Updated: May 30, 2021
The first chapter of John has a lot of important information in it that we need to understand as believers in Jesus Christ. In this chapter, we are told about Jesus, John the Baptist ministry/testimony, and the calling of the first disciples. Looking at this chapter we can see the theme and question of the entire book of John. The theme is: Jesus is the Son of God, He is the eternal God and salvation only comes from believing in Him. The question of the book of John is: What are you going to do with this information? Reject it or believe and have your life changed forever?
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. All things were created through Him, and apart from Him not one thing was created that has been created.” John 1:1-3 HCSB ( https://www.bible.com/72/jhn.1.1-3.hcsb )
John gets right to the point here in telling us about who Jesus is. Jesus is the word. Many times when we talk about the word of God we might think of our bibles, but this is not what John was referring to when he said that “The Word was with God, and the Word was God.” Instead, he was referring to the way God expresses Himself with spoken words. We must understand this point - Jesus is not the Bible, but He is the Word.
We must also understand that “The Word was with God, and the Word was God,” pointing out that Jesus is eternal and has always existed as the second person of the Trinity. Many different groups will deny this point. Some believe that God created Jesus and that Jesus and Satan are brothers. This is a false belief that is not supported by scripture. The Jehovah’s witnesses have gone as far as changing this passage to say “The Word was with God, and the Word was a god.” To follow their translation means that you would be denying the doctrine of the trinity. If you deny the doctrine of the trinity then Jesus isn’t God and if Jesus isn’t God then He couldn’t pay the price for our sins. This is why we must understand these two truths that John is telling us in his first chapter. 1. Jesus is eternal. He has always existed and is not a created being (not Satan’s brother b/c Satan is a created being). Instead, everything that has been created was created by Jesus. 2. Jesus is and always has been God. When people say they believe in Jesus, we should always ask them “Who is Jesus?” (Matt. 16:15)
The third truth (that we will focus on) that John is telling us in this chapter is that Jesus became flesh.
“The Word became flesh and took up residence among us. We observed His glory, the glory as the One and Only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.” John 1:14 HCSB ( https://www.bible.com/72/jhn.1.14.hcsb )
This is another important part of the doctrine of salvation. If Jesus being God didn’t become flesh then there could be no salvation. There is no other sacrifice that could cleanse us of our sins. The animal sacrifices of the Old Testament only served to cover the sins of the people until the perfect sacrifice came into the world.
John also gives us the testimony of John the Baptist, saying that John was sent from God to tell us about the “light” so that we could all believe. In verses 19-36 we find John’s testimony about Jesus. He gives the testimony of the events of Jesus’ baptism. Saying:
“And John testified, “I watched the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and He rested on Him. I didn’t know Him, but He who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘The One you see the Spirit descending and resting on — He is the One who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ I have seen and testified that He is the Son of God! ” John 1:32-34 HCSB ( https://www.bible.com/72/jhn.1.32-34.hcsb )
John’s testimony is that Jesus is the Son of God because he was told by God; that the one the Holy Spirit,the third person of the Trinity, descends and rests upon is the Son of God. John the Baptist was convinced that Jesus is the eternal Son of God. John the Apostle included his testimony so that we could also be convinced.
In this first chapter John also showed two different ways of responding to these facts. In verses10-13 we are told that Jesus came into the world but the world did not recognize Him. Not only did the world not recognize Him, but we are also told that He went unto His own (the Jews) and they did not receive Him. We see that Jesus was rejected by the world and the Jews; which for the most part remains true even today. Although Jesus was rejected by these two groups some did believe and follow. In verse 13, it is hinted at there being some that did receive Jesus and were given the right to be children of God. In the closing verses, we also see the first of the disciples being called and following Jesus.
To conclude the first chapter of John. John is saying Jesus is God eternal. The Son of God. The light and hope of the world. If you believe and receive Jesus then you are a Child of God. If you reject Jesus then you have no hope of salvation.
Questions for reflection:
Why is it important that we believe that Jesus is God and has eternally existed?
Is there a difference between believing in “a Jesus” and believing in “the Jesus of the Bible”?
What are you going to do with this information? Believe or reject?
Many like to say that everyone in the world is a child of God. How do you think that John would respond to such a belief?