John 1:1-28 (NRSV)
John 20:30-31 (New International Version)
Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But 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.
The Word Became Flesh
In the beginning was the Word,
Genesis 1:1 (New International Version)
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2He was in the beginning with God. 3All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being 4in him was life, and the life was the light of all people.
from Experiencing God Day-by-Day,
by Henry T. Blackaby and Richard Blackaby
LIFE AND LIGHT
When Jesus came to a world that was in bondage to darkness and dead in its sin, He came as light and life. His light dispelled sin’s darkness wherever He went, for the forces of evil could not withstand Him. The life He brought was abundant and free, available to all who were dead in their sin.
The fullness of life found in Christ dwells within you as a Christian (Colossians 1:27). The life Jesus offers is available to others through you. Don’t discount what you have to give to those who are hurting. Christ’s life within you is more than sufficient to meet every human need. When people encounter you, they encounter Christ within you. You do not know all the answers, but you have Someone within you who does! Be thankful God chooses to express Himself through you, giving light and life to those around you.
5The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.
6There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7He came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. 8He himself was not the light, but he came to testify to the light. 9The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. 10He was in the world, and the world came into being through him; yet the world did not know him. 11He came to what was his own, and his own people did not accept him. 12But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God, 13who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God.
1 John 3:1 (New International Version)
See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!
14And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and TRUTH.
15(John testified to him and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks ahead of me because he was before me.’”) 16From his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.
17The law indeed was given through Moses; grace and TRUTH came through Jesus Christ. 18No one has ever seen God. It is God the only Son, who is close to the Father’s heart, who has made him known.
HERE — the Oasis Chorale performing “The Word Was God” by Rosephanye Powell. Dr. Powell is an internationally recognized composer and arranger of sacred choral music and African-American spirituals. As the nation’s most published African-American female composer of choral music, her works have been published by major choral music publishers and have been performed by top choirs all around the world. She is also on the faculty at Auburn University.
Dr. Powell has said about this piece: “It is one of those songs that I really believe was inspired by God. In my time of study and meditation one day, I was just saying these words over and over again: “in the beginning was the word and the word was with God and the word was God.” And as I continued to meditate upon that, all of a sudden a melody came and as the melody came I found myself unable to write fast enough to get all of the notes and the words down. So I really feel like that was one that God compelled, as He did with the disciples and Moses who wrote the word, and I followed His leading.”
The Testimony of John the Baptist
19This is the testimony given by John when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, “Who are you?” 20He confessed and did not deny it, but confessed, “I am not the Messiah.” 21And they asked him, “What then? Are you Elijah?” He said, “I am not.” “Are you the prophet?” He answered, “No.” 22Then they said to him, “Who are you? Let us have an answer for those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?” 23He said, “I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord,’” as the prophet Isaiah said.
Isaiah 40:1-5 (New International Version)
Comfort, comfort my people,
says your God.
Speak tenderly to Jerusalem,
and proclaim to her
that her hard service has been completed,
that her sin has been paid for,
that she has received from the LORD’s hand
double for all her sins.
A voice of one calling:
“In the wilderness prepare
the way for the LORD;
make straight in the desert
a highway for our God.
Every valley shall be raised up,
every mountain and hill made low;
the rough ground shall become level,
the rugged places a plain.
And the glory of the LORD will be revealed,
and all people will see it together.
For the mouth of the LORD has spoken.”
24Now they had been sent from the Pharisees. 25They asked him, “Why then are you baptizing if you are neither the Messiah, nor Elijah, nor the prophet?” 26John answered them, “I baptize with water. Among you stands one whom you do not know, 27the one who is coming after me; I am not worthy to untie the thong of his sandal.” 28This took place in Bethany across the Jordan where John was baptizing.
1) Why, do you think, does the Gospel of John not begin with a (human) birth narrative, as Matthew and Luke do?
2) Compare John 1:1-18 to Genesis 1:1 – 2:3. What themes appear in both accounts? Do these similarities help you understand better who Christ is?
The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.