A word for the heart

with Alan Bailey

From the Gospel of John

Jesus baptism

John 1:1-18

Welcome to this Bible Study. Read what I have written slowly. If you have a Bible look up the reference verses given, and allow the Holy Spirit to minister to your soul through them.

Introduction

We are commencing a series taking us through the Gospel of John. This Gospel is quite a bit different from the other three (Matthew, Mark and Luke) because it is written not simply to tell us the story of what happened in Jesus' life, but to bring us teaching so that we can understand the message Jesus came to bring. He says in Chapter 20 verse 31 "These things are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.

John was one of the twelve disciples. It is clear that he was close to Jesus as he often refers to himself as "the disciple whom Jesus loved," Of course the Lord loved them all but there seemed to be a close bond with John. Who better to tell us the truth than this man? Unlike the other disciples, he lived to a great age, also leaving with us the Book of Revelation.

Chapter 1

Verses 1, 2 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning.

What is meant by "the Word?" It refers to Jesus Himself. In verse 14 of this chapter it says "The Word became flesh and lived for a while among us." John's readers would have understood the importance of this expression. It makes us think of truth, of God revealing himself. The Bible is referred to at times as "the Written Word." Jesus is the "Living Word? The changeless one.

It's so important to note that this verse says that the Son of God is by nature God. Jesus is not a created being. He was always with the Father. He was always called the Son. See this next statement.

Verses 3 -5 Through Him all things were made; without Him nothing was made that has been made. In Him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.

When John first met Jesus he had no idea that He was a divine person. Now, after years of acquaintance and learning, he can show just how great He is. Nothing could be clearer than that through Jesus, creation comes into being, giving life to all. Whatever light and understanding mankind has, it comes from the Son of God.

Verses 6-9 There came a man who was sent from God; his name was John. He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through Him all men might believe. He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light. The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world.

The man sent from God was not John, the author of this book. He is speaking of John the Baptist whom we will read more about later. John the Baptist was like a prophet, telling an important message to everyone. He was preparing the way for the ministry of the Lord Jesus, telling people to repent of their sins. He then pointed to Jesus, letting people know that Jesus had come to be the Saviour of the world. He was an important link in God's plan.

Verses 10, 11 He was in the world, and though the world was made through Him, the world did not recognise Him. He came to that which was His own, but His own did not receive Him.

In a way, this gives a broad picture of this book. The unbelief and the rejection of Jesus is very plain throughout this Gospel. Jesus was born as a Jew and ministered to Jews but was so often spurned. Yet all things and all people were made by Him.

Verse 12, 13 Yet to all who received Him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God—children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband's will, but born of God.

Believing, and receiving Jesus into one's life means being brought into the family of God. In His great love, God makes forgiven sinners His very own. To be born of God means to have a new start, a new heart, and an entirely new destination. There is a great simplicity about becoming a Christian. People of all ages are invited to come. All who come, become God's children.

Verse 14 The Word became flesh and lived for a while among us. We have seen His glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

Here is a first-hand witness speaking of His Lord. John had seen this wonderful life, had sat under His teaching, had seen His miracles and even witnessed His death and resurrection. Now he cannot say enough to show His glory and majesty. Grace and truth characterised His life.

Verses 15, 16 John 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.' From the fullness of His grace we have all received one blessing after another.

John the Baptist always made sure people saw Jesus as the one to look to. He tried to take the attention away from himself. He understood that Jesus was not just another holy man but that He had come into the world after having been ever with the Father. John the author adds that all believers had experienced great blessings through Him.

Verses 17, 18 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No man has ever seen God, but God the only Son, who is at the Father's side, has made Him known.

Perhaps the central figure of the Old Testament was Moses. Through him, truth came from God to the people. But the message was "Obey God's law." The law was good, but people failed to keep it. So in a sense, the message of the Old Testament was never going to be God's last word. Something and Someone far greater was to be revealed. He contrasted law with grace. The unseen God was to be seen in the person of Jesus. Later in this Gospel we read of Jesus saying "I and my Father are one." And "He that has seen me has seen the Father."

We are looking at amazing things. And they are all important to you and me. Look forward to this truly wonderful Gospel.

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