John 1:1-13
Prepared by Dr. John E. Marshall

The Gospel of John is for many their favorite book in the Bible. It contains the Bible=s most famous verse, and my favorite, John 3:16. The Gospel of John has been described as a pool shallow enough for a child to wade in, yet deep enough for an elephant to swim in.

When talking of Jesus, where do we start? Matthew begins with Abraham. Mark begins with the preaching of John the Baptist. Luke begins with John the Baptist=s birth. John the Beloved begins in the bosom of the Father. John goes before time and talks about the relationship between God the Father and God the Son.

The Son is God speaking. When God speaks, something is going to happen. It is hard to separate His actions from His words. Once verbalized, His spoken will shall occur.

At creation God said, let there be light, let there be firmament, let dry land appear, etc. At least ten times God Asaid@ and it occurred. God said to the rich fool, AThis night thy soul shall be required of thee@ (Luke 12:20). And it was.

In Jesus, God spoke in a new, unique, and authoritative way. Instead of vibrating elements with His breath, the power of God combined elements to form Jesus. A(God) hath in these last days Son-spoken@ (Hebrews 1:2). We examine Jesus the Word under five headings.

I. Jesus= Relationship with God (John 1:1-2)

He was Ain the beginning,@ not Afrom the beginning.@ Jesus always has existed. He never was created. He was Awith God@ and Awas God.@ Jesus is God, but not all of God. They are One, yet separate.

John placed Jesus on the same level as God. The Bible never tries to prove there is a God and never tries to prove Jesus is God. It assumed both were obvious. The disciples found in Jesus all they had ever wanted in God. They first saw Jesus as a man and then came to see Him as more than a man.

Christian work began in Japan with a USA lady named Prince, along with five other missionaries. They translated Scripture and taught people English using the Bible in two languages. A Japanese man, translating the Gospel of John, began showing signs of agitation. Finally he blurted out, AWho is this Man about whom I am reading, this Jesus? You call Him a man, but He must be a God.@

II. Jesus= Relationship to Creation (John 1:3-5).

All life sprang from God through Jesus. All of nature throbs with prolific life because it passed through Jesus, who is life. All the world about us is alive. One cubic inch of tripoli clay contains over 40 billion silicone fossil shells of infusoria.

God created varying kinds of life. The higher and more sophisticated the life, the more control each has over its surroundings. Plant life can resist laws of gravity and push its way up. Animal life can overcome restrictions of immobility and resist attack.

Human life can resist outer attacks against itself and reason through complex problems. God life can resist evil forces and is the only medium through which spiritual light is sent out. The only hope to understand God=s ways for us is through God=s life being allowed to enter us.

God=s light is the only hope for people to come out of darkness. Nothing can overcome the world=s darkness but God=s light, and His light is received only by receiving His life. This truth has huge ramifications for believers.

Since spiritual light is transmitted through spiritual life, the only way God=s light can reach others is for it to shine on them through the life He lives in us.

The only thing that stops light is for it to be shut out or shut in. We don=t want to be guilty of the latter.

We won=t spread God=s light until we overflow with the fullness of His life. If we=ve not shown much light to the world lately, it=s because our spiritual life is low. The more we enjoy His life, our relationship with Him, the more we will spread His light to others.

Never stop shining, no matter how discouraged we become. Though God=s light will often be rejected, it will always continue to shine. No matter how dark this world=s darkness becomes, God=s light will still shine.

III. Jesus= Relationship to a Forerunner (John 1:6-9).

John the Baptist led our author, John the Beloved, to Christ. The Baptist was sent from God. Biographers usually start at another point, but really this is the only beginning that matters. We believers must realize we are sent from God in order to have courage facing the task, comfort under difficulties, and hope of success.

The Baptist was the ultimate prophet, but never forgot he was just a man. He was the second greatest man who ever lived, the new Elijah, but still a man who had a beginning. John=s light was lunar, not solar. He was to be a witness to the True light, Jesus.

John had definite bounds and could be effective only as he lived within those bounds. As a witness, he was history=s second greatest man. Had he tried to be a savior, he would have been a failure.

John did the greatest thing a person can do. He knew what God wanted him to do and he did it. He wrought no miracles nor had visions. We tend to emphasize externals, but John=s success lay in his living a strict, pure life, and keeping in touch with God.

IV. Jesus= Relationship to His Own (John 1:10-11).

AUnto His own@ (v. 11) is the only rendering Greek has for the peculiarly English expression Ahome@ (Blailock). There was no room at the inn; He had no place to lay His head; He came forgiving sins, healing the sick, raising the dead, and doing miracles in nature. But instead of accepting Him, His own called Him sinner, deceiver, mad, possessed of the devil. Israel wanted a political leader who would dazzle them with an earthly kingdom.
How sad to be rejected by your own. Julius Caesar pardoned Brutus and Cassius after the battle of Pharsalus. But on the Ides of March they led a group of Senators in killing Caesar. He received more than twenty wounds from men who had accepted his favors and whom he had believed were his friends.

Sadder than this is the rejection of Jesus by His own people. How sad when a group loses sight of its purpose for existence. It is tragic for a people to be prepared for a task and then refuse it. The people of God failed to welcome Him whom they had been prepared to receive (Westcott).

Sadly, this rejection continues. In many churches Jesus= own still reject Him. If the Holy Spirit were removed, many churches would never know the difference.

V. Jesus= Relationship to Believers (John 1:12-13).

When the old family rejected Him, Jesus started a new one. Christ moved toward those who would accept Him and called them children of God.

This is an intoxicating thought, children of God. When Danish missionaries translated this phrase in India, a native thought it too bold and said, AIt is too much; let us rather translate it, >they shall be permitted to kiss His feet.=@

How do we become children of God? Is it hereditary? No. The piling up of expressions in verse 13 is John=s argument against this belief. Grace does not run in the blood, as corruption does. People polluted beget, but people renewed do not beget children in that likeness.

Spiritual life owes its beginning to a birth from above. Material elements cannot be combined to form divine life. It is not the property of all. We Abecome@ a child of God. God=s power is necessary. Massive obstacles have to be removed, including the wrath of God and the guilt of sin.

Regeneration is as much the work of God as was creation. A person in a dark room does not put darkness out first and then let in light. Similarly, we cannot put sin out of our heart to prepare for Christ=s entering. We take Him in and then sin flees.