Wednesday, April 30, 2014

The Gospel According to John, Chapter 1

I was praying about what to share with everyone who reads Prayers and Paintings.  So the Lord told me to share The Gospel According to John.  Here is the first chapter in this wonderful book.

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was in the beginning with God.  All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing that was made.  In him was life, and the life was the light of men.  The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.  He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him.  He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light. 

The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.  He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him.  He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him.  But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor or the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.  (John bore witness about him, and cried out,  "This was he of whom I said, 'He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.'")  And from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.  For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.  No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father's side, he has made him known.

And this is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, "Who are you?"  He confessed, and did not deny, but confessed, "I am not the Christ."  And they asked him, "What then?  Are you Elijah?"  He said, "I am not."  "Are you the Prophet?"  And he answered, "No."  So they said to him, "Who are you?  We need to give an answer to those who sent us.  What do you say about yourself?"  He said, "I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness, 'Make straight the way of the Lord,' as the prophet Isaiah said."

(Now they had been sent from the Pharisees.)  They asked him, "Then why are you baptizing, if you are neither the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?"  John answered them, "I baptize with water, but among you stands one you do not know, even he who comes after me, the strap of whose sandal I am not worthy to untie."  These things took place in Bethany across the Jordan, where John was baptizing.

The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, "Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!  This is he of whom I said,  'After me comes a man who ranks before me, because he was before me.'  I myself did not know him, but for this purpose I came baptizing with water, that he might be revealed to Israel."  And John bore witness:  "I saw the Spirit descend from heaven light a dove, and it remained on him.  I myself did not know him, but he who sent me to baptize with water said to me, 'He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain, this is he who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.'  And I have seen and have borne witness that this is the Son of God."

The next day again John was standing with two of his disciples, and he looked at Jesus as he walked by and said, "Behold, the Lamb of God!"  The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus.  Jesus turned and saw them following and said to them, "What are you seeking?"  And they said to him, "Rabbi" (which means teacher), "where are you staying?"  He said to them, "Come and you will see."  So they came and saw where he was staying, and they stayed with him that day, for it was about the tenth hour.  One of the two who heard John speak and followed Jesus was Andrew, Simon Peter's brother.  He first found his own brother Simon and said to him, "We have found the Messiah" (which means Christ).  He brought him to Jesus.  Jesus looked at him and said, "So you are Simon the son of John?  You shall be called Cephas (which means Peter).

The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee.  He found Philip and said to him, "Follow me."  Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter.  Philip found Nathanael and said to him, "We have found him of whom Moses in the Law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph."  Nathanael said to him, "Can anything good come out of Nazareth?  Philip said to him, "Come and see."  Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him and said of him, "Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom there is no deceit!"  Nathanael said to him, "How do you know me?"  Jesus answered him, "Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you."  Nathanael answered him, "Rabbi, you are the Son of God!  You are the King of Israel!"  Jesus answered him, "Because I said to you, 'I saw you under the fig tree,' do you believe?  You will see greater things than these."  And he said to him, "Truly, truly, I say to you, you will see heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man."  John 1  ESV

Explanation of John 1:1-3 is from The MacArthur Study Bible, page 1533.

"1:1 In the beginning.  In contrast to 1 John 1:1 where John used a similar phrase ("from the beginning") to refer to the starting point of Jesus' ministry and gospel preaching, this phrase parallels Gen. 1:1 where the same phrase is used.  John used the phrase in an absolute sense to refer to the beginning of the time-space-material universe.  was. The verb highlights the eternal pre-existence of the Word, i.e., Jesus Christ.  Before the universe began, the Second Person of the Trinity always existed; i.e., he always was (cf. John 8:58).  This word is used in contrast with the verb "were made" in 1:3, which indicates a beginning in time.  Because of John's theme that Jesus Christ is the eternal God, the Second Person of the Trinity, he did not include a genealogy as Matthew and Luke did.  While in terms of Jesus' humanity, he had a human genealogy; in terms of his deity, he has no genealogy.  the Word.  John borrowed the use of the term "Word" not only from the vocabulary of the OT but also from Greek philosophy, in which the term was essentially impersonal, signifying the rational principle of "divine reason," "mind," or even "wisdom."  John, however, imbued the term entirely with OT and Christian meaning (e.g, Gen. 1:3 where God's word brought the world into being; Ps. 33:6; 107:20; Prov. 8:27 where God's word is his powerful self-expression in creation, wisdom, revelation, and salvation) and made it refer to a person, i.e., Jesus Christ.  Greek philosophical usage, therefore, is not the exclusive background of John's thought.  Strategically, the term "Word" serves as a bridge-word to reach not only Jews but also the unsaved Greeks.  John chose this concept because both Jews and Greeks were familiar with it.  the Word was with God.  The Word, as the Second Person of the Trinity, was in intimate fellowship with God the Father throughout all eternity.  Yet, although the Word enjoyed the splendors of heaven and eternity with the Father (Isa. 6:1-13; cf. John 12:41; 17:5), he willingly gave up his heavenly status, taking the form of a man, and became subject to the death of the cross (see notes on Phil. 2:6-8).  was God.  The Greek construction emphasizes that the Word had all the essence or attributes of deity, i.e., Jesus the Messiah was fully God (cf. Col. 2:9).  Even in his incarnation when he emptied himself, he did not cease to be God but took on a genuine human nature/body and volulntarily refrained from the independent exercise of the attributes of deity.
1:3 All things were made through him.  Jesus Christ was God the Father's agent involved in creating everything in the universe. (Col. 1:16-17; Heb. 1:2).

Let's Pray:  Dear Lord Jesus,  I lift up those reading the Bible and that hearts will be softened and believe in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  John 20:31, "but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name."  I say these things in Jesus' name.  Amen.  

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