Read John 1:1-18
1In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2He was with God in the beginning.
3Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4In him was life, and that life was the light of men. 5The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.
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. (NIV)
Many people can quote the beginning of John’s Gospel. But as we look at we see some of what John was trying to address. Irenaeus, who was a second century bishop in the church, stated that John’s Gospel was published in Ephesus which helps us understand the Hellenistic concerns it brings up. In the Greek word, the image of “Logos” (word or speech) as the underlying order of things had been introduced into the Greek culture in the 6th century BC. So when John says that the Logos existed before creation, then it brings more mystery to the person of Jesus. Jesus did just show up sometime later, he was always there.
John also confronts the notion that was of the time that light signified life. One of the battles the early church had was with Gnosticism which talked about the light that was in each of us. For Gnostics, it was how do we let that light out. For John, he takes to the true source of life which is God himself (verse 4) and that the light associated with life comes from God. God is the source of life.
John then lets us know of the purpose of John the Baptist. He was to witness to the light that was to be revealed to the world, Jesus Christ. And we see that the way John phrases verse 9, that Jesus was coming as a gift from God to the world and this gift was for everyone.
In verse 14, the Greek word translated “flesh” is “sarx” which means more than a physical body, but a human being in the fullest sense. Jesus was a complete being. John concludes with the contrasting image that Moses brought the law, Jesus brought grace and truth for all to take hold of.
Many theologians believe that John 1:14 is the “punch line of the entire Bible.” Do you believe this? What does it mean that we rely on the witness of others to see God (John says he is a witness to this)? What does it mean to mean that Jesus became flesh and dwelt among us? Does that give one comfort? Does it challenge us in anyway?
Blessings and Peace