Scripture References – John 1:1-18
By beginning at the beginning as he does, John opens a door on the whole creative process. He gets things in perspective. We are not just dealing with certain events in Palestine 2,000 years ago: we are concerned with the purpose of God in history. Understanding is disclosed through the “Word.” That is how God displays His nature and how He is known. All this is proclaimed in the opening words of this amazing Gospel.
Within just the first few verses, we become witness to the Deity, the preincarnate work of Christ, as well as the one who prepared His way, Christ’s forerunner, the rejection, the acceptance, and the incarnation of Christ Jesus. The Apostle John gave us a glimpse of Christ Himself and His nature in just a few verses, the taste of what is to come in the rest of his Gospel.
When it comes to learning, knowing, and understanding we perceive and know through our senses: hearing, sight, smell, touch and taste. For John, the basis of perception is the “Word,” the mind or “essence” of God. The “Word” is the conveyor of life and meaning. Without the “Word” nothing is understood, and if it is not understood then it might as well not exist (verse 3). The “Word” illuminates and enlivens creation. Constantly available, it is there for those who will receive it, much like the radio waves or television signals that continually all around us, however to hear and understand them we need to have a receiver that can translate those signals and we need to have it “switched on” before we can tune in to their message. For those with difficulty in tuning their sets, God has sent an engineer of sorts, a “radio or TV” evangelist, as it were, by the name of John the Baptist, Christ’s forerunner we mentioned above. He shows us how to switch on and even select the proper program. The function of an evangelist is to convey good news, to ensure it is understood and to witness to its authenticity. This is precisely the role of the Apostle John, the writer of this Gospel. Ingeniously, he projects these same characteristics on John the Baptist (verses 6–8).
Once we have received the transmission, we may suffer different forms of interference. Sadly, there is in the airways a jamming system set to block or distort the signal we are receiving. The evangelist helps to identify this interference in verse 5 as “darkness” and again in verse 10 as “the world.” Both these concepts are dealt with throughout the Gospel of John and you will notice them as you read throughout the Gospel. Both interfere with the signal by trying to either distort it, or reject it. At the onset we are warned that the message or revelation does not have an easy passage, but there is the promise of great reward for those who persevere and hang on to the “signal.”
Those with good reception and understanding will be given power to become “children of God” (verse 12). Suddenly, it will become clear and the message will and can be understood. The picture will come into focus, the sound will have clarity. We shall not only hear the “Word,” we shall see, taste, touch and smell it. For the “Word” will become flesh and even “dwell among us” (verse 14). Then we shall know grace and truth in all its fullness. We shall even “see” or “understand” the very nature of God as He has been made known in and “through Jesus Christ” (verse 17), the One “who is in the bosom of the Father” (verse 18). This is the great theme of John’s whole Gospel—perceiving, seeing and understanding. In the complete Gospel he provides us with a series of clues, signposts and pointers, so that we may believe and know Jesus Christ as the revealer of God and in “believing you [we] may have life in His name” (John 20:31).
However, remember that these opening verses to the Gospel of John just lay out the beginning ministry of Christ Jesus and what can be expected from the whole Gospel if you would only read it and take it to heart. I believe because of its theme and content, it is one of the greatest books in the Bible!