In the Beginning
The Gospel of John is one of the easiest books to read, yet one of the most profound Gospels to understand. We might get the surface meaning easily enough, but to understand the deep truths, we need the Lord Jesus to be our teacher.
The purpose of the Gospel of John is to explain that Jesus is fully God and fully man—and to help us “believe” that. This key word, “believe,” is used over 100 times. To believe something takes an act of the will. It looks like this: When you hear the facts of the gospel, you recognize that Jesus died for your sins, and you trust Him as your Savior who died to pay the penalty for your sins. That’s believing.
Now, let’s dive into this marvelous book at the beginning.
The first couple verses of the Gospel of John sound like something from Genesis 1:1.
Read John 1:1-3.
The beginning in Genesis goes back to the creation of the physical universe, but even then, the Word was already past tense. Go back a billion more years, put down your stakes, and out of eternity the Lord Jesus will walk out to meet you. Jesus never began. He was already there at the beginning.
From the beginning, Jesus was God. “And the Word was God.” He made all things—He is the Creator. He’s life itself. And His life was the light of men.
Tragically, John tells us next that Jesus came to His own world, yet His own world wouldn’t receive Him (v. 10). . . . But not everyone. There is good news: Some do receive Him by faith, and when you do, you’re given a new birth. Your new life doesn’t come through your own effort or by anything you do to earn it (not even by learning the Bible). Your new life in Jesus comes through God’s hand.
Here’s more wonderful news about Jesus: “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth” (v. 14).
Have you ever noticed that John’s Gospel doesn’t mention Jesus’ birth? It’s because the One he’s talking about is too big for Bethlehem. A little child was born in Bethlehem, but the Son walks out of eternity. That’s the Christmas story in John’s Gospel.
Jesus “dwelt with us.” Literally, He pitched His tent with us—He moved into our neighborhood.
Though it’s true that no one can see God the Father (v. 18), when you see His Son, you understand who God is. But to do that He had to become one of us and bring God to where we are.
Next, we’ll meet the first disciples to follow Jesus.