Daily Bible Studies & Sermon Notes

John 1:1-5
Pastor Steve Schell
Sunday: John 1:1
v1: The Book of Genesis opens with the words, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” and then goes on to describe God speaking creation into existence over the course of six days (Ge 1:3-31). John opens his gospel with the same words, “In the beginning” and then goes on to describe someone whom he calls “the Word” and says this Person was the active agent through whom creation took place. There’s no mistaking his point: he’s introducing us to Jesus. He’s telling us that Jesus is God, not in a way that supplants God the Father, but God in that He is the Father’s divine Son and as such was present with the Father when the creation of the universe took place. John is taking us back to the moment when everything, other than God, began, and he says there were at least two Persons present.

Monday: John 1:1-2
vs1-2: Here’s how John says this: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with (beside, facing toward) God, and God was the Word.” Then, so we won’t miss his point, he says again, “This One (the Word) was in the beginning with (beside, facing toward) God. This means God the Father was not alone before He created all things. A divine Person was there with Him, and I believe he calls that Person “the Word” because it was through that Person that He spoke all things into being and continued to communicate with His creation ever since.
vs1-2 (continued): When John wrote the words “In the beginning” he used the same two Greek words found in Genesis 1:1 in the Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible (Septuagint, which had been in use for nearly three centuries by the time he wrote this). The word which we translate as “beginning” was used to describe the source, the origin, the very first cause of something. There was another Greek word he could have used which means “beginning” in the sense of the first in a series of things. But he didn’t use that word because he was talking about that moment when all things, other than God, began. This means Jesus, the Word, wasn’t part of that creation. He Himself wasn’t created. He is divine, eternal. He existed before creation began.

Tuesday: John 1:3
v3: Again, so no one would mistake his point, John adds this statement: “All things came into being through Him, and without Him not one thing came into being which has come into being.” So Jesus was present at the moment of creation and personally participated in every aspect of it. This is a stunning thing to say about a man, a human being, whom John knew personally and followed as His disciple for three and a half years. But John is not alone in declaring Jesus to be divine as well as human. Paul clearly says the same thing: “…there is but one God, the Father, from whom are all things and we exist for Him, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we [exist] through Him” (1Co 8:6).

Wednesday: John 1:3
v3 (continued): To the church in Colossae Paul wrote: “For by Him (Jesus) all things were created, [both] in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities–all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things and in Him all things hold together” (Col 1:16-17). The author of Hebrews gives us further insight into Jesus as “the Word” when he wrote: “God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world” (Heb 1:1-2). And as his gospel continues, John will repeatedly show us by the things Jesus said and did that He is both divine and human.

Thursday: John 1:4
v4: In this verse John makes another statement that can only mean that Jesus is divine. He says, “In Him was life….” In the Book of Genesis God is pictured as breathing life into the nostrils of a clay image of a man, and when He does the image comes to life (Ge 2:7). In other words, God is the source of life; all life is a gift from Him. So to say that Jesus contains life, that like the Father He too is a source of life, is to picture Him as the divine creator who blew the breath of life into Adam. But the life John is talking about here is more than just biological life. Jesus is also the source of spiritual life (Jn 5:26; 10:10). Toward the end of his gospel, John describes the resurrected Jesus breathing on His disciples and saying, “Receive the Holy Spirit” (Jn 20:22), and to describe that act of breathing, John chose the same Greek word which is used in Genesis 2:7 (Septuagint) (“and [God] breathed into his nostrils”). So Jesus is the one who breathes into us biological and spiritual life.

Friday: John 1:4
v4 (continued): God the Father is the ultimate source of all life, but as Jesus explains later on in this gospel, “For just as the Father has life in Himself, even so He gave to the Son also to have life in Himself” (Jn 5:26). That Jesus had this divine life in Himself could be seen repeatedly throughout His ministry as He healed the sick and raised the dead. Never did He operate independently from the Father (Jn 5:19, 30; 6:38; 8:28; 12:49; 14:10) nor minister apart from the power of the Holy Spirit; but the divine life which flowed out of Him was unmistakable, and it revealed His true identity to all who were willing to see. John repeatedly uses the term “light” to mean God’s revealed truth and “darkness” to mean spiritual confusion and deception. So when he says, the “life” in Jesus became the “light of men,” he’s talking about those people who saw the signs and miracles Jesus performed or heard the amazing words He spoke and realized who He was and believed in Him (Jn 12:37-43).

Saturday: John 1:5
v5: Up until now, John has been speaking about Jesus in a past tense, but in this verse he puts one statement into the present tense because he’s telling us about something that is still happening today. He says, “the light shines in the darkness” meaning the revelation of who Jesus is began when He ministered for three and a half years in Israel but still continues to open people’s spiritual eyes whenever the gospel is proclaimed. Then John returns to a past tense to describe how most of those who saw Jesus during those three and a half years responded. He says, “...and the darkness (spiritual confusion and deception) did not understand (comprehend, recognize the truth in what they saw).” In other words, when Jesus came to earth most people did not recognize Him, and later on John will quote from the prophet Isaiah to explain why (Jn 12:38-41). 

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