In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4 In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
6 There was a man sent from God whose name was John. 7 He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all might believe. 8 He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light.
9 The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. 11 He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. 12 Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— 13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.
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.
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.’”) 16 Out of his fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given. 17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18 No 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.
John begins his gospel by explaining the meaning behind creation and life. He starts at the very very beginning of time as we (humans) know it. The opening verses could be read like this: Before the world existed there was God and His Word. God’s Word is God, for the substance of His Word is Himself. When God spoke His Word, the earth and the heavens (space & all existence) were made. Nothing was made apart from God’s Word. Nothing can be made without God’s Word to make it. God’s Word is what creates life, and His Word is what gives goodness (or light) to all mankind. His goodness is greater than evil (or darkness), and evil has not overcome it.
Truth #1: We know that God and His Word are one and the same. His Word cannot be without Him. God’s Word creates. It is substance.
Relate: You can look at this truth in this way; If you say something mean, you can never take it back… it has left your mouth and you have created mean-ness. If you tell your friend they look nice, you have just created a sense of happiness inside that other person which will affect them. Words matter. Your words define who you are, and what you are made of.
A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of. – Luke 6:45
In verses 6-8 the apostle makes an aside to introduce John the Baptist. Verse 6 says this man was sent by God. John’s parents were older and his mother Elizabeth was barren. One day while his father was offering, as priest in the temple, the angel Gabriel came to him and told him they would have a son, and that son would prepare the way for the Christ (see Luke 1:5-25). All of this took place and now the apostle John recounts and relates the events to make it clear what has happened. John the Baptist was used by God to testify about what was coming: the light, or ‘goodness’ was coming into the world – as flesh. The purpose of the Word coming into the world was so that thru this Word all might believe. Believe what? Believe that God is real and that the Word (or Christ) is real, and has come.
Truth #2: To believe fully in God you must believe in His Word (Christ).
Relate: If you do not believe that God’s Word is what created all things then you cannot believe in God. His creation is what gives evidence for His existence, just as Christ came to give witness and evidence to God. Those who reject Christ also reject God because God and His Word are one and the same.
For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse. – Romans 1:20
Now in verse 9 the apostle continues; the light was coming into the world (John the Baptist’s job was to express this and prepare the people’s hearts to receive this true light by repentance, or turning from their sins). There is a common grace given to all mankind in that we have been endowed with a sense of right and wrong. Thus we have a sort of light, but the true light – the one that frees us from wrong – is only found in God’s Word, which is Christ. Verse 10 explains that even though creation was made thru Him – the light, God’s Word – it did not recognize Him. He came to the world as one of us, a creation made thru Him, but we dismissed Him.
Truth #3: Christ who is the Word of God was born as a human, as part of His creation to save those who would believe.
Verse 12 explains that even though He was rejected, there were those who believed that He was the Christ – God’s Son and chosen vessel for redemption. And because they believed they were given the right to be called children of God. These ‘children’ are not born of natural descent, like in human terms, but God gives them a new heart – thus their life blood is re-born from that of darkness to light (see more here). In vs. 14 we see the summation of all the gospels: The Word became flesh – Jesus – and dwelt among us.
Truth #4: Jesus, who is fully God but also fully man exuded what true light looks like. He was full of truth – there was nothing immoral or evil in Him. He was full of grace – giving favor to those who did not deserve it. He glorified God – all that He did was to give honor to God.
The apostle reminds us in verse 15 that John the Baptist testified about Christ’s humanity and deity. John says Jesus came after him – he would come on the scene to witness for God after John had prepared the people’s hearts (humanity). John also says Jesus came before him – Jesus is the Word of God who was with Him in the beginning (deity). Because He came and was a man, died and was resurrected – making atonement for those who would believe – He reached His fullness. This is what the apostle means in verse 16. Since all of this has taken place, we as believers in Christ, have been moved from the common grace of mankind into the extravagant grace of God’s children.
The law is mentioned here in vs. 17, as it is in many parts of the New Testament, in regards to our former lives before Christ. The law of Moses was given so man would understand his grievous nature. There is no way we as sinful humans can perfectly follow the law…. so there is no way to achieve your own grace and truth. The only way to be saved from God’s wrath against sin is to believe in Christ from which true grace and truth abound.
Truth #5: Forgiveness comes through God, and being forgiven by Him from your sin.
Relate: How can you do this? Believe in the one who is God – His Word, His Light, His Son – and what He did, and you will know the Father though you cannot see Him.
14 Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil— 15 and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death. 16 For surely it is not angels he helps, but Abraham’s descendants. 17 For this reason he had to be made like them, fully human in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people. 18 Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted. – Hebrews 2:14-18