I believe in many ways we are intrigued by these stories, struggles and triumphs of individuals who are regularly in the public eye. We are all a little curious and we like to take a look into the lives of individuals who have helped shaped society, the entertainment world or history in one way or another. Why we are so fascinated is beyond me. Why we like to peer into the lives of others is a mystery. Maybe it is the stories of triumph, maybe some can relate with the addictions and struggles various people have or maybe we are just plain nosey?
I think my fascination with biographies and autobiographies has been a key component as to why I am captivated with the Gospel accounts in the Bible. The Gospel writings are basically the life story or biography of Jesus Christ’s ministry here on earth. They speak of his many teachings, miracles, and deeds which certainly clarify God’s purpose for humanity and make up the Gospel message.
I have chosen the Gospel of John as our subject for this blog and I chose John because it is a detailed (but not exhaustive) eyewitness account of the life of Jesus Christ. It is an in depth look into the life of Jesus Christ as witnessed by the Apostle John. The overall theme or purpose of the the Gospel of John is written in John 20:31 “We write these things so you may believe that Jesus is the Christ.” I pray that as we look at the life of Christ your understanding and relationship with him deepens and your faith is strengthened. We will look at the life of Jesus Christ, his deeds, his teachings, his death and resurrection and what they mean to us today. As we will see in the next few moments, weeks and months everything about the life of Christ (his eternal existence, his incarnation, his ministry, his death and resurrection) has a purpose and it was all established for humanities benefit since the beginning of all things.
Today is a general introduction and background to the Gospel of John and I will spend only a little time on the first 18 verses of chapter one.
Author/ Date/ Background:
John (the son of Zebedee) the Apostle is the author. This is the same John who wrote 1,2,3 John and the same one who is believed to have written Revelation. Since John never actually uses his name in the book it is generally agreed that he is the author. There external evidence that even the early Church Father’s support John’s authorship. It was written about 40 to 60 years after the death of Jesus which would put it at about 70 to 100 A.D. There isn’t enough evidence to be more precise. This Gospel letter was written to Jews and Gentiles in Ephesus and he was writing to show Jesus is/was the chosen Messiah. The purpose for his writing was evangelical in intent and informative so the readers could have a deeper understanding of Jesus and eternal life.
The first 18 verses have aptly been titled “The prologue to the Gospel” by many. John takes the time at the beginning of his account to be what Gary M. Burge writes, “An overture to the story of the rest of the Gospel.” He establishes some truths about Jesus
- Jesus is the Word
- Jesus has been since the beginning.
- Jesus is God.
- Jesus is Creator.
- Jesus is the true light.
- Jesus came to his own people and was rejected.
- Jesus became a man and dwelt among humanity.
Verse 1 – Since time began the Word was present. There has not been a time when the Word did not exist. The Word as we will soon see refers to Jesus and He has always been, He was not created and He has no beginning. This makes Jesus eternal. The Word was with God… this does not just mean he was in close proximity but implies intimate personal relationship.
Not only was the Word with God but was also the very essence of God Himself. I like the way The New English Translation reads, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was fully God.
Verse 3 – The Word is now referred to as a He and this He who is the eternal God is the creator of all things. Whatever is in existence is here because it was created by the Word. The Word is the agent of Creation in Genesis “God said…” and it came into existence. Thus we can safely deduce that the Word is Jesus, he is eternal, the Creator and God. Colossians 1:15, 16 says, “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation, for all things in heaven and on earth were created by him – all things, whether visible or invisible, whether thrones or dominions, whether principalities or powers – all things were created through him and for him.” And Hebrews 1:2 says, “in these last days he has spoken to us in a son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he created the world.”
Verses 4, 5 – In Him is life… Jesus doesn’t just possess life; he is the source of life… He is the source of physical and spiritual life. As we noted above that he is the Creator of all (physical life) but also through his death and resurrection He became the source of Spiritual life as well.
John also denotes that Jesus is the light that dispels darkness. In the Bible darkness is synonymous with death and evil and light dispels the darkness. The darkness will try to overcome Jesus (as we will see in the Gospel) but to no avail. Christ is victorious! F.F. Bruce writes in his commentary, “Light and darkness are opposites, but they are not opposites of equal power. Light is stronger than darkness; and darkness cannot prevail against it.
Verse 6 – 8 – John is referring to John the Baptist. The Apostle John (who incidentally is not John the Baptist) says that John is not the light but the witness to the light. His job and purpose in life was to prepare the way and testify of the coming Messiah who is Jesus.
Verses 9 – 13 – Jesus is the true light. Others may have made this claim but Jesus is the real deal. He gives light to all who believe in Him. He came to the world to bring the light and the world (namely his own people) did not receive Him, instead they crucified him and left Him for dead. However to those who did receive Him He gave them the power or right to be called children of God. He has given us Spiritual re-birth! We are not born again of humans but are born again through the Spirit of God and declared His children. To those who believe we are now considered members of God’s family.
Verse 14- 18 - The Word became flesh: The incarnation. The eternal God, Creator of all, and the light of the world took on the form of a man and dwelt among humanity. John was an eyewitness as he walked, talked and touched the living God in human flesh. John himself bore witness to Jesus’ glory. The word glory means “the most exalted state or kingly majesty”. This could refer to Christ’s transfiguration and his death and resurrection in which John witnessed.
Today I would encourage you to read over the first 18 verses of John chapter one and reflect on what these verses mean to you. Let this be a time of allowing God to search your heart and make himself known to you. Reflect on Jesus, his word, his act of creation, his glory, his light and life that is offered up to all who believe. I ask you to do this so as we continue this study you may see Jesus for who He truly is.
 Burge, Gary M. (2000). The NIV Application Commentary: John, p.25. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Books.
 Biblical Studies Press. (2006; 2006). The NET Bible First Edition; Bible. English. NET Bible.; The NET Bible. Biblical Studies Press.
 Bruce, F.F. (1994). The Gospel of John, p..34. Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. Eerdman’s Publishing Co.