Lesson 236: John 1:1…
John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
The gospel according to John was written by the Apostle John, around AD 90. He included much that is not found in the other gospels, and he stated his purpose clearly: these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name (John 20:31).
John began his gospel by echoing the first verse of the Bible. In the beginning was the Word is meant to recall, In the beginning God (Genesis 1:1). The same God who spoke the world into being, spoke through his Son, whom John called the Word.
In the Old Testament the word of the Lord came to Abram (Genesis 15:1), the word of the Lord came to Samuel (1 Samuel 15:10), the word of the Lord came to Nathan (2 Samuel 7:4), the word of the Lord came to Solomon (1 Kings 6:11), and to many others. In fact, this little phrase occurs over a hundred times throughout the Old Testament. But the word of the Lord came most fully in the person of Jesus Christ. He is the personification of God’s word, and the clearest expression of God there is.
Some have argued that if we received a single word from outer space, it would prove that alien life exists. Jesus is the Word from heaven that proves that God exists. If you ever want to hear from God, all you have to do is listen to Jesus Christ.
John 1:3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.
Heaven and earth, fish and fowl, atoms and galaxies, owe their existence to Jesus Christ. A carpenter from Nazareth, one who made tables and chairs, also made the world and everything in it—including you and me. This is remarkable in itself, but there is more.
Jesus not only made us; he made us for himself. He is a personal savior who wants a personal relationship with each of us. He is the bridegroom, and we are his bride (Ephesians 5:23). To find Jesus Christ is to find the one for whom we were made.
Like a good spouse, Jesus brings a completion and fulfillment that surpasses other relationships. He brings out the best in us, and helps us reach our potential. Marriage is demanding, and so is belonging to Christ. But there is no better relationship than loving the one for whom we were made.
John 1:11 He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him.
This is one of the strangest facts of history. God came into the world, but the world rejected God. The world can’t even exist apart from God, but when God came into the world he created, the world rejected its Creator. The ox knows its master, the donkey its owner’s manger, but Israel does not know, my people do not understand (Isaiah 1:3), said God. When it comes to knowing their Maker, some people are dumber than beasts.
John 1:12 Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.
This is one of the clearest statements in the Bible about how to become a child of God. If Jesus knocks on your door, but you do not open it, you have not received him. If you open the door a crack, you still have not received him. But if you open the door wide, and invite him in, then you have received him. This is how we become children of God. We open the door of our hearts to Jesus Christ, and invite him in forever.
John 1:29 Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!
The purpose of John the Baptist’s ministry was to point people to Jesus Christ. He was never clearer than when he identified Jesus as the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.
Lambs were an important part of the Old Testament sacrificial system, but not any lamb would do. About two dozen times God said the lamb must be without defect (Numbers 28:3, etc.). The worshipper did not have to be without defect, but the lamb had to be without defect, because it pointed ahead to the Lamb of God–a lamb without blemish or defect (1 Peter 1:19), wrote Peter. We are not accepted by God because we are perfect, but because we have a perfect lamb.
Reflection and Review
Why is Jesus called the Word?
How do we become God’s children?
Why did sacrificial lambs have to be without defect?