John 1:1–5, 9–14, 16–18 comment (0)
August 29, 2013
By Jay T. Robertsn
Related Scripture: John 1:1-5
Explore the Bible
Assistant Professor of Christian Ministries, University of Mobile
John 1:1–5, 9–14, 16–18
Recognize the Word (1–5)
In the opening 18 verses, known as the Prologue, John presents Jesus as the eternal, preexistent, now incarnate Word (1:1, 14) and as the one-of-a-kind Son of the Father who is Himself God (1:1, 18). John quickly identifies this Word as Jesus (1:14), but here he locates Jesus’ existence in eternity past with Father God.
The concept of “the Word” was a common ground in the presuppositions of both Hebrew theology and Greek philosophy. To the Hebrews, the Word of God was the presence and action of God breaking into human history with unparalleled power and authority. To the Greeks, the Word (logos) was the invisible and intelligent force that created the universe. John sought to be a faithful missionary and to remain loyal to the Old Testament Scripture and Jesus Himself while seeking to further the fruitful work of the gospel into the larger world dominated by Greek philosophy and language.
John begins with a declaration that both Hebrews and Greeks would have agreed with, that before the creation of the world and time, the Word existed eternally. He then scandalizes both groups by stating that Jesus is the Word and was with the one and only God and, in fact, was Himself God and was face-to-face with Father God from eternity. John then explains that the Word is not merely the invisible force of the Greeks nor the agent of God’s action for the Hebrews, but a person through whom all things were created and a person in whom is light and life for men. This light that exposes sin and reveals God has come into the darkness of this sinful, cursed and dying world. The darkness opposed His light but was unable to understand or overcome Him.
Welcome the Light (9–14)
The true light enlightens everyone. Not everyone welcomed Jesus as Lord and Savior; therefore, to enlighten cannot mean supernatural illumination that leads to salvation. What is at stake is the objective revelation, “the light,” that comes into the world with the incarnation of the Word. It shines on everyone and divides the human race. Those who hate the light flee, lest their deeds be exposed by this light (John 3:19–21). But some receive this revelation and thereby testify that their deeds have been done through God (John 3:21).
Those who “receive” Jesus do not simply believe some facts about Him. They welcome Him into their lives and they submit to His rule in a personal relationship. To believe implies personal trust. “His name” refers to all that is true about Him and, therefore, the totality of His person. People who truly believe in Him as He is revealed in Scripture are given the right to become children of God. Neither physical birth nor ethnic descent nor human effort can make people children of God. Only God’s supernatural work can produce new life in Christ.
“The Word became flesh and dwelt among us.” This does not mean that the Word ceased being God. Rather the Word, who was God, also took on humanity. The eternal, omnipotent, omnipresent, infinitely holy Son of God took on a human nature and lived among humanity as one who was both God and man at the same time, in one person. Jesus revealed God’s glory and steadfast love in the world.
Experience the Revelation (16–18)
Through Jesus we receive God’s grace, His undeserved blessing. Because of Jesus’ coming into the world to die for sinners, Father God loves those who welcome His Son with a never stopping, never giving up, unbreaking, always-and-forever love. Jesus shows us what Father God is like. When you look at Jesus you are able to see the heart of God clearly, a heart of steadfast love and faithfulness. Have you experienced Jesus’ transforming power in your life?