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John 1 – The Eternal Light and Word

by Jill

The Gospel of John opens with a profound and philosophical declaration about the nature and identity of Jesus Christ. Unlike the synoptic Gospels—Matthew, Mark, and Luke—John’s account begins not with Jesus’ birth or ministry but with a theological exposition that sets the stage for understanding who Jesus is and why He came.

The Word Was God

John 1:1-3 states, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through Him all things were made; without Him nothing was made that has been made.” This passage establishes Jesus as the pre-existent Word (Logos), who was with God and was God from the very beginning. It emphasizes that Jesus is not a created being but the Creator Himself, integral to the existence of everything.

The Light of Men

John continues by introducing Jesus as the light of humanity: “In Him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it” (John 1:4-5). This metaphor of light versus darkness recurs throughout John’s Gospel, illustrating Jesus as the beacon of truth and life in a world shrouded in spiritual darkness.

John the Baptist: A Witness to the Light

John the Baptist plays a crucial role in John’s Gospel, serving as a witness to Jesus’ identity: “There was a man sent from God whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all might believe” (John 1:6-7). Though not the light himself, John the Baptist’s mission was to prepare the way for Jesus, urging people to recognize and follow the true Light.

The Incarnation: Word Became Flesh

One of the most profound declarations in John 1 is found in verse 14: “The 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.” This verse encapsulates the miracle of the Incarnation—God becoming man in the person of Jesus Christ. It signifies God’s willingness to enter into human experience, bringing grace and truth directly to humanity.

The Call of the First Disciples

The chapter also narrates the calling of the first disciples. Andrew, upon meeting Jesus, immediately recognized Him as the Messiah and brought his brother Simon (Peter) to Jesus. This encounter marks the beginning of the disciples’ transformative journey with Christ.

Nathanael’s Revelation

Philip and Nathanael’s story further illustrates the personal nature of Jesus’ call. When Nathanael skeptically questions if anything good can come from Nazareth, Jesus reveals His divine knowledge by recounting seeing Nathanael under a fig tree. This revelation leads Nathanael to proclaim Jesus as the Son of God and King of Israel.

John 1 sets a foundational understanding of Jesus’ divine nature and mission. It introduces key themes such as light versus darkness, the Word made flesh, and the personal call to discipleship. By beginning with these profound truths, John invites readers to a deeper comprehension of Jesus’ identity and purpose, urging belief and action based on this understanding.

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