When we look at the gospel writings, it becomes clear that John’s writing is very different from the other three. Matthew, Mark and Luke focus on what Jesus SAID and DID. John, on the other hand, focuses on WHO Jesus is.
In this article we’re only going to look at one chapter ~ John 1; and see the Apostle John, the last surviving disciple of Christ, at the time he wrote the gospel, introducing Jesus to his readers.
- John begins with this well-known verse. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God.” (John 1:1-2)
If we scrutinize John’s magnificent opening statement, we discover the following truths:
· There is a Being known as the Word.
· This Being is God, because He is eternal (In the beginning)
· This Being is God, because He is plainly called God (the Word was God).
· At the same time, this Being does not encompass all that God is because the Word is distinct. (the Word was with God).
[This, in fact, reveals the basic truth of the Trinity, where The Word refers to the divine Son. He is God, yet distinct from God the Father.]
So right at the outset, it is evident, that ‘The Word’ John is introducing is none other than God, the eternal and self-existent from the dateless past.
But why exactly does John use the term ‘The Word’ or in the original language, ‘Logos’?
To Jewish minds, Word of God could be used to refer to God himself. (For example, “The Word of God says”… just simply means “God says.”).
To Greek minds, the word Logos represented “the ultimate purpose and reason for everything.” In other words, John 1:1 could be understood as “The ultimate reason and purpose for everything existed from the beginning and this ultimate reason and purpose for everything was God!”
2. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. (John 1:3)
Here John is making the point that The Word created all things that were created. Therefore The Word Himself is an uncreated Being. This is precisely what Paul echoes in Colossians 1:16, “For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him.”
“In Genesis 1:1, GOD is said to have created all things: in this verse, Christ is said to have created all things: the same unerring Spirit spoke in Moses and in the evangelists: therefore Christ and the Father are ONE.” (Clarke)
3. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. (John 1:4)
“That power which creates life and maintains all else in existence was in the Logos [Word].” (Dods)
4. And 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. (John 1:14)
Or to put it the simplest terms, He became a man! God has come close to you in Jesus Christ. Now we can know God because of Jesus Christ. He is not just some unknowable airy fairy invisible being sitting somewhere up there.
“Christ entered into a new dimension of existence through the gateway of human birth and took up his residence among men.” (Tenney)
“And tabernacled among us: the human nature which he took of the virgin, being as the shrine, house, or temple, in which his immaculate Deity condescended to dwell.” (Clarke)
Jesus is…”the visible presence of God among men.” (Barclay)
This is John’s mind-blowing introduction of Jesus. And this is just the first 14 verses so far. John’s not done yet.
5. Next he assembles a list of witnesses to further testify about who Jesus is.
· John the Baptist testified that Jesus is eternal, that He is the man uniquely anointed with the Holy Spirit, that He is the Lamb of God, and that Jesus is the unique Son of God.
· Andrew testified that Jesus is the Messiah, the Christ.
· Phillip testified that Jesus is the One prophesied in the Old Testament.
· Nathaniel testified that Jesus is the Son of God and the King of Israel.
Chapter 1 closes with John quoting Jesus’ own words about Himself.
“Most assuredly, I say to you, hereafter you shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.” (John 1:51)
In referring to Himself as the Son of Man, Jesus was referring to a prophecy by Daniel in 7:13-14 where the King of Glory who comes to judge the world is called the Son of Man.
“The term, ‘The Son of man’, then points us to Christ’s conception of Himself as of heavenly origin and as the possessor of heavenly glory. At one and the same time and points us to His lowliness and His sufferings for men. The two are the same.” (Morris)
Jesus’ announcement of the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man probably connects with the dream of Jacob in Genesis 28:12, where Jacob saw a ladder from earth to heaven, and the angels ascending and descending upon it. Jesus was the fulfillment of Jacob’s dream. He was the ladder, the one and only link, between heaven and earth.
When we continue reading the rest of John’s gospel, we find John compiles some more witnesses of Jesus testifying about Him.
Peter: “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.” (John 6:68-69)
Martha: ““Yes, Lord; I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who is coming into the world.” (John 11:27)
John probably reserved the final eyewitness testimony as last in his account because it says it all.
Thomas: “My Lord and my God!” (John 20:28)
Or in the original language, Ὁ Θωμᾶς καὶ εἶπεν αὐτῷ ὁ κύριός μου καὶ ὁ θεός μου.
Thomas literally said, “You are the Lord of me and the God of me.”
(Source: David Guzik: Study Guide for John 1)