John chapter 1
In John 1:1-3, 14, it is easy to understand that Jesus and the Father are separate individuals, yet they are both God. Now will be a great time to take a quick look at the Godhead (Acts 17:29, Rom. 1:20, Col. 2:9). The word “God” or “Godhead” simply means Deity. So, when we see a passage that says, “One God,” it is not saying there is just one person or one being; it is saying there is only one Deity. As we will see, the Word of God teaches there are three persons that have the characteristics of Deity, namely the Father, the Son, and the Holy spirit. Many refer to this as the Trinity, which is a man-made word. However, it does represent the Godhead well since there are Three in one.
Please note that all three are called God in Scripture:
These three are not one person. Instead, they are three distinctive beings who have the same nature and essences of Deity, and they have the same goal. Some try to put their relationship into human terms by comparing them to an egg because it has an outer shell, an egg white, and a yolk, which are three distinct parts that make up the one egg. Others have used a three-leaf clover using this same idea.
To further show there is a plurality of persons that make up the one Deity, all we have to do is examine the first verse of the Bible (Gen. 1:1 – 2) In this passage, all three members of the Godhead are mentioned. God the Farther is the planner, and God the Son is the creator as He carries out the Father’s plan. The Holy Spirit is the organizer as He is described as hovering over the water in verse 2. Another interesting point comes from the word “God” in verse 1, which is the Hebrew word “Elohim.” Elohim is in plural form, which means there is more than one person that makes up God. The word “Elohim” is used more than 2000 times in the Old Testament, and other Old Testament passages make this plurality clear as well (Gen. 1:26, 3:22, 11:7; Isa. 6:8), which proves more than one person makes up Deity.
There are many New Testament passages that show all three members of the Godhead as well (Mt. 28:19; Eph. 4:4-6; Mt. 3:16-17; Lk. 3:21-22; Jn.1:32; Acts 10:38, 2 Cor. 13:14; 1 Jn. 5:7; 1 Pet. 1:2; Jude 20-21; 1 Cor. 12:4-6).
We can observe some differences in the members of the Godhead in following passages:
Now that I have proved there are three distinct persons that make up Deity, I want to show some passages that show their individual characteristics as being a person and Deity. Since no one has a problem understanding that God the Father is a person, I will focus on Jesus and the Holy Spirit.
There are more Scriptures we could examine, but these are enough to prove there is one God made up of three distinct persons who have the same goal and essence. As we progress through the Gospel of John, we will learn more about these three distinct persons in the Godhead.
John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God.
The Gospel of John starts of just like the book of Genesis, “In the beginning”. As I pointed out earlier, the word “with” carries the idea of the Word being face-to-face with God. We have already learned that the Word is Jesus. This same phrase “face-to-face” is used many times in Scripture. For instance, 1 Corinthians 13:12 and 1 John 2:1 use this phrase to talk about two distinct individuals. Not only was the Word/Jesus with God in the beginning, He was also God Himself.
John 1:3 All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.
Everything that was created, which includes the earth, heavens, and everything that exists, was done through Jesus, which proves He has always existed (Col. 1:16-17; 1 Cor. 8:6; Heb. 1:2, 10). It is also interesting that “all things were made,” which means they were made in the past and nothing new is being created. Even science agrees with this statement. The Word of God teaches that the earth and all existence came into being in six literal days unlike the millions and billions of years that some say. Exodus 20:8-11 proves this to be true because its context demands six literal days for creation.
John 1:4 In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.
Jesus is the life and light of all humans because without Him, all will die in their sins (Jn. 8:12, 14:6). Jesus is the true light that cannot be overtaken by evil because no matter how hard evil tries, it will not prevail against Jesus or His church (Mt.. 16:18). Christians are supposed to walk in that light (1 Jn. 1:7), and we are to be a light to those who are lost in the dark world of sin (Mt. 5:14-16).
John 1:6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7 This man came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all through him might believe. 8 He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. 9 That was the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world.
Simply put, God sent John the Baptist to be a witness of the true light, and the source of that light is Jesus. Even though John is called a light (Jn. 5:35), his light was dim and temporary in comparison to Jesus’ light.
John the Baptist:
· Came from God.
· Was not the light.
· His mission was to bear witness of the light so others would believe.
When it says, “Jesus gives light to everyman,” this could mean that everyone has access to the light Jesus offers. It could also mean that in one-way or another, every person whether Christian or nonChristian will benefit from the light that Jesus provides to everyone.
John 1:10 He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. 11 He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him.
Once again, the writer stresses the world was made through Jesus, and now He was in the world living like a man. It is astonishing that Jesus would leave His heavenly home to come to the earth to become like one of us and face the temptations that so easily ensnare us. It did not surprise Jesus when people did not know Him or accept Him as the Son of God because Isaiah said He would be rejected and misunderstood (Isa. 53:1).
Verse 11 teaches that He was rejected by His own, which
refers to the Jews in general because many of them did not accept Jesus for He
was. After Jesus’ resurrection from the dead, His apostles began their ministry,
and they felt sorry for the Jewish nation because of their unbelief (
John 1:12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: 13 who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
These verses deal with those who have received Jesus by
believing He is the Son of God, and by obeying Him. Jesus gave them the right,
or authority, to become a child of God. He made it possible for all to obtain
salvation if they will receive Him and His teachings. Some use this passage to
teach that a person is saved by faith alone, but that is not true, and it will
not stand up to the whole counsel of God. The passage does not state or imply
that a person becomes a child of God by merely believing Jesus is the Son of
God. James confirmed this truth when he said, “Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead” (
John 1:14 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.
We can learn much from this verse. First, it teaches that the Word that was God and was with God is Jesus. Second, it declares Jesus was made flesh, which confirms what the Bible says about His birth (Gen. 3:15; Gal. 4:4; Isa. 7:14, 9:6-7; Mt. 1:18ff). Jesus’ miraculous conception shows He was 100% man and 100% Deity, which teaches against the idea that humans are born as sinners because Jesus had no sin in His life (Heb. 2:14). Some argue that Mary was unique and was without sin, which caused Jesus to be born without sin. However, this cannot be true because Mary was a sinner just like the rest of us (Rom. 3:23, 10).
“We beheld his glory”
John was speaking for all the apostles and for those who saw Jesus and recognized He was the Son of God. The word “beheld” means “to behold, look upon, view attentively, contemplate (often used of public shows)” (Thayer). So, those who beheld His glory did not just see it from a casual glace, they were able to examining it from all angles and test it. The word “glory” means “the kingly majesty which belongs to Him as supreme ruler, majesty in the sense of the absolute perfection of the deity” (Thayer). Jesus’ glory was manifested in how treated others in His obedience to the Law and the miracles He did. His glory as Deity was also manifested in the transfiguration (Mt. 17:1ff).
“Only begotten of the Father”
Jesus is the only true Son of God who was begotten of Him. When we become Christians, we become sons of God’s as well, but not in the same sense as Jesus because He came down from heaven and became flesh without an earthly farther. Also, the phrase “Only begotten of the Father” has never been said about angels either (Heb. 1:5).
“Full of grace and truth”
Jesus personifies both grace and truth. Grace describes His redemptive work to save humankind, and truth corresponds with His teachings that came from above (Jn. 14:6).
John 1:15 John bore witness of Him and cried out, saying, "This was He of whom I said, 'He who comes after me is preferred before me, for He was before me.' " 16 And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace.
The Gospel of John never refers to John the Baptist as John the Baptist. Instead, it calls him John. John’s main mission in life was to prepare the way for the Messiah. When John baptized Jesus and learned He was the Messiah, he declared Him even more. John understood that he was not even worthy enough to touch Jesus’ sandal strap (Mk1:7). Even though John was born six months before Jesus (Lk.1:36), John said that Jesus was preferred or ranked higher than he was, and He was before him. John’s statement shows the preexistence of Jesus because John recognized that He was before him even though He became flesh after him. Just as Jesus said, “before Abraham was, I AM." (Jn. 8:58).
In verse 16, John teaches that we have received the fullness of Christ, which is a reference to His Deity and saving grace. It is only through Jesus and having an obedient faith that we continuously receive grace upon grace.
John 1:17 For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.
This verse is not teaching there was not grace or truth under the Old Law because there was. However, the Old Law could not completely take away sin because every year there was a reminder of sin (Heb. 10:3). Jesus established a new covenant based on better promises (Heb. 8:6-7). The Old Law pointed to Christ in which He would reveal the truth and grace, which was the forgiveness of sin for Jews and Gentiles. Some say, “Since we are under grace and truth, we are not under a law.” However, that is not true because grace and truth includes law; otherwise, we would have nothing to obey. We know that we have laws to obey because Jesus said, “If you love Me, keep My commandments” (Jn 14:15). Besides, there are many passages that call the new covenant the Law of Christ (1 Cor. 9:21; Gal. 6:2; Jas. 1:25, 2:12).
John 1:18 No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him.
John teaches that no one has seen God except Jesus. Well, what about Exodus 24:10 and Job 42:5. Is this a contradiction? No. These people, including Moses, only saw a manifestation of God. No one has seen God as He is except Jesus.
“The only begotten Son”
This is another interesting phrase. Most Bible versions has a footnote that suggest this phrase can be rendered “only begotten God”. Some scholars argue this is how it should be rendered because of the evidence from the documents we get our Bible from. The reason most translation use the word “Son” is because the translators assumed that people would understand that the Son of God and God both show Deity. However, it not always understood that way because some denominations teach that Jesus is something other than God.
Jesus is in the bosom of the Father, which describes Jesus’ intimate union and identity with God. Since He has this close union with God, He is the perfect one to reveal God because He was God in the flesh, and He was the express image of God. He and Father are one (Jn. 10:30; 14:7-11).
John 1:19 Now
this is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from
First, they asked him, “Are you Elijah?” They thought the Scriptures foretold that Elijah would be resurrected and sent back as a forerunner for the coming Messiah (Mal. 4:5-6). Notice, John said, no I am not him. However, Jesus said that he was Elijah (Mk. 9: 11-13; Mt. 11:13-14). Is this a contradiction? Jesus said he was Elijah, but John said he was not. Luke 1:13-17 provides the answer. The forerunner would not be Elijah resurrected, he would only be a person that came in the spirit and the power of Elijah. It is in this sense that John was Elijah. So, there is no contradiction.
Second, they asked him, “Are you the Prophet?” They knew what the Scriptures said even though they did not fully understand them. There question came from what Moses said in Deuteronomy 18:15-19. However, this prophecy was about Christ (Acts 3:18-22). Of course John’s answered no to this question as well.
John 1:22 Then they said to him, "Who are you, that we may give an answer to those who sent us? What do you say about yourself?" 23 He said: "I am 'The voice of one crying in the wilderness: "Make straight the way of the LORD," ' as the prophet Isaiah said."
Since John was not the Christ, Elijah, or the prophet, they wanted to know, “Who are you then?” He answered with Isa.40:3. Obviously, they did not understand the prophecy referred to the Elijah that was to come in Malachi. 4:5-6.
John 1:25 And they asked him, saying, "Why then do you baptize if you are not the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?"
The baptism John was teaching was something new and different. If Christ, Elijah, or the Prophet had come as the Jews understood it, they could anticipate them teaching a new rite like baptism. Since John declared that he was none of these, they cannot understand why John is baptizing.
John 1:26 John
answered them, saying, "I baptize with water, but there stands One among
you whom you do not know. 27
"It is He who, coming after me, is preferred before me, whose sandal strap
I am not worthy to loose." 28
These things were done in Bethabara beyond the
John baptized with water, and his baptism was by immersion, which is what baptism means (John 3:23). His baptism was a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sin (Mk. 1:4), and it came from heaven (Mt. 21:25). We will see another purpose of his baptism in verse 29ff. John referred to Jesus again is verse 27. We know the name of the place where John was baptizing, but unfortunately, there are two places with this name within a couple of miles from each other. So, we don’t know for sure the exact location where this took place.
John 1:29 The
next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, "Behold! The Lamb of
God who takes away the sin of the world!
30 "This is He of whom I said, 'After me comes a Man who
is preferred before me, for He was before me.'
31 "I did not know Him; but that He should be revealed
Another purpose of John’s baptism was to reveal who the Messiah was. When the text says that John didn’t know Him, it does not necessarily mean he didn’t know who His own cousin was because we do not have enough information to know if they knew each other or not. In context, John was simply saying he did not know that Jesus was the Messiah until it was revealed to him on that day when he baptized Him, and the Spirit descended on Him and stayed. This was God’s sign to John that Jesus was the Messiah, and this is the reason he called him the “lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.” Isaiah 53:7 talks about how Jesus would be led as lamb to the slaughter, which is exactly what happened to Jesus. He was an innocent man who was killed on the cross, and it was through His sacrifice that He bore all our sins. Since John was an eyewitness of Jesus, he boldly proclaimed that Jesus is the Son of God.
John 1:35 Again, the next day, John stood with two of his disciples. 36 And looking at Jesus as He walked, he said, "Behold the Lamb of God!"
On the next day, John proclaimed Jesus as being the Lamb of God in front of his disciples. John wanted his disciples to understand that Jesus is the Son of God who is here to take away our sins.
John 1:37 The two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus. 38 Then Jesus turned, and seeing them following, said to them, "What do you seek?" They said to Him, "Rabbi" (which is to say, when translated, Teacher), "where are You staying?" 39 He said to them, "Come and see." They came and saw where He was staying, and remained with Him that day (now it was about the tenth hour).
John understood that he must decrease, and Jesus must increase. So, I imagine he was happy when these two disciples decided to follow Jesus. After all, John had taught them everything he knew, and only Jesus would be able to enlighten them further. We can see their eagerness to learn from Jesus, the master teacher, which is why they called Him Rabbi or teacher.
Even though Jesus knew what these men wanted, many times He would ask questions like He did here to make them think and acknowledge why they are seeking after Jesus. They inquired where He lived, and He said, “Come see.” When they went to see where He lived, it gave them an opportunity to listen to Jesus and learn more about Him. The tenth hour means it was either 10 A.M. by Roman time or 4 P.M. by Jewish time.
John 1:40 One of the two who heard John speak, and followed Him, was Andrew, Simon Peter's brother. 41 He first found his own brother Simon, and said to him, "We have found the Messiah" (which is translated, the Christ).
One of these disciples was Andrew. The Bible does not teach us much about Andrew, but he was good at bringing people to Jesus.
The other disciple is not named, but many believe it was John because he never names himself in this book. We can tell the writer is giving us an eyewitness account of these events. So, I believe John is this unnamed disciple, which means that Andrew and John were two of the first disciples of Jesus.
John 1:41 He first found his own brother Simon, and said to him, "We have found the Messiah" (which is translated, the Christ). 42 And he brought him to Jesus. Now when Jesus looked at him, He said, "You are Simon the son of Jonah. You shall be called Cephas" (which is translated, A Stone).
Andrew and John had been looking for the coming of the Messiah. They were both disciples of John the Baptist, and they believed John’s testimony that Jesus was the coming one as prophesied by the Scriptures. So, Andrew brought his brother to Christ, and Jesus gave him a new name that means stone or pebble, which comes from the Greek word “Petros.”
John 1:43 The
following day Jesus wanted to go to Galilee, and He found Philip and said to
him, "Follow Me." 44
Now Philip was from
The next day, Jesus wanted to go to
John 1:45 Philip
found Nathanael and said to him, "We have found Him of whom Moses in the
law, and also the prophets, wrote -- Jesus of
Philip was doing his best to bring people to Christ as well
as we just read. Nathanael was hesitant at first because the city of
John 1:47 Jesus
saw Nathanael coming toward Him, and said of him, "Behold, an Israelite
indeed, in whom is no deceit!" 48
Nathanael said to Him, "How do You know me?" Jesus answered and said
to him, "Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw
you." 49 Nathanael
answered and said to Him, "Rabbi, You are the Son of God! You are the King
Nathanael decided to go to Jesus to see if He was the Messiah. He got more than he bargained for because Jesus called him by name and called him an Israelite without deceit. Nathanael was puzzled at how Jesus could know his name. Then Jesus blew his mind when He told him He saw him sitting under a fig tree. It was one thing to know his name, but to know he was sitting under a fig tree earlier was beyond comprehension. Jesus’ miraculous knowledge left no doubt in Philip’s mind that Jesus was the Messiah the prophets had talked about, which is why he proclaimed Him as the Son of God and the King of Israel.
It is believed that Nathanael is the same person as Bartholomew. John never mentions Bartholomew, and the other three Gospels never mention Nathanael. These differences are not uncommon in the Bible because one writer will use one name, and another writer will use a different name. For instance, the Gospel of John is the only one that teaches that Peter was called Cephas (Jn.1:42).
John 1:50 Jesus
answered and said to him, "Because I said to you, 'I saw you under the fig
tree,' do you believe? You will see greater things than these." 51 And He said to him, "Most
assuredly, I say to you, hereafter you shall see heaven open, and the angels of
God ascending and descending upon the Son of
Jesus was telling Nathanael that His being able to see him under the fig tree will not compare to things that he will see Jesus do later. For instance, in chapter 2, Jesus is going to do His first miracle, which will set the stage for more miracles and signs that would prove that Jesus is the Son of God.
Next, Jesus said: “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." The term, “most assuredly” or “verily verily” is unique to the Gospel of John, and it is used exclusively by Jesus. He used this word twice, which can carry the meaning of “amen amen”. He said this to emphasize the words that followed, but what did Jesus mean when he said: “hereafter you shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man."
I wish I could give provide a definite answer, but I cannot. However, I can give offer some possibilities. First, we do not know for sure if Jesus was talking about something literal or spiritual. If He is talking about something literal His disciples would see, then perhaps it describes the event when Jesus was taken up into heaven (Acts 1). Others have suggested it might refer to Jesus’ second coming when heaven will be opened and every eye will see Him.
When examine this as a spiritual event, it could be an antitype of the Jacob’s vision (Gen. 28:12). Jesus would be the ladder that takes care of the gap between God and man. So, this statement could be talking about Jesus’ work on the earth, which also included His death, burial and resurrection.
One last point I want to make is that Jesus referred to Himself about 40 times as “the Son of man”. Jesus is not “a son a man,” He is “the Son man”. Some use this phrase to teach that Jesus was a mere man, but that is not the case because this phrase “the Son of man” can show His Deity and authority.
He used this phrase “the Son of man” in following ways:
· He was Lord of the Sabbath (Mt. 12:8).
· He had power to forgive sins (Mk. 2:10).
· He will come with the glory of His Father and the angels (Mark 8:38).
· He would be raised from the dead (Mk. 9:9).
· He came to seek and save the lost (Lk. 19:10).
So, this phrase does not mean He was just a mere man, and we have already looked at many other passages that prove that Jesus is Deity by His own confession and by others.