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 all mankind. 5The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.John 1:1-5
Word, life, light. Written 80 to 90 years following the death of Christ, John’s gospel is the definitive biography of Jesus Christ and the new covenant God has given to us through him.
"31But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name." John 1:31
Genesis 1 details how God spoke the universe into being, and it was “very good“. Pride, the worst of the sins hated by God, was sown by Lucifer into the hearts and minds of mankind, instantly corrupting God’s perfection. John 1 gives us the genesis of God’s victory over this darkness.
It’s important to note that John is not declaring that Jesus is God, but that he was both with God and was God from the beginning. In addition, John is not telling us that Jesus created the world as illustrated in Genesis 1:3-27. The declaration that “Through him, all things were made” clarifies that Jesus was God’s instrument of creation. The cosmos, in all its glory, was born out of Jesus.
Verse four illustrates the final member of the Trinity. Through Jesus, we receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, the light of life. So we read in Acts 2 that on the day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit came upon the believers, and “4All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.”
6There was a man sent from God whose name was John. 7He came as a witness to testify concerning that light so that through him all might believe. 8He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light.John 1:6-8
John the Baptist was no ordinary man. In Luke 7, Jesus says, “28I tell you, among those born of women, there is no one greater than John; yet the one who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.” Jesus explains that John’s purpose was to tell everyone about himself (Jesus), that he is the Messiah, the Christ promised to us by God through the prophets of old.
As John began to preach and baptise, many thought that he fulfilled this promise (see, for example, Deuteronomy 18:15). But, instead, he assures everyone that he isn’t even worthy to untie the straps of Jesus’ sandals.
In Malachi 4:5-6, we read,
5See, I will send the prophet Elijah [John the Baptist] to you before that great and dreadful day of the Lord comes. 6He will turn the hearts of the parents to their children, and the hearts of the children to their parents; or else I will come and strike the land with total destruction.
In Isaiah 40:3, we see that the voice of one calling “In the wilderness prepare the way for the Lord” is that of John the Baptist.
9The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. 10He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognise him. 11He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him.
12Yet to all who did receive 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.John 1:9-13
Repeating what he’s said in verses 1-5, John tells us that Jesus is the “true light” promised by God for the world. As everything created by God was born through Jesus, everything belongs to him, hence the tragedy of our world’s rejection.
Verses 11-13 illustrate what happens to those who accept and receive the gift of the Holy Spirit; they become “children of God”.
In this verse, John reiterates that Jesus is the Word, the Son of God. John had Baptised Jesus in the Jordan River and had seen (and heard) the glory and grace of Jesus first-hand. He’d taken the Nazirite vow in his youth, setting himself apart for God.
John was the son of Elizabeth, a relative of Jesus’ mother Mary, and they were pregnant together. Luke tells us that Elizabeth felt little John leap for joy inside her womb during Mary’s visit.