The Word became a human person
1In the beginning, the Word was already there. The Word was with God. The Word was God. 2He was with God from the beginning. 3God made all things through the Word. God did not make anything without him. 4It is the Word who caused everything to live. Because of this, he has brought light to all people. 5The light shines in the dark, and the dark cannot put out the light.
6God sent a man to bring his message. His name was John.#1:6 This was John the Baptist, not the same as the man called John who was writing this book. 7He came to tell people about the light. God wanted everyone to believe in the one who is the light. 8John himself was not that light. God sent him to tell people about the light. 9The true light gives light to every person. That light was now coming into the world. #1:9 The Word (Jesus Christ) is like light. He shows us what is true. The dark means the power of God's enemy, Satan. He tries to hide what is true. God's light shines in the dark. Satan's power cannot put it out. Jesus said that he himself was the light of the world (John 8:12; 9:5).
10The Word was now in the world. God had made the world through him. But the people in the world did not know who he was. 11He came to the place that was his own. But his own people did not accept him. 12But some people did accept him. They did believe in him. He gave authority to those people to become God's children. 13They did not become God's children in the usual human way. They were not born because of what any people wanted. They were not born because of what any man decided. No! They were born from God.
14The Word became a human person. He lived among us. We saw how great and how good he is. He is great and good as only the Father's one true Son can be. He is completely kind. He speaks only what is true.
15John told people about the Word. He shouted, ‘This is the man that I told you about. He comes after me. But he is greater than I am. He was already there before I was born.’ 16The Word is full of everything that we need. We have all received one good thing after another good thing. 17God gave his Law to us through Moses. But God has shown us how kind he is through Jesus Christ. Through Jesus Christ God has brought his true message to us. 18Nobody has ever seen God. But God's only Son has shown God to us. He is very near to the Father, and he himself is God. #1:18 Jesus Christ was a very special person. That is what John is saying at the beginning of his book. And he is telling us that Jesus had important work to do. He was the Word of God. He was the only person who really knew God. He knew what people were really like too. He was God and he was man too. So, because of that, he could show us what God is like. Only Jesus could make us able to be the people that God wanted us to be.
John the Baptist is not the Messiah #1:19 John was called ‘the Baptist’ because he baptised people in water.
19The Jewish leaders sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask John, ‘Who are you?’ This is what he said. 20John did not refuse to answer. He said, ‘I am not the Messiah.’ 21So they asked him, ‘So who are you? Are you Elijah?’ John said, ‘No, I am not.’ They asked, ‘Are you the Prophet?’ John answered, ‘No.’ #1:21 Israel's people believed that God would send God's prophet Elijah and at least one other great prophet to them. They believed that these prophets must come before God would send his Messiah (the Christ).
22Then they said, ‘Tell us who you are. We must say something to the people who sent us. What do you say about yourself?’ 23He said, ‘I am the voice of somebody shouting in the wilderness:
“The Lord will come soon.
Make a straight path for him to follow.”
That is what the prophet Isaiah said a long time ago.’ #1:23 See Isaiah 40:3.
24The men who came to ask these questions were Pharisees. 25They said to John, ‘Why do you baptise people, if you are neither the Christ nor Elijah nor the Prophet?’ 26John replied, ‘I baptise people with water. But there is someone here among you that you do not know. 27He is the one who comes after me. I am not good enough even to undo his shoes for him.’
28All these things happened at a place east from the Jordan river. It was a village called Bethany. John was baptising people there.
29The next day, John saw Jesus, who was coming towards him. John said, ‘Look! Here is the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of people in the world. 30This is the man that I told you about. I told you, “He comes after me, but he is greater than I am. He was already there before I was born.” 31I did not know him. But I had to show Israel's people who he was. That is why I am baptising people with water.’ #1:31 John the Baptist called Jesus ‘God's Lamb’. This would have caused the people to remember the young sheep that they killed for the Passover meal. Israel's people also killed young sheep at other times, so that God would forgive their sins. Jesus Christ was God's Lamb, who came to die on our behalf. He came to save us from sin.
32Then John told them, ‘I saw God's Spirit come down from heaven. He came down like a dove and he stayed on Jesus. 33I would not have known who Jesus was. But God had sent me to baptise people with water. And God told me, “You will see the Spirit come down. He will stay on someone. That is the person who will baptise people with my Holy Spirit.” 34Now I have seen this. So, I can tell you that this is God's Son.’
Jesus' first disciples
35John was standing there again the next day, with two of his disciples. 36He saw Jesus, who was walking past them. John said, ‘Look! Here is the Lamb of God.’ 37When the two disciples heard this, they followed Jesus. 38Then Jesus turned round. He saw that they were following him. He asked them, ‘What do you want?’ They said, ‘Rabbi (which means “Teacher”), where are you staying?’ 39Jesus replied, ‘Come with me, and you will see.’ So, they went with him. They saw where he was staying. It was about 4 in the afternoon. And they stayed with him that day. #1:39 John wrote, ‘It was the 10th hour.’ The Jews counted time from 6 o'clock in the morning. So, ‘the 10th hour’ means 4 o'clock in the afternoon. But the Romans counted time each day from midnight. So John might mean 10 o'clock in the morning.
40Andrew was one of the two disciples who had followed Jesus. They had heard what John had said about Jesus. Andrew was Simon Peter's brother. 41The first thing that Andrew did was to find his brother, Simon. Andrew said to Simon, ‘We have found the Messiah.’ (‘Messiah’ and ‘Christ’ mean the same.) 42Then he brought Simon to Jesus. Jesus looked at Simon and he said, ‘You are Simon, John's son. Your name will be Cephas.’ This name is the same as Peter, which means ‘rock’.
43The next day, Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He met Philip, and Jesus said to Philip, ‘Follow me.’ 44Philip, like Andrew and Peter, came from the town called Bethsaida. 45Philip went to find Nathanael. He told Nathanael, ‘We have found the man that Moses wrote about in the book of God's Law. The prophets also wrote about him. He is Jesus, who is Joseph's son, from Nazareth.’ 46Nathanael said, ‘I did not think that anything good could come from Nazareth!’ Philip replied, ‘Come and see.’
47Jesus saw Nathanael, who was coming towards him. Jesus said, ‘Here is a completely honest man. That is what a person from Israel should really be like.’ 48Nathanael asked, ‘How do you know me?’ Jesus answered, ‘I saw you before Philip asked you to come. I saw you when you were under the fig tree.’ 49Nathanael said, ‘Teacher, you are the Son of God. You are the King of Israel.’ 50Jesus said to him, ‘I told you that I saw you under the fig tree. Now you believe me because I told you that. But you will see much greater things than that.’ 51And Jesus said to him, ‘I am telling you what is true. You will see heaven open. You will see God's angels. They will be going up and they will be coming down on the Son of Man.’ #1:51 Jesus called himself the ‘Son of Man’. He is a Man who came to earth from God. That is what this name shows. He came with God's authority. The prophets spoke about him (for example, Daniel 7:13). He is the Messiah.