ must increase and he must decrease. John was the last Old Testament prophet. Jesus testified of John that he is the greatest among all prophets because he had the privilege to see Christ and introduce him to the world (Matthew 11: 11, John 1:29). John may be the great prophet, but Jesus is the great Savior!
His own received Him not: 1:11-12.
Jesus came to His own creation. He was born under the Law. Christ came to fulfill the promises of God and to destroy the works of the devil (Hebrews 2:14; 1 John 3:8). God promised Abraham that "In him all the families of the earth will be blessed" (Genesis 12:3). It was fulfilled in Christ (Galatians 3:16; 1 Peter 2:24; Luke 4:19.28). Jesus came to His own nation, but they rejected Him as their Messiah. The world rejected its creator and the only Savior. But as many as received Jesus to them God gave the right to become children of God (John 1:12). To receive Jesus means to accept Christ as Savior and Lord. To believe means to place one's trust in Jesus. It is the persuasion of the fact that Christ is God, and all his claims are trustworthy. Only those who believe Jesus as their Savior have everlasting life (John 3:16). They are delivered from sin and its consequences. They have everlasting life and shall not come under judgment but have passed from death into life (John 5:24). Salvation is the entire experience of Christian life. Those who are saved will be transformed into the image of Christ. Our family heritage and good works will not save us (Romans 3:20). Salvation is a gift from God. We are saved by grace alone and through faith alone and in Christ alone. Grace is God’s undeserving favor toward sinners. It is God’s riches at Christ's expense. Christ came to fulfill the law and to deliver us from sin (Romans 8:2-4). Salvation is initiated by God. When we were utterly helpless and still sinners Christ died for us (Romans 5:6-8). Also, Salvation is not an afterthought of God, but it was the eternal plan of God (1 Peter 1:18-20). Christ became our substitute and died on the cross to save us (2 Corinthians 5:21). Reformation and conformation will not save us. Pharisees were conformed to the law, and they were also reformed religious leaders. But they were not saved (John 3:5). Salvation is the supernatural work of God. Those who are brought up in Christian homes and who are conformed to morality can mistakenly think that they are saved. Nicodemus is a prime example of it. Only those who receive Jesus as Lord and savior are the children of God (John 1:12). Receiving means to welcome or believe Christ as Lord and Savior. To believe is more than mental agreement but persuasion of the trustworthiness Christ's claim. Satan believes that there is a God and trembles (James 2:19). Belief simply means active trust in Christ with the desire to treat Him as Lord and Savior in life.
We have seen His Glory: 1:14.
Apostle John was an eyewitness of the glory of Christ (1 John 1:1). Christ is eternally, equally, and essentially God. Yet He was willing to be born as a man. This is called incarnation. It is a great mystery (1 Timothy 3:16). His coming was voluntary. God sent His own Son in a human body like ours to become a sin sacrifice for us (Romans 8:3). In His incarnation, Jesus never ceased being God or exchanged His deity for humanity. But added his humanity to his deity. He voluntarily emptied the independent use of His divine attributes. He came to reveal the Father to us (John 1:18). Only God Himself could do that. He became obedient even unto the point of death on the cross (Philippians 2:8). He had to be made like His brethren in all things, yet without sin (Hebrews 2:17). John was an eyewitness of His glory. Glory is the visible moral manifestation of God. Many people saw the miracles Jesus did but failed to see His glory. Only the disciples believed in Him (John 2:11). Satan has blinded the minds of sinners to see Christ's glory. Jesus was full of grace and truth. John saw in Jesus the glory of God's unfailing love, the truth, and his faithfulness. Truth is the reality of God. Jesus came to bear the witness of truth (John 18:37). There is a perfect balance in the revelation of grace and truth in Christ. Have you received Jesus as your Lord and Savior?
Jesus the Lamb of God:
(Read John 1:15-34)
John the Baptist came to bear witness of Jesus Christ. He was a bridge between the Old Testament and New Testament. The Old Testament points to Jesus Christ. From the fullness of Christ, the disciples have received grace upon grace. Moses gave the Law. The purpose of the Law was to reveal our sin and to lead us to Jesus Christ (Galatians 3:24). Grace and Truth came through Jesus Christ. Grace is God's undeserving favor to sinners. The truth says that salvation is only through the sacrifice of Christ. Sin separated us from God. It was entirely of God's grace and mercy that Christ came to save us (Titus 2:11). He came to destroy the power of death by His own death and resurrection. He can set us free from the fear of death. This is an unbelievable transaction story. By taking our mortality, Christ has imparted to us His immortality. By experiencing our weaknesses, He has strengthened us by His power (2 Corinthians 13:4). By becoming poor, He has made us rich spiritually (2 Corinthians 8:9). By taking our sins upon himself, Christ has clothed us with His righteousness (2 Corinthians 5:21). John the Baptist came to prepare the way of the Lord. John was unworthy of even untying His sandal. John baptized people in water as an outward sign of repentance. But Christ came to baptize them with the Holy Spirit. Only Christ has the power to forgive sin. When John saw Jesus coming towards him; he said, “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). Only Christ could take away the sin of the world. John the Baptist testified that Jesus is the Son of God because it was revealed to him at the baptism of Jesus (Matthew 3:13-17). Jesus is the fulfillment of the Old Testament promises (John 1:20-21). John was a faithful witness, but Jesus is the faithful and great Savior.
Jesus Said "Follow Me"
(Read John 1:35-51)
John the Baptist introduced his disciples to Jesus. He said "Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world" (John 1:29). Two of his disciples followed Jesus hearing his testimony. There is no greater calling than to follow Jesus Christ. John records the calling of six of His twelve disciples: Peter, Andrew, James, John, Philip, and Nathanael. John and Andrew followed Jesus When they heard the testimony of John the Baptist about Jesus. They received the invitation from Jesus to "Come and see". They spent the day with Jesus and believed Him as their Messiah (John 1:38-39). Little did they know that by coming to Christ they would see much more than where He lived. They were willing to place Christ ahead of every other pursuit in their life. Discipleship is costly (Luke 14:33). One of the two disciples was Andrew. He went to his brother Simon and told him that he had found the Messiah. Andrew brought his brother, Simon to Jesus. A true disciple of Christ never be ashamed of Him but always eager to bring others to Christ. The Lord changed Simon's name to Peter. Jesus found Philip and invited him to follow Him. Philip brought Nathanael to Jesus. When Nathanael voiced doubt and objection, Philip did not argue with him. He knew that he may win an argument but lose his soul. Jesus knew all about Nathanael and said that he is without deceit. Nathaniel was amazed that Jesus knew all about him (Psalms 139:2-4). He identified Jesus as "Rabbi, the Son of God and the King of Israel'' (John 1:49). The greatest knowledge any human being can have is to understand the identity of Jesus Christ. Jesus knows our deepest thoughts and fears. He hears our cry and delivers us from all our fears. Jesus told Nathaniel that he was going to see angels ascending and descending upon Him. Jesus is the pathway to heaven and the only mediator between God and men (John 14:6; 1 Timothy 2:5). There is no other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved (Acts 4:12). Jesus alone has the power on earth to forgive sin.
Choosing of Disciples:
In this chapter John shows an important kingdom principle. Christ chose the weak and unlikely men to follow him. He chose them to exalt his name through weak vessels. Their failings did not disqualify them to serve Christ. Jesus is identified as "the Lamb of God, the Messiah, the Son of God, the King of Israel and the Son of Man'' (John 1:29, 41, 49, 51). Witnessing Christ can be done only by the power of the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:8). Someone has said "Witnessing is one beggar telling another beggar where he found the bread" (2 King 7:3-11). It was the dying request of our Savior (Mark 16:15). It is not an option but the command of Jesus Christ. The open sacrifice of Christ demands our open witnessing (Hebrews 13:13). Witnessing Christ leads sinners to salvation. They are to be discipled to grow in the knowledge and grace of Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:18). The Day of Judgment requires it (Matthew 10:32). The examples of apostles compel us to witness Christ (John 9:25). The love of Christ constrains us (2 Corinthians 5:14). We are commanded to witness Christ by our open confession of Christ, by our godly living and by our association with other Christians (Romans 10:9; Matthew 5:16; Hebrews 10:25). The great-commission of Christ is to make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:18-20). All our ministries must have an evangelistic purpose. Pray that God would give us grace to know Christ intimately and make him known to the dying world. It is an urgent need because our time is short, souls are perishing, and opportunities will be lost. Are you a disciple and a witness of Jesus Christ?