Posted by: dhkrause | May 13, 2014

Life and Light in Jesus

John 1:1-18 is known as the prologue of the Gospel of John. It provides a deep revelation of who Jesus Christ truly is: God in human flesh, the eternal Creator of all things, “the Only Son, who is God!”

John 1 (NIV)
The Word Became Flesh
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
He was with God in the beginning.
Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.
In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.
The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

The Word who became flesh as Jesus Christ was with God, the Father, before anything was created. He is in a unique sense the Son of God, and He also is God as verse 1 declares: “the Word was God”. This is one of many passages supporting the Trinitarian view that God is one Being in three eternal Persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. God is One, revealed through three Persons. John declares that through the Word, the Son of God, all things were created; He is the source of all life and conscious existence, “the light of all mankind”. Notice the parallels between this passage and the first five verses of Genesis:

Genesis 1 (NIV)
The Beginning
1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.
And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.
God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness. God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day.

The Hebrew words in verse 1 for “the heavens” and “the earth” simply refer to the entire universe including our earth. No time period or details are given for this creation; therefore it could have covered a very extensive period of time with trillions of stars and planets coming into existence over billions of years. In God’s time, the earth was created and the Spirit was hovering over the dark waters of the global ocean. By the word of God, light broke through the darkness and shined upon the waters for the first time in the earth’s history. (Later, in verse 16, the thick translucent atmosphere evidently became transparent, and the sun, moon and stars became visible from the earth to “serve as signs to mark sacred times, and days and years”.) “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”

Returning to John’s prologue, verse 6 introduces the testimony of the John the Baptist, who came as a witness to the light:

There was a man sent from God whose name was John.
He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all might believe.
He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light.
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.

Jesus was the true light, entering the world that He had made; however, the people of the world, including most of his own Jewish brethren, did not recognize or receive him. Some did receive him and believed in him; these became born again by the Spirit of God.

John1:14 declares that Jesus is the Word of God become flesh, the one and only Son who came from the Father:

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.’”)

In testifying about Jesus, John the Baptist states that “he was before me”. We know from the Gospel of Luke that John was born about six months before Jesus, so here we have another testimony to the eternal existence of the Son of God.

John’s prologue concludes with this summary:

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.

The love and grace of God are demonstrated through the atoning life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, as John 3:16 says so very well:

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

Jesus declares in John 8:12, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” Those who believe in him and follow him receive grace for forgiveness of sins, and – equally importantly – grace to “go and sin no more”. (John 8:11, KJV)

When Jesus laid down his life for all who believe, the prophecy of Psalm 85:10 (NKJV) was fulfilled:

Mercy and truth have met together;
Righteousness and peace have kissed.

Truth comes through Jesus Christ because he himself is “the way and the truth and the life”, as he declares in John 14:6:

I am the way and the truth and the life.
No one comes to the Father except through me.

John 1:18 is clarified by John 6:46, which says, “No one has seen the Father except the one who is from God; only he has seen the Father.”

The NIV notes that the phrase in John 1:18, “who is himself God” is omitted in some manuscripts. In either case, this phrase agrees with John 1:1, “and the Word was God.”

1 John 5:20 summarizes the importance of knowing Jesus Christ:

We know also that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true. And we are in him who is true by being in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life.

David Krause,,

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