Read John 1:6-51
6There came a man who was sent from God; his name was John. 7He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all men might believe. 8He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light. 9The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world.
10He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. 11He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. 12Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— 13children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband's will, but born of God.
14The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
15John testifies concerning him. He cries out, saying, "This was he of whom I said, 'He who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.'" 16From the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another. 17For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only, who is at the Father's side, has made him known.
19Now this was John's testimony when the Jews of Jerusalem sent priests and Levites to ask him who he was. 20He did not fail to confess, but confessed freely, "I am not the Christ."
21They asked him, "Then who are you? Are you Elijah?" He said, "I am not." "Are you the Prophet?" He answered, "No." 22Finally they said, "Who are you? Give us an answer to take back to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?"
23John replied in the words of Isaiah the prophet, "I am the voice of one calling in the desert, 'Make straight the way for the Lord.'"
24Now some Pharisees who had been sent 25questioned him, "Why then do you baptize if you are not the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?"
26"I baptize with water," John replied, "but among you stands one you do not know. 27He is the one who comes after me, the thongs of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie."
28This all happened at Bethany on the other side of the Jordan, where John was baptizing.
29The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, "Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! 30This is the one I meant when I said, 'A man who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.' 31I myself did not know him, but the reason I came baptizing with water was that he might be revealed to Israel."
32Then John gave this testimony: "I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on him. 33I would not have known him, except that the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, 'The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is he who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.' 34I have seen and I testify that this is the Son of God."
35The next day John was there again with two of his disciples. 36When he saw Jesus passing by, he said, "Look, the Lamb of God!"
37When the two disciples heard him say this, they followed Jesus. 38Turning around, Jesus saw them following and asked, "What do you want?" They said, "Rabbi" (which means Teacher), "where are you staying?"
39"Come," he replied, "and you will see." So they went and saw where he was staying, and spent that day with him. It was about the tenth hour.
40Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, was one of the two who heard what John had said and who had followed Jesus. 41The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, "We have found the Messiah" (that is, the Christ). 42And he brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, "You are Simon son of John. You will be called Cephas" (which, when translated, is Peter).
43The next day Jesus decided to leave for Galilee. Finding Philip, he said to him, "Follow me." 44Philip, like Andrew and Peter, was from the town of Bethsaida. 45Philip found Nathanael and told him, "We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote — Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph."
46"Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?" Nathanael asked. "Come and see," said Philip. 47When Jesus saw Nathanael approaching, he said of him, "Here is a true Israelite, in whom there is nothing false."
48"How do you know me?" Nathanael asked. Jesus answered, "I saw you while you were still under the fig tree before Philip called you." 49Then Nathanael declared, "Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the King of Israel."
50Jesus said, "You believe because I told you I saw you under the fig tree. You shall see greater things than that." 51He then added, "I tell you the truth, you shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man." (NIV)
We will have some long reading in this study. But that is the only way to get through the Gospel in some sort of timely fashion.
John begins his Gospel really with John the Baptist and proclamations of who Christ is. For John, from the very beginning, He wants people to know that Jesus is the Christ. We see this in the first Chapter with images such as, Jesus is the Word that brought forth Creation (Vs 1-3 in last week’s reading.) In Jesus is life. (vs 4) Jesus is the true light. (vs 9) Through him we become children of God. (vs 12-13) He is full of truth and grace. (vs 14) He is the only one who has seen God. (vs 18)
As you look at these images and traits of Jesus, what comes to mind in your relationship with Christ? Are these images that are important to you? For John, it seems that it is about new life for each of us in Christ.
These images of light and dark are not physical, but terms for spiritual light and spiritual darkness. We need spiritual light to have spiritual life. And for John, these verses have an underlying message of rebirth for humanity. There is a new birth, a new relationship and a new life. This will later be fleshed out when Jesus talks with Nicodemus.
Then John moves to talk about John the Baptist. The Old Testament points that Elijah must come before the Messiah comes. And John here continues a theme we see in other places of Scripture. Those chosen by God never claim that title. It is through their actions that point to who they are. John answers the question “are you Elijah” with a no, but then uses the words of Elijah to answer the question. Luke (1:17) deals with this issue. While John is not physically Elijah, Luke says, that “He will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah.” This goes to the prophecy in Micah that Elijah will return to usher in the Messiah.
John also puts another image in the words of John the Baptist when he speaks of Jesus as “the Lamb of God.” And in the title, we see that Jesus is the one who will take away the sins of the people.
From here, we see an overlapping of the followers of John and those called by Jesus. We are told that some of the disciples started with following the teaching of John. I love this because it shows that we should grow in our understanding of God. Too often we are content to stay where we are instead of see where God will take us in following him and continuing to learn from him.
How are you growing in your faith? Do you have the same attitude that you are willing to “come and see” which was the response by Jesus to the disciples of John who came to him. This was also seen in the call of the disciples as some brought others to “come and see” Jesus.
So this opening gives us lots of images which John will continue to use in his story to tell us that Jesus is the choses one, so that one might believe.
Blessings and Peace