The first 18 verses of the Gospel of John are commonly referred to as “The Prologue”. James White has said: “The prologue of John is a literary masterpiece. Its balance is almost unparalleled…the brightest minds have been fascinated by it and have always marveled at its beauty.” Albert Mohler adds: “The prologue is the lens through which the rest of John’s gospel is to be read. Many of its most important themes are introduced here (light, darkness, truth, witness, and world).”
The Creator of All
Last week we learned that Jesus is “The Word” and that “He was in the beginning with God.” Jesus existed eternally with the Father and the Holy Spirit at the moment of creation. In verse 3, we also learn that “All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.” Here are some other verses that reveal to us that everything that has been created has been created by Jesus:
- “He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him.” (John 1:10)
- “For in Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities–all things have been created through Him and for Him.” (Colossians 1:16)
- “In these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds.” (Hebrews 1:2)
John says, “In Him was life…” (4). At first it appears that John is simply reaffirming that Jesus is the One through whom the world was created, but that’s not what John is doing. John has shown that Jesus gives physical life and now he is speaking of spiritual life (e.g., eternal life). Jesus said in John 10:10: “I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” He also said in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.”
Jesus gives physical life (as Creator) and spiritual life (as the Light). Everyone who is born has physical life and everyone who is born again, has spiritual life. This spiritual life means that you are free from the condemnation of sin and reconciled to God. Sin brought death and death came to all. All who sin are under the judgment of God and deserve the just punishment for sin. Jesus, however, is free from sin, free from the judgment of God, and therefore does not deserve to die. This is an important aspect that makes the gospel clearer!
The Unconquerable Light
The good news is that Jesus has life and the good news gets even better when we discover that Jesus shares this life. John writes, “…and the life was the Light of men” (4). This spiritual life is meant to be given to us because of our current state of condemnation. But take heart lest you feel that you are too far gone to receive this life, the life is a light that shines upon us and the darkness is powerless to stop it (1:5). No matter how evil or far gone you feel you are, the life of the Word is able to come upon you. As we shall soon see, the Word, Life, and Light are all Jesus of Nazareth, the Christ, the Son of God!
John said “there was a man having been sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness, to bear witness about the Light, so that all might believe through Him” (1:6-7). He was not the Light but came to tell everyone that the Light was coming and to prepare themselves for that day by believing that this was from God. This Light came into the world, the world He created, yet the world rejected Him. The very people He created refused to believe who He was, but some did believe and they were given the right to become children of God. It is important to see that one becomes a child of God not through heritage or hard work, but through the grace of God. Jesus said “For a little while longer the Light is among you. Walk while you have the Light, so that the darkness will not overtake you.; he who walks in the darkness does not know where he goes. While you have the Light, believe in the Light, so that you may become sons of light” (John 12:35-36).
John 1:14 is one of the most consequential verses in the Bible. John writes: “And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we held His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.” This is a remarkable truth! Jesus is God the Son who took on human flesh and was for a little while lower than the angels (Heb 2:7 & 9) and endured the suffering of death (Heb 2:9). He shares in flesh and blood along with other humans (Heb 2:14), He is made like His brothers in every respect (Heb 2:17). Because of his suffering, He was crowned with glory and honor (Heb 2:9).
God the Son became God with us: Immanuel. Paul wrote in Philippians 2:6-7 that when Jesus was born, He “emptied Himself.” What does that mean? It means that He did not empty Himself of His divinity but emptied Himself of His rights and privileges. Paul said that Jesus “emptied Himself by taking the form of a slave, by being made in the likeness of men.” This is referred to as the Hypostatic Union. This is the phrase used to describe how God the Son took on human nature, yet remained fully God at the same time. The Bible does not teach that Jesus stopped being God when He took on human form and became like us; but that He added human nature to His Divine nature and thus has two natures. This may seem hard to comprehend, but we must remember that our belief about Jesus is derived from Scripture.
The blessing of Jesus being fully God and fully man is: 1) Being fully God He is able to live a sinless life and provide the perfect and acceptable sacrifice for sin and 2) Being fully man, He is able to die on our behalf. Only Jesus Christ can save us from our sins and reconcile us back to God. Finally, in verse 18, we read: “No one has seen God at any time; the only begotten God who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him.” This remarkable verse means that while no one has ever seen the Father at any time because “God is Spirit” (John 4:24), the Son has revealed Him to us perfectly (see John 14:7-10). Jesus is the Son of God and He is the Christ promised and my prayer is that you believe and by believing you may have life in his name.