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On The Book of John
The Gospel of John Chapter 1
I will do the Gospel of John
Commentary similar to my other Commentaries . . . in that
I will bring the verse or verses in the KJV, followed by what
it is saying to me. What I write will be a personal comment,
it is NOT Scripture.
THEME: Introduction; Incarnation; Word is God, Word became flesh, Word revealed God; witness of John the Baptist; witness of Andrew; witness of Philip; witness of Nathanael.
The Word IS God . . . The Word Became Flesh . . . The Word Revealed God (Jn.1:1-12)
John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. (KJV)
The apostle John introduces the Lord Jesus Christ with three tremendous statements: #1. "In the beginning was the Word," . . . Jesus has always been! Jesus has been alive and well since the beginning of time . . . whenever that was! #2. "And the Word was with God," . . . Jesus was with God the Father from day one . . . whenever that was! #3. "And the Word was God." . . . This is NOT believed by a lot of people! Including many pastors!
I have pastors email me and tell me Jesus is not God. One was from a southern state (Bible belt) and when I offered to send him our booklet "Is Jesus God?" . . . he refused to let me mail it to him. Recently I offered this same booklet to my brother, a Jehovah's Witness. When he saw the title, he answered "I already know the answer to that," and he walked away.
Is Jesus God? . . . http://www.hisservants.org/is_jesus_god_h_s.htm
Our Booklet: Is Jesus God? . . .http://www.judgmentcoming.org/j_c_is_jesus_god.htm
"The Word" is a high and most profound title of the Lord Jesus Christ. To determine the exact meaning is not easy.
The words: Jesus and Christ are found 546 times in the New Testament, but not even once in the Old Testament. The Name for Jehovah was never pronounced because it was such a Holy Word that they never used it at all. But this "ONE" . . . Who is the Word, when gathering together everything that was said of Him in the Old Testament, He is now presented as the One "In the beginning." This beginning in verse 1, goes back to the very first words in the Bible, "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth." That beginning can guessed at, but I do not think that anyone can date it accurately.
God is eternal! So . . . you tell me, just how long ago was that! It probably goes back billions and billions of years. We are dealing with the God of eternity. When you go back to Creation, He is already there . . . Jesus too . . . because He is the Creator! (John 1:3; 1:10; 1 Cor. 8:6; Eph. 3:9; Col. 1:16; Heb. 1:1-2; 1:10; 3:3 Rev.3:14).
The Bible says, "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth" (Gen. 1:1). Does God begin there? NO! NO Way! Just keep on going back . . . billions and trillions of years. I cannot think back to billions of years. Can you? But, let's put down a starting point . . . billions of years back of Creation. JESUS was already there! He comes out of eternity to meet us. He did NOT begin. He had NO beginning! "In the beginning was the Word" . . . Jesus was already there when the beginning was! Can I explain that to you? NO! I cannot, but I believe it!
If you insist that "there has to be a beginning somewhere," OK. Begin wherever you want to. Jesus is there to meet you, He is already past tense. "In the beginning was the Word" . . . five simple words, and there is not a person anywhere on this Earth, who can put a date on it or understand it. This first tremendous verse starts us off, way out in space.
The second statement is this, "and the Word was with God." This makes it abundantly clear that Jesus is separate and different from God the Father. Jesus is not God the Father because He is WITH God the Father.
Then someone will say, "if He is with God, then He is not God." My friend, the third statement sets us straight, "and the Word was God." This is a VERY clear, definite declaration that the Lord Jesus Christ IS God. There are many today that are trying to get rid of the deity of Christ. My friend, that is impossible, whether you like it or not! You cannot get rid of the deity of Christ! The first three statements in John's Gospel prove this!
John 1:2 The same was in the beginning with God. (KJV)
"Was in the beginning with God" . . . this really is a repetition of what was said in the first verse. But, very often in God's Word, IMPORTANT things are repeated over and over again to guard the TRUE Doctrine, and to prevent any possibility of a mistake! John had said that Jesus, the Word had existed before the Creation, and that He was "with God"; but he had NOT said in the first verse that the union with God existed in the beginning. He now expresses that idea, and assures us that that union was not one which started somewhere in time, but was one which existed in eternity past, and would continue on into future eternity. GOD IS ETERNAL! And JESUS IS GOD! And JESUS IS ETERNAL!
John 1:3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. (KJV)
"All things" . . . the total Universe and everything in it. This expresses everything that exists! (Rev.4:11; Heb.1:2,10; Col.1:16). "Were made" . . . it does not alter the sense whether it is said "were by him," or "were created by him." This means creating or forming something from nothing (James 3:9; Gen. 2:4; Isa.48:7).
"By Him" . . . John affirms that Creation was achieved by the Word, or the Son of God. In Genesis 1:1, it says God created the heavens and the earth. Jesus IS God! In Psalms 102:25-28, this work is ascribed to God. The Word, the Son of God, is therefore rightly called God. The work of Creation is again and again ascribed in the Scriptures to the second Person of the Trinity. Jesus, the Son of God, the Word was the agent, by which the universe was made. There is NO higher proof of omnipotence than the work of Creation. Because of this, God often appeals to that Work to prove that He is the TRUE God, as opposed to idols (Isa. 40:18-28; Jer. 10:3-16; Ps. 24:2; 39:11; Pro. 3:19).
It is absurd to say that ANY except God is omnipotent or omniscient or omnipresent and infinitely wise and good. The Being that created all things must be divine; and as this Work is ascribed to Jesus Christ, and as it is many times in the Scriptures declared to be the work of God, Jesus Christ is therefore equal with the Father.
"Without him" . . . NOTHING was made without Jesus. John shuts out all doubt, and affirms that there were NO exceptions. There was NOT one single thing, no matter how small or unimportant, which was not made by Him. John is confirming what he said in the first verse. Jesus Christ was NOT merely called God, He did the Works of God, and therefore the Word implies supreme divinity. This same Jesus attests to this fact (John 5:17; 10:37). ALL things were made by Jesus (Ps.33:6; Eph.3:9).
John 1:4 In him was life; and the life was the light of men. (KJV)
"In him was life" . . . John affirms John 1:3, that by the Word, the world was originally created. One part of that Creation consisted in breathing into man the breath of life (Gen.2:7). God is declared to be LIFE, or the living God, because He is the source of life. This attribute is here credited to Jesus Christ. Jesus not only made the worlds, but He also gave life. He was the agent by which the vegetable world came alive; by which all beasts live; and by which man became a living soul, and was endowed with immortality. This is another proof that the "Word was God." JESUS IS GOD!
But there is another way in which Jesus is life, that being the renovation of man and his restoration from a state of sin, and is often compared with the new creature (2 Cor.5:17; Gal.6:17). The Word was the source of life then, so, in a similar but higher sense, Jesus is the source of life to the eternal soul, dead in trespasses and sins (Eph.2:1). This is probably why Jesus is so often called "Life" in the writings of John. "For as the Father hath life in himself, so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself," John 5:26; "He giveth life unto the world," John 6:33; "I am the resurrection and the life," John 11:25; "the way, the truth, and the life," John 14:6. "This is the true God and eternal life," 1 John 5:20. Also called "Life" in: 1 John 1:1-2; 5:11; Acts 3:15; Col.3:4.
What John is telling us is: Jesus is the Source or the Fountain of both natural and spiritual life. There is NO doubt that Jesus has the attributes of God . . . because Jesus IS God!
John 1:5 And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not. (KJV)
"The light shineth in darkness" . . . spiritual darkness, in the Bible, means darkness, ignorance, evil and unbelief. (Job 5:14; 12:25; 24:13; Ps.74:20; 82:5; 107:10; Pro. 4:19; 24:20; 29:18; Ecc. 2:14; 5:17; Isa. 8:20; 9:2; 42:7; Mat.4:16; 6:23; Luke 1:79; John 1:5; 3:19; 8:12; 11:10; 12:35; 12:46; Rom.1:21; 11:10; Eph.5:8,11; 6:12; Col. 1:13; 1 Thes.5:4; 1 Pet. 2:9; 2 Pet.1:19; 1 John 1:6; 2:9; 2:11; Rev. 13:12). Darkness refers to the devil and his works whereas Light refers to God and His works!
Darkness refers here to a wicked and ignorant people. It means that the Lord Jesus came to reach an ignorant and wicked world under the influence of Satan. This has always been so (Gen.6:5). It was like that when He sent His prophets, and during His own ministry, and in every generation since. Jesus loving attempts to enlighten and save people have been like a weak flashlight beam trying to penetrate a thick, dense cloud! There may be a few rays that now and then pierce the gloom, but the greatest part of that mass is still impenetrable.
"Comprehended it not" . . . this means that people would NOT allow it to penetrate their hearts, they will NOT receive it! Comprehend to us means to understand. This meaning of the original means the darkness did not receive or admit the rays of light. People are so ignorant, so sinful, so debased, that they do NOT appreciate the value of Jesus' instructions. They despised and rejected Him . . . then, and now!
The vast majority, then and now, are sunk so deep in sin, they will NOT receive His teachings, will NOT be enlightened by Him, and NOT be saved by Him. Sin always blinds the mind to the wondrous beauty and excellency of the Lord Jesus. To receive His instructions, darkness must depart to make room for the light! Both cannot exist in the same place!
John 3:19 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. (KJV)
1 Cor. 2:14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. (KJV) . . . We must be "born again" (John 3:3-8) to understand spiritual things!
John 1:6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. (KJV)
"A man sent from God" . . . (Mat. Chapter 3). John now proceeds to show that John the Baptist was NOT the Messiah, and to tell us why he came. Many thought that he was the Christ. He admits that he was sent from God, and that he was divinely commissioned for a specific job. John the Baptist denied that he was the Messiah, but he did NOT deny that he was sent from God on an important mission.
The main reason that the apostle John wrote his Gospel was to show that Jesus was the Christ (John 20:31). To do this properly, is to prove that John the Baptist was not the Messiah.
John the Baptist made many very loyal disciples (Mat.3:5). Many thought that he might be the Messiah (Luke 3:15; John 1:19). It was important for the evangelist to show that John the Baptist was not the Christ, and also to show, that he, who extensively admitted to be a prophet, was an important witness to prove that Jesus of Nazareth was the Christ. The evangelist in the first four verses stated that "the Word" was divine; he now proceeds to state the proof that Jesus was also a Man, and was the Messiah. The first evidence will be the testimony of John the Baptist.
John 1:7 The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe. 8 He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. (KJV)
"For a witness" . . . to give testimony. John the Baptist came to prepare the minds of the people to receive Christ Jesus (Mat.3; Luke 3); to lead them by repentance to God; and to point out the Messiah to Israel when he came (John 1:31).
"Of the Light" . . . Isaiah 60:1 Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the LORD is risen upon thee. (KJV)
That all men through Him might believe. John the Baptist came to tell the people that the Messiah was about to come! He came to direct the minds of men to Him, thus fitting them to believe on Him when He came. Acts 19:4 Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus. (KJV)
John produced an expectation that the Messiah was about to come. The testimony of John was very valuable on the following accounts:
#1. It was made before he had even seen Jesus of Nazareth, so there could have been no conspiracy to deceive them (John 1:31). #2. It was long enough before Jesus came to excite people's attention, and to fix their mind on it. #3. It was agreed by all that John was a prophet of God "for all men held John to be a prophet," (Mat.21:26) #4. The main purpose was to declare beforehand that the Messiah was about to appear. #5. John himself was very popular. Many wanted to receive him as the Messiah. It was evidently in John's power to form a large following, and that Jesus should be regarded as the Christ. This was the highest honor a Jew could have! This reveals the value of John's testimony . . . and that he was VERY willing to lay all his honors at the Feet of Jesus . . . and to acknowledge that John was NOT worthy to perform for Him the office of the humblest servant (Mat.3:11).
"Through him" . . . means by John's testimony. "Was not that Light" . . . means John was NOT the Messiah. This is a precise declaration aimed at the disciples of John. The evidence that he was not the Messiah he states in the following verses.
From the conduct of John here we may learn: #1. The duty of laying all our honors at the Feet of Jesus. #2. John came that all might believe on Jesus, so it is no less true of the ministry of Jesus Himself. He came for the same reason, that we ALL may trust in Jesus for salvation. #3. We should not rely too much in pastors of the Gospel. Not a one of them can save us any more than John could. Their job, as was his, is simply to direct people to the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world.
John 1:9 That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. (KJV)
"That was the true Light" . . . NOT John, but the Messiah. Jesus was/is NOT a false, uncertain, dangerous guide . . . like SO many of today's ungodly pastors in the pulpits and on TV reaching millions. Jesus was/is Man, true, real, steady and worthy of our confidence. False lights lead to great danger or error. They are a false beacon, like foxfire, on the shores of the ocean that could lead ships to quicksand, rocks or death. A TRUE light is one that does NOT deceive us, and is a TRUE beacon guiding us into a safe port or warning us of danger. Christ NEVER leads astray, but ALL false teachers lead people astray!
"Which lighteth" . . . only Jesus enlightens. Only He removes darkness, error, ignorance, from the mind.
"Every man" . . . this means in general, the whole human race . . . Jews AND Gentiles. John the Baptist preached to the Jews. Jesus came to be a Light to lighten the Gentiles, as well as to be the glory of the people of Israel (Luke 2:32).
"That cometh into the world" . . . this TRUE Light that cometh into the world enlightens every man that cometh into the world . . . IF they will allow Him to do so.
The main reasons for this are: #1. The Messiah is often spoken of as He that cometh into the world (John 6:14, 18:37). #2. Christ is often distinguished as "the light that cometh into the world." (John 3:19). "This is the condemnation, that light is come into the world." (John 12:46). Jesus clearly states: "I am come a light into the world." This means that by His own personal ministry, and by His Spirit and apostles, LIGHT or right teaching is available to all . . . BUT . . . it does NOT mean that every person in the world is enlightened with the knowledge of the Gospel, for this never yet has been so.
What it does means is: #1. This LIGHT is NOT just for Jews, but is extended to all people, Jews and Gentiles. #2. This LIGHT is provided for one and all and offered to one and all. #3. Not all were actually enlightened when the apostle wrote this Gospel, but that this LIGHT not only reached out to that generation, but all in the future. Christ Jesus IS that LIGHT so long expected and predicted, which, as the result of His Coming into the world, CAN enlighten all nations. The TRUE LIGHT is Christ Jesus, the Son of God, the Messiah (Isaiah 49:6).
John 1:10 He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. (KJV)
"He was in the world" . . . this does NOT refer to His pre-existence, but when He became incarnate; when He dwelt among men.
"And the world was made by him" . . . this is a repetition of what is said in John 1:3. Not only people, but everything was made by Him. This fact is mentioned here to make what is said immediately after more striking,
The proofs which are furnished makes it that they should receive Him were: #1. The miracles done by Him while He was in the world, and His instructions and teachings; #2. The fact that the world was made by Him. SO sad that the world did not know or approve its own Maker.
"The world knew him not" . . . (Ps.1:6, Mat.7:23). The world did NOT love or approve of Him, but rejected Him and put Him to death. Something else to consider is that they did not understand or know that He was the Messiah; for had the Jews known and believed that He was the Messiah, they would NOT have put Him to death. 1 Cor.2:8 Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. (KJV) . . . "and the world knew him not" . . . John 1:3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. (KJV)
John 1:11 He came unto his own, and his own received him not. (KJV)
"He came unto his own" . . . His own land or country, His own people. It was called His land because it was the place of His birth, and also because it was the chosen land where God delighted to dwell and to manifest His favor (Isa.5:1-7). That land was regarded as especially His, and the laws of God were known (Ps.147:19-20).
"His own" . . . His own people. This could be said this way: "He came to His own land and His own people received Him not." They were His people (Jews), because God had chosen them to be His above all other nations; and had given to them His laws; and had protected and favored them (Deut.7:6, 14:2).
"Received him not" . . . they did NOT acknowledge Him to be the Messiah. They rejected Him and put Him to death, according to the prophecy. Isaiah 53:3-4 He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. 4 Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. (KJV)
From this we learn: #1. It is reasonable to expect that the Jews who have been especially favored should welcome the message of God. God had a right to expect that they would receive the message of eternal life, after all that He had done for the Jews. God has every right to expect that we (Jews and Gentiles) should embrace Him and be saved. #2. It is not the abundance of mercies that lead men to seek God. The Jews had been singled out and favored, BUT they rejected Him. SO TOO, many in Christian lands live and die denying and rejecting the Lord Jesus. #3. People are alike in every age. ALL would reject the Saviour if left up to them. ALL men are wicked by nature. There is no more certain and universal proof of this than the universal denial and rejection of the Lord Jesus.
John 1:12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: (KJV)
"But as many as received him" . . . MOST of the people . . . including the scribes and Pharisees rejected Jesus. Only a "few" (Mat.7:13-14) in His lifetime received Him, but many more after His death. To receive Him, here, means to believe on Him. "As many as received him" (Isa.56:5; Rom.8:15; 1 John 3:1)
"Gave he power" . . . means privilege, honor, dignity or right. A child of God enjoys the greatest privileges and blessings Almighty God can grant to us this side of eternity. Those who accept Jesus Christ, as He is offered to them in the Gospel, have through His precious Blood, a RIGHT to this sonship! By His Sacrifice on the cross, this blessing was purchased for us; and the fullest Promises of God confirm it to ALL who believe. Those who are adopted into God's family have the highest honor and dignity that is possible for a human soul! How wonderful this is! The sinner, who WAS an heir to ALL God's curses, has, through the Sacrifice of Jesus, a claim on the mercy of the Most High, and a RIGHT to eternal salvation! Justice on the ground of its holy and eternal nature, gives salvation to the vilest sinner who takes refuge in the atonement of Jesus; for justice can grant nothing, or give Heaven, which the precious Blood of the Son of God has not merited. 1 Peter 1:18-19 Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; 19 But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: (KJV) Romans 5:1-2 Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: 2 By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. (KJV) . . . ONLY JESUS can give us the power, the right, and the hope of eternal life (Tit.1:2).
"Sons of God" . . . we are children of God by adoption. Christians are called sons of God because: #1. They are adopted by God (1 John 3:1). #2. They are like Him; they resemble Him and have His Spirit. #3. They are united to the Lord Jesus, the Son of God and are considered by Him as His brethren (Mat.25:40), and therefore regarded as the children of the Most High.
"Believe on His Name" . . . this means believing and trusting in Him. The Name of Jesus means MUCH!!! (Mat.12:21; Mk.6:14; John 2:23; 20:31; Acts 3:16; 10:43; 15:14; Ro.1:5; 1 John 5:13).
From this verse we learn: #1. That to be a child of God is a privilege, far more than to be the child of any man, no matter how rich, learned or honored. Christians are therefore more honored than any other men in God's eyes! #2. Only God can give us this privilege. It is NEVER by our own works or that we deserve it, it is because God chose to impart this blessing to us, because of Jesus (Eph. 2:8; John 15:16; Rom.6:23). #3. This favor is given only to those who believe on Him. All others are the children of the devil (1 John 3:10), and NO one who does not have confidence in God can be considered as His child.
John 1:13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. (KJV)
"Which were born" . . . this refers to the new birth, or to the great inner change in the sinner's heart and mind called regeneration, conversion or "born again" (John 3:3-8; 1 John 2:29). This means that they did NOT become the children of God because of their natural (physical) birth, or because they were the children of Jews, or because they were descended from Godly parents. It means an INNER change within us, that comes from BELIEF in Jesus, that makes us a new creature (2 Cor.5:17; Gal.6:15). Only Almighty God can clearly and beautifully make this great change in a person. This new birth is the beginning of spiritual life.
Before being "born again" into God's family, the sinner is dead in sins, he cares not if he sins (Eph.2:1); but afterwards, sin bothers him, he regrets sinful thoughts, words or deeds. He then begins truly to live . . . as God intends! And as the natural birth is the beginning of life, to be born of God is to be introduced to real life, to light, to happiness, to joy and to the favor and grace of God.
"Not of blood" . . . the Jews prided themselves on being the descendants of Abraham (Mat.3:9) and they thought that it was proof of the favor of God to be descended from such an illustrious ancestry. In this Passage, that idea is corrected. It is NOT because men are descended from illustrious or pious parentage that they are entitled to the favor of God! It is because of JESUS!
The law of Christ's Kingdom is different from what the Jews thought. 1 Peter 1:23 Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever. (KJV) . . . It was necessary to be born of God by regeneration. It also means that they did NOT become children of God by the bloody rite of circumcision, as many of the Jews supposed.
This agrees with the declaration of Paul. Romans 2:28-29 For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: 29 But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God. (KJV)
"Nor of the will of the flesh" . . . not by physical birth or natural generation.
"Nor of the will of man" . . . this may refer to the will of man in adopting a child, as the former phrases do to the natural birth. Or it could refer to physical birth by man's planning such. We become the children of God neither in virtue of our descent, nor by our natural, physical birth, nor by being adopted by a pious man. NONE of these ways entitle us to the privileges of children of God. NONE of these ways give us a title to be called the sons of God. It is NOT by ANY human power or agency that men become children of the Most High. ONLY Jesus has the "power" the authority, to make us "sons of God" or children of God (Rom.8:16-17,21; 9:26; Gal.3:26-29; 1 John 3:10; 5:2).
"But of God" . . . God makes the change, NOT us, NO way, NO how, and only He grants us the privilege of being called His children. He changes us from the inside out! Our heart is changed by His power. NO effort of man, NO works of ours, can produce this change. BUT . . . it is true that
NO person is renewed who does not desire it. God will NEVER force Himself on anyone! And my friend . . . NOT every 'religion' has the way to Heaven, as so many falsely believe!
See our article, "Religion or Christ" . . . http://www.hisservants.org/religion_or_christ_h_s.htm
We have a free will, and we must be willing (Psalms 110:3). NO one is changed who does not strive to enter in at the strait gate (Mat.7:13-14; Luke 13:24; Phil.2:12).
This important verse teaches us: #1. To be saved (have eternal life), we must be born again. #2. Our salvation is NOT the result of our physical birth, or of any honorable or pious parentage. #3. That the children of the rich, noble and famous, as well as of the poor, MUST be born of God if they want to be saved. #4. That the children of pious parents must be born again, or they cannot be saved. NO one will go to Heaven simply because their parents are Christians. #5. This work is the work of God. NO man can do it for us. #6. We should forsake ALL human dependence, cast off ALL confidence in the flesh, and go RIGHT NOW to the throne of grace, and humbly ask (BEG) God to adopt us into His family and save our souls from eternal death (Rev.20:14-15).
James 1:18 Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures. (KJV) . . . IF you are a child of God, tell people about Jesus! It is your duty! Do NOT be ashamed of Jesus, or you will regret it one day. Luke 9:26 For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he shall come in his own glory, and in his Father's, and of the holy angels. (KJV)
John 1:14 And the Word was made 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. (KJV)
"Was made" . . . Jesus the Word, became Man. He humbled Himself to man's present frail, human condition, meant by the word "flesh" (Isa 40:6; 1 Pet.1:24). When Jesus became "flesh," He then could personally be conscious of all that is strictly human . . . while all the while, He was still God. He took on our nature in His Person, because then and only then could He redeem, quicken, enable and change us with His Work on the cross. As God, He could NOT die, for God is eternal. So He had to become Man, to die for us.
"And dwelt among us" . . . Jesus left the honor and glory and safety of Heaven, for US! He lived for a time here on Earth, where we live. He understands exactly how we feel because He went through everything that we go through.
"And we beheld his glory" . . . not by the eye which saw Him only as "the carpenter." His glory was "spiritually discerned" (1 Cor. 2:7-15; 2 Cor. 3:18; 4:4, 6). Jesus' glory is that of amazing grace, love, tenderness, wisdom, purity, majesty and meekness, richness and poverty, power and weakness, ALL meeting together in unique contrast and always attracting the "babes" that followed and forsook all for Him.
"The glory as of the only begotten of the Father" . . . ( Lk.1:35); such as was befitting the only begotten of the Father.
"Full of grace and truth" . . . The Man, Jesus, dwelt among us full of grace and truth . . . full of mercy and truth, meaning the entirety of God's purposes of love towards sinners of mankind. Although this now exists only in Promise, the fulfilment of that Promise in Christ; in great words, "the SURE MERCIES of David" (2 Sam.23:5; Isa.55:3 Acts 13:34). In His Person, ALL the Grace and Truth which had been so long in just shadowy forms, darting into the souls of the poor and needy its weak beams, took everlasting possession of human flesh and filled it FULL! By this Incarnation of Grace and Truth, the teaching of thousands of years, rose immediately and the family of God sprang into reality through Jesus.
"Full of grace and truth" . . . . He was kind, merciful, gracious, doing good to all, always seeking man's welfare by His great sacrifices and love; so much so, that it might be said to be characteristic of Him, or that He abounded in wondrous favors to mankind. He was also full of truth. He declared the truth. In Him was/is NO falsehood. He was NOT like the false prophets and false Messiahs, who were total impostors. He represented things as they are, and thus became the Truth as well as the Way and the Life (Jn.14:6).
"And the Word was made flesh" . . . flesh here means human nature or man. (Mat.16:17; 19:5; 24:22; Luke 3:6; Rom.1:3; 9:5). The "Word" was made Man. This means Jesus became incarnate, He became a MAN. The "Word," or the second Person of the Trinity, whom John had just proven to be equal with God, became a Man, or was united with the Man Jesus of Nazareth, so that it might be said that He was made flesh. I truly believe that Jesus always had the Body of a man. I believe it was He, in His pre-incarnate form, in the many Old Testament appearances (Gen.3:9,21; 4:6,9; 6:3; 7:1; Gen. Chapter 18). Plus many more!
"Was made" . . . this is the same word that is used in John 1:3: "All things were made by him." It is not simply affirmed that He was flesh, but that He was MADE flesh, implying that He had pre-existence, which agrees with John 1:1. This is in accordance with the doctrine of the Scriptures elsewhere. Hebrews 10:5 Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me: (KJV) Hebrews 2:14 Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; (KJV) 1 John 4:2 Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: (KJV) 1 Timothy 3:16 And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory. (KJV) 2 Cor. 8:9 For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich. (KJV) Luke 1:35 And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. (KJV) . . . This means that He became a Man, but does NOT mean that His divine nature was changed into a human one. Jesus has always been GOD, and always will be God!
"And dwelt among us" . . . tabernacled or pitched His tent; a word typical to John, who uses it four times, all in the sense of a permanent stay (Rev.7:15; 12:12; 13:6; 321:3). Christ Jesus is forever wedded to our "flesh." He has entered this tabernacle to "go no more out." The allusion is to that tabernacle where dwelt the Shekinah (Mat.23:38-39), or the "Glory of the Lord," and refers to God's permanent dwelling among His people (Lev.26:11; Ps.68:18; 132:13-14; Eze.37:27).
"And we beheld his glory" . . . this is more proof of what John was affirming . . . that the "Word of God" became Man. The first was, that they had seen Him as a Man. John now adds that they had seen Him in His proper glory as God and Man united in one Person, representing Him as the unequalled Son of the Father. There is NO doubt that there is reference here to the transfiguration on the holy mount (Mat.17:1-8). To this same evidence Peter proclaims (2 Pet.1:16-18). John was one of the witnesses of that scene, and hence he says, "WE beheld his glory" (Mk.9:2-3). This means majesty, dignity, splendor.
"The glory as of the only begotten of the Father" . . . the dignity which was appropriate to the only-begotten Son of God; such glory or splendor could belong to NO other, and properly expressed His rank and character. This glory was seen eminently on the mount of transfiguration, but was also seen in His baptism, His miracles, His doctrine, His resurrection, His ascension; all of which were such as to illustrate His perfections, and manifest the glory that belongs ONLY to the Son of God. John SAW all of this!
"Only begotten" . . . . this term is never applied by John to ANY except Jesus Christ. It is applied by him five times to the Saviour (Jn.1:14,18, 3:16,18, 1 Jn.4:9). It means literally an only child, and as an only child is particularly dear to a parent, it means one that is especially beloved (Gen.22:2,12,16; Jer.6:26; Zec.12:10).
On both these accounts it is bestowed on the Saviour. #1. As he was eminently the Son of God, sustaining a special relation to Him in His divine nature, exalted above all men and angels, and thus worthy to be called, by way of eminence, His only Son. Saints are called His sons or children, because they are born of His Spirit, and/or are like Him; but the Lord Jesus is exalted far above all, and deserves eminently to be called His only begotten Son. #2. He was especially dear to God, and therefore implying tender affection, is bestowed on Him.
Think about this! Here comes God out of eternity, Who already IS the Ancient of Days (Dan.7:9,13;22). John's Gospel does not even mention His birth in Bethlehem. What is the reason for that? John is speaking of One much too big for tiny Bethlehem. John speaks of the MAN, Jesus! NOT that tiny Baby in the manger! Many 'religions' dwell on that Babe in the manger, or that Babe in His mother's arms. It is the grown Jesus that died on the cross for us . . . NOT the tiny Baby in His mother's arms!
Witness Of John The Baptist (John 1:15-36)
John 1:15 John bare witness of him, and cried, saying, This was he of whom I spake, He that cometh after me is preferred before me: for he was before me. (KJV)
"John bare witness of him" . . . the evangelist now returns to the testimony of John the Baptist. He had stated that the Word became incarnate, and he now appeals to the testimony of John to show that, thus incarnate, He was the Messiah.
"He that cometh after me" . . . He (Christ Jesus) of whom John the Baptist was the forerunner, or whose way he had come to prepare (Mat.3:3).
"Is preferred before me" . . . Jesus is FAR superior to John the Baptist . . . because He is GOD! Some critics suppose that the words translated "is preferred" relates to time, and not to dignity . . . meaning that although Christ came after John publicly, being six months younger than John, as well as entering on his work after John, yet He existed long before him. Others understand it as meaning, He (Jesus) was worthy of more honor than John the Baptist was. Personally, I think this is correct. Christ should always to be preferred, above all others and ourselves. We should keep ourselves out of the picture. Our main goal should be to ALWAYS hold up the Saviour!
"He was before me" . . . this has to refer to Jesus' preexistence. Jesus existed before John, or, as the evangelist had before shown, from the beginning (always, eternally! Jesus came after John in His public ministry and in His human nature, but His divine nature had existed long before John (eternally)!
John 1:16 And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace. (KJV)
"Of his fullness" . . . in John 1:14 the evangelist said that Christ was full of grace and truth. Of that fulness, he now says that all the disciples had received, or they had derived from His abundant truth and mercy, grace to understand the plan of salvation, to preach the Gospel, and to live a holy life. They partook of the numerous blessings which Jesus imparted by His life, His instructions and His death. These are not the words of John the Baptist, but of the evangelist John, the writer of this Gospel. This declaration was not an exclusive reference to the apostles, but is extended to ALL Christians, for ALL believers have received of the fulness of grace and truth that is in Christ (Eph.1:23; 3:19; Col.1:19; 2:9). "Fulness" (Jn.3:34).
Our precious Saviour is represented as the fulness of God . . . as abounding in mercy, and as exhibiting the divine attributes, and as possessing in Himself ALL that is necessary to fill His people with truth, and grace and love.
"Grace for grace" . . . many interpretations of this have been suggested. The main ones are briefly the following: #1. We receive, with the Gospel, grace or favor, which could NOT be granted under the law. #2. We receive grace like that which is in Christ Jesus. We are like Him in love, meekness and humility. #3. We receive grace freely. We do NOT have to purchase it, and we certainly do NOT deserve it. God simply confers it on us freely when we believe Him and accept His Way of salvation, Jesus, His only begotten Son (Jn.1:12-13; 3:15-18; 1 Jn.5:10-12). #4. We receive through Him abundance of grace or favor.
Grace for grace could mean much grace; tremendous favors bestowed on man; favors superior to all that had been under the law, superior to all other things that God can confer on mankind. These favors (blessings) consist of pardon, redemption, protection, sanctification, spiritual peace in this world and in Heaven eternally. Thank You Jesus!
John 1:17 For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. (KJV)
"The law was given by Moses" . . . the Old Testament institutions under which the Jews lived.
"By Moses" . . . as the servant of God, Moses was the great legislator of the Jews. The law worketh wrath (Rom.4:15); because it was attended with many burdensome rites and ceremonies (Acts 15:10). It was just to prepare them for things to come under the Messiah. The Gospel succeeded that and took its place, and thus revealed the greatness of the Gospel economy, as well as its grace and truth.
"But grace and truth came by Jesus Christ" . . . the Gospel is a system packed FULL of amazing favors, and the true system, and was revealed by Jesus Christ. The old system was one of law, and shadows, and burdensome rites; this was full of mercy to mankind, and was true in all things. Grace and truth: (Ps.85:10; Rom.5:21).
What we can learn from these verses is: #1. That ALL our mercies come from Jesus Christ. #2. That all TRUE believers receive from Christ's fulness, only the best from God, and that the greatest saints CANNOT live without Him, and that the weakest ones can live by Him. This excludes the proud boasting of any and all, and tells us that we have NOTHING except what we receive from our precious Saviour and Lord! Thank You Jesus!
John 1:18 No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him. (KJV)
"No man hath seen God at any time" . . . this statement is probably made to show the superiority of the revelation of Jesus in any previous dispensation. Jesus had a very complete and intimate knowledge of God, which neither Moses nor any of the ancient prophets possessed. God is invisible; no human eyes have seen Him; but Christ had a knowledge of God which might be expressed to our apprehension by saying that He saw Him intimately and completely, and was therefore well able to make a perfect manifestation of Him (Ex.33:20; Jn.5:37; 6:46; 14:9; 1 Jn.4:12). This Passage is NOT meant to deny that men had witnessed manifestations of God, as when He appeared to Moses and the prophets (Num.12:8; Isa.6:1-13); but it is meant that NO one except Jesus has seen the essence of God, or has fully known God.
The prophets delivered what they heard God speak. As for Jesus . . . what He knew of God was that He was His equal, and understood fully His nature. "No man hath seen God at any time." WHY? John will explain it in this Gospel; the Lord Jesus will tell the woman at the well, "God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth" (John 4:24) . . . for God is SPIRIT! So, NO man has seen God at any time.
What about the appearances in the Old Testament? God the Father NEVER revealed Himself in the Old Testament to the eyes of man. What, or WHO then, did they see? Jacob said that he SAW God, but what he saw was the angel of the Lord who wrestled with him. I believe that “the angel of the Lord” many times in the Old Testament was the pre-incarnate Christ. But Jacob did NOT see God the Father, because God is a Spirit. "No man hath seen God at any time."
"The only-begotten Son" . . . (Jn.1:14). This verse shows John's sense of the meaning of that phrase, as meaning an intimate and full knowledge of God.
"In the bosom of the Father" . . . this expression is taken from the custom among the Orientals of reclining at their meals. It means intimacy, friendship and affection. But, here it means that Jesus had a knowledge of God, such as one friend has of another . . . knowledge of His character, His plans and His nature which NO other person possesses, and which makes Him alone, qualified to make God known to us. Which is "in the bosom of the Father" tells us much. He did not come from the head of God to reveal the wisdom of God; He did not come from the foot of God to be a servant of man. He said, "For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me" (John 6:38). Jesus was God's Servant . . . He came to serve Him, and when He served the Father, He served mankind.
"Hath declared him" . . . has fully revealed Him or made Him known (Heb.1:1-4). This verse proves that Jesus had a knowledge of God, FAR above that which any of the ancient prophets had, and that the fullest revelations of God's character are to be found in the Gospel. By His Word and Spirit He can enlighten and guide us, and lead us to the TRUE knowledge of God . . . for there is NO true and full knowledge of God which is not obtained through His Son (Jn.14:6; 1 Jn.2:22-23).
Describing God: . . . . . . . . . . http://www.hisservants.org/describing_god_h_s.htm
Consider this Man . . . the angels bowed before Him, He was with God, He was equal with God. The apostle Paul wrote: He ". . . thought it not robbery to be equal with God" (Phil. 2:6). Jesus did NOT go to school to become God . . . He WAS God from the beginning of time! He did NOT have to work to attain it, it was NOT a degree that He earned! He did NOT try to be God; He WAS God.
NO one can ever take His place. He always was God, and always will be! He was born in Bethlehem, a few shepherds saw Him in that manger. He then goes to Nazareth, and was not heard from for 30 years, hidden away in Nazareth. GOD . . . coming out of eternity and going to Nazareth, working in a carpenter shop. WHY? So you and I can know God. The only way we will ever know God the Father, my friend, is to know this One, Jesus . . . "the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father" is the ONLY One who can reveal God to us.
Jesus IS God: . . . . . . . . . . http://www.hisservants.org/is_jesus_god_h_s.htm
When Jesus was on Earth as Man, He was STILL God, full of grace and truth. He, Jesus, declared Him, God the Father to mankind . . . Jesus is the ONLY One who can bring God out in the open where we can get to know the TRUE Him.
"In the beginning was the Word" . . . He came down to this Earth and was born as a man. He has come down from the heights to set God before us. The greatest phenomenon in this entire world is Jesus Christ. The wonders of the ancient world, the wonders to see in our day are NOTHING in comparison to the wonder of the Incarnation . . . God became Man! WOW!!!
John 1:19 And this is the record of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, Who art thou? (KJV)
“And this is the record of John” . . . this is the first incident in the life of John the Baptist which the apostle John gives us in his Gospel record. He does not give us the story of the beginning of this man. That we can find in the Gospel of Luke. Here, the record of John the Baptist begins when a delegation from Jerusalem comes to question him. They come out to ask him, "Who art thou?"
In this question there is a sly temptation because John had an opportunity to make something of himself. But, he was a TRUE servant of God. In John 3:30 we find his response when his disciples wanted him to make something of himself. He said, "He must increase, but I must decrease." What a statement that is! That is a statement that every believer should make. But every believer should live it too. "He must increase, but I must decrease." Both CANNOT be on top. Either Christ is first in your life and occupies first place, or you (selfish "I") will be on top. It CANNOT be both! Christ must increase and you must decrease (like John the Baptist), or else it will be the other way around. See the answer that he gives to the religious rulers.
John 1:20 And he confessed, and denied not; but confessed, I am not the Christ. (KJV)
“And he confessed, and denied not; but confessed, I am not the Christ” . . . the Pharisees subtly suggest that John might be the Messiah. They have a Messianic hope. But John the Baptist makes it very clear that he is NOT the Christ; he is NOT the Messiah. They are looking to the wrong man. So, if he is not the Christ, WHO is he?
John 1:21 And they asked him, What then? Art thou Elias? And he saith, I am not. Art thou that prophet? And he answered, No. (KJV)
John the Baptist is very brief and to the point here. His answers are short, and they get shorter as the religious rulers continue to question him. If he is NOT the Christ, he must be Elijah. If he is NOT Elijah, he must be "that prophet" . . . referring to a prophet "like unto Moses" who had been promised back in (Deut.18:15). John gives an emphatic "No!" He is not the predicted prophet of Deuteronomy.
John 1:22 Then said they unto him, Who art thou? that we may give an answer to them that sent us. What sayest thou of thyself? (KJV)
They insist that he must tell them WHO he is. They can't take back a negative report. So John does identify himself.
John 1:23 He said, I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord, as said the prophet Esaias. (KJV)
“He said, I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness” . . . he says that he is a “voice”. . . . Christ is the Word! John is just a voice! That is all John wants to be, a servant bringing a tremendous message . . . a message SO much greater than he is. We too, should be a “voice” bringing the message declaring the glories of Christ.
"Make straight the way of the Lord" . . . in other words, "Get yourself ready for the Coming of the Lord." This means the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand . . . at hand in the Person of the King! This would be the same as telling them to get the crooked things out of their lives, get rid of the things that are wrong . . . get their lives straightened out! This is the same message that we need today as well . . . because the Lord IS coming again. Isaiah 40:3 The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. (KJV)
. . . in other words, "Get yourself ready for the Coming of the Lord." This means the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand . . . at hand in the Person of the King! This would be the same as telling them to get the crooked things out of their lives, get rid of the things that are wrong . . . get their lives straightened out! This is the same message that we need today as well . . . because the Lord IS coming again.
1 John 1:6 If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: (KJV)
1 John 1:8-9 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (KJV)
John 1:24-25 And they which were sent were of the Pharisees. 25 And they asked him, and said unto him, Why baptizest thou then, if thou be not that Christ, nor Elias, neither that prophet? (KJV)
The Pharisees now ask him a technical point “if you are NOT Christ, not Elijah, or that prophet . . . if you are none of these, then WHY do you baptize?"
John 1:26-27 John answered them, saying, I baptize with water: but there standeth one among you, whom ye know not; 27 He it is, who coming after me is preferred before me, whose shoe's latchet I am not worthy to unloose. (KJV)
This man John the Baptist said that he just used water to baptize, but there was One coming after him who would baptize with fire and with the Holy Spirit. Matthew 3:11 I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire: (KJV)
The “fire” is the baptism of judgment which is to come upon the Earth (Rev.20:15). The baptism of the Holy Spirit took place at Pentecost.
"He it is, coming after me is preferred before me, whose shoe's latchet I am not worthy to unloose" . . . this man was really humble! A servant must always serve his master, and he feels he is not even worthy to be Jesus' servant.
John 1:28 These things were done in Bethabara beyond Jordan, where John was baptizing. (KJV)
We are given a geographical location. Then see how the following verse begins, "The next day." John is showing to us that the One who came from out of eternity, the Word made flesh, is now fitted into geography and into our calendar.
John 1:29 The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. (KJV)
John sets Christ Jesus out perfectly here. He is the Saviour. He is not only the Messiah; He is also the Saviour, the One and Only Saviour for He is the Lamb of God (Jn.1:36). And as Saviour, He does a perfect job because He takes away sin. He is the Almighty Saviour because He can take away the sin of the world . . . IF they let Him! He is the perpetual Saviour because He "taketh" away . . . present tense. Anyone can come to the Saviour at any time and at any place!
Here we find the fulfillment of the answer that Abraham had given to Isaac those many years ago. John tells us that Jesus is the Lamb. Gen.22:7-8 And Isaac spake unto Abraham his father, and said, My father: and he said, Here am I, my son. And he said, Behold the fire and the wood: but where is the lamb for a burnt offering? 8 And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together. (KJV)
John 1:30 This is he of whom I said, After me cometh a man which is preferred before me: for he was before me. (KJV)
John is perfectly content to be what he is, a servant of the One preferred before him! Although John the Baptist was a well-known preacher who attracted large crowds, he was content for Jesus to take first place. This is true humility that should be shown by all TRUE believers! It is the basis for greatness in preaching, teaching or any other work that we do for Christ because only when we humble ourselves, will God lift us up (Jam.4:10). We must be content to be a willing servant of our Master, and do what God wants you to do and always let Jesus Christ have any glory. Only then will God do great things through you.
John 1:31 And I knew him not: but that he should be made manifest to Israel, therefore am I come baptizing with water. (KJV)
"And I knew him not" . . . this verse is best expounded by John 1:33, where the same words are repeated, I knew him not; and it is added, but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending. We have no reason to think that Christ and John had agreed together to give one another credit, or that there was some close relationship between John and Christ. John said, I knew him not . . . for Christ had spent his time at home (Lk.2:51), while John had lived in the desert (Lk.1:80). This was the plan of God so that John would not know Christ by His Face, until that time came when Christ was to be made manifest to Israel.
John did not know our Lord personally, and probably had never seen Him, at the time he spoke the words in John 1:15. There is no reason to think that the Baptist would have been unacquainted with Christ, for he had spent 30 years in the desert (Lk.1:80), and our Lord remained in a state of great privacy in the obscure city of Nazareth, in the extreme borders of Galilee. John the Baptist: http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/8733-john-the-baptist
"But that he should be made manifest to Israel" . . . when God by an extraordinary mission sent John to baptize with water, He gave him this token, "Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost" (Jn.1:33), THAT would be the Messiah, the Lamb of God, that should take away the sin of the world; He who should baptize with the Holy Ghost.
Therefore am I come baptizing with water . . . John did not go without being sent, nor did he introduce a new rite or sacrament without commission; but was sent by God, and that he might give Christ an opportunity of coming to him to be baptized, that he might see the Spirit descending and remaining upon Him. From this we learn, that NO one but Christ can institute a sacrament. John did NOT baptize, until he was sent to baptize with water.
John the Baptist is telling us that Jesus is the TRUE Baptizer, because He is the One who will baptize with the Holy Spirit (believers) and with the fire of Hell (unbelievers).
John 1:32 And John bare record, saying, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon him. (KJV)
The heavens were literally opened up unto John the Baptist! And John SAW the Spirit of God descending from heaven in the form of a "dove" lighting upon Jesus. There has been some controversy about the manner and form in which the Spirit of God made Itself visible on this day, but I believe God's Word! Luke 3:22 And the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him, and a voice came from heaven, which said, Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased. (KJV)
This passage is proof of the doctrine of the Trinity . . . for the three distinct Persons are represented here, of this there can be no dispute.
#1. The person of Jesus Christ, baptized by John in Jordan.
#2. The person of the Holy Ghost in a bodily shape (Lk.3:22) like a dove.
#3. The person of the Father; a voice came out of heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, etc.
The voice is here represented as proceeding from a different place (Heaven) to that in which the Persons of the Son and Holy Spirit were manifested; and I think, more forcibly to mark the Divine Personality of God the Father!
Because of the extraordinary commission for John to baptize, when he baptized Jesus, he saw the heavens open, and a symbol of the Holy Spirit of God descending. This symbol was in the form of a dove. This was indeed the anointing of the Spirit that made Jesus the Anointed, the Christ, the Messiah! Matthew 3:16 And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: (KJV)
John 1:33 And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost. (KJV)
"And I knew him not" . . . as stated above, this again repeats verse 31. John was a stranger to Him; he knew Him, only in a sense, that I leaped in my mother's womb, when Jesus' mother came to see John's mother before either of them were born. Luke 1:41 And it came to pass, that, when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost: (KJV)
John surely must have felt something deep in his heart and soul when Jesus came towards him to be baptized, which made him say to Jesus the following: Matthew 3:14 But John forbad him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me? (KJV)
"But he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost" . . . He that sent me (Almighty God) . . . said unto me . . . from these words, we may rightfully understand that John the Baptist had an extremely close and intimate acquaintance with the Divine Being . . . Almighty God! It to me, seems certain that John received not only his call and mission at first, but every following direction, by the immediate and unequivocal inspiration of the Almighty God in Heaven! NO doubt at all in my mind.
Are we fit to proclaim Jesus? YES! In fact, it is a command to us by Him to us (Mat.28:19)! BUT . . . we must have a close and continual relationship with the Lord; for we must constantly receive light and life from Christ our Fountain; if we are to bear a steady and uniform testimony to Him.
John 1:34 And I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God. (KJV)
This had to be a monumental time in John the Baptist's life! He saw the Man, Jesus come near to him; he baptized Jesus; then he saw the Holy Spirit light on His Master! He saw, but it must have seemed as a dream to him. He saw NOT just some mere man, he saw the eternal Son of that God, who was the One Who sent him to baptize with water.
John 1:35-36 Again the next day after John stood, and two of his disciples; (KJV)
"Again the next day after John stood" . . . the day after his remarkable testimony that Jesus was the Son of God. This testimony of John is reported because it was the main design of this evangelist to show that Jesus was the Messiah. "John stood" . . . probably apart from the multitude.
"And two of his disciples" . . . one of these was Andrew (Jn.1:40), and it is probable that the other was the writer of this Gospel.
John 1:36 And looking upon Jesus as he walked, he saith, Behold the Lamb of God! (KJV)
Attentively beholding . . . to view with steadfast attention. Anyone who desires to discover the glories and excellencies of the Lamb of God, must look on Him in this way!
"Behold the Lamb of God!" . . . by this the Baptist wanted to direct the attention of his own disciples TO Jesus, not only as the great sacrifice for the sin of the world, but also as the complete teacher of heavenly Truth. Jesus was more important than John the Baptist! All good and faithful ministers should always send their disciples to Christ.
Witness Of Andrew (John 1:37-42)
John 1:37 And the two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus. (KJV)
"And the two disciples heard him" . . . and they understood perfectly John the Baptist's meaning.
"And they followed Jesus" . . . happy are they, who on hearing of the salvation of Christ, immediately open their heart's door (Rev.3:20) to its Author! Delays are always extremely dangerous, no matter how brief! And at times often fatal.
Has anyone at any time told you about Jesus and the salvation that only He can give to you? What did you do with that information? Did you delay to believe and accept it? PLEASE . . . accepting Christ as your Saviour and Lord is the most important decision you will ever make! Do NOT delay! Do it NOW! Your soul is eternal and eternity is at close at hand! You do NOT know if you will be here tomorrow, or even in the next hour. You do NOT want to wake up in Hell. Prepare NOW to meet the Almighty God! Luke 16:22-23 And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; 23 And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. (KJV) . . . PLEASE consider these words, my friend!
John 1:38 Then Jesus turned, and saw them following, and saith unto them, What seek ye? They said unto him, Rabbi, (which is to say, being interpreted, Master,) where dwellest thou? (KJV)
"Then Jesus turned, and saw them following, and saith unto them, What seek ye? " . . . what seek ye" . . . what or who are you looking for? . . . these disciples may have felt embarrassed, after hearing what John the Baptist said of Him. To put them at ease, Jesus graciously gives them an opportunity to explain themselves to Him.
Don't you know, that the blessed Lord Jesus still puts these questions to those who simply have a desire to get acquainted with Him. "What seek ye?" What are YOU looking for? Where do you go to try to find it? Do you seek in humiliation? Do you really want to go to Heaven? If so, you must sincerely seek Jesus! (Jn.14:5; Acts 4:12).
"Rabbi" . . . means teacher, master. What humble modesty of these disciples . . . they wanted to be His disciples, they are ignorant, they wanted to be taught, they believed that He was a Teacher come from God.
"Where dwellest thou?" . . . where are You living? So that they might come and be taught of Him..
John 1:39 He saith unto them, Come and see. They came and saw where he dwelt, and abode with him that day: for it was about the tenth hour. (KJV)
"Come and see" . . .if those who do not know the salvation of God would come at the command of Christ, they would quickly see that with Him alone is the Fountain of Life (Ps.36:9; Pro.14:27; Rev.21:6), and only in His Light (Lk.1:79; Jn.1:4-5,7-9; 3:19-21; 8:12; 9:5; 12:46), can they ever see light.
If you are not seriously asking where Christ dwells, consider this: He does NOT dwell in any worldly affairs, NOT in any profane assemblies, NOT in any worldly pleasures, NOT in any place where drunkards accumulate. He is found in His temple, wherever two or three are gathered together in His Name (Mat.18:20), in prayer, self-denial, study of Him and in self-examination. He also dwells in the humble, contrite spirit, in the spirit of faith, of love, of forgiveness and of obedience. In other words, He dwells in the Heaven of heavens, where He graciously wants to bring you, IF you thou will humbly and willingly come and learn of Him, and receive the salvation which He has purchased for you by His own precious Blood (Jn.3:15-18; Acts 20:28; Eph.1:13-14; 1 Pet.1:18-19).
"The tenth hour" . . . or, two hours before night, because according to John 11:9, the Jews considered twelve hours in the day. The sixth hour with them answered to our twelve o'clock, as appears from what Josephus says in his life, chap. liv.
John 1:40 One of the two which heard John speak, and followed him, was Andrew, Simon Peter's brother. (KJV)
"One of the two . . . was Andrew" . . . he has the honor of being one of the first two disciples of Jesus.
John 1:41 He first findeth his own brother Simon, and saith unto him, We have found the Messias, which is, being interpreted, the Christ. (KJV)
"Findeth his own brother Simon" . . . Simon Peter. In true missionary spirit Andrew immediately went and found his own brother.
"We have found the Messias" . . . the Christ, the Messiah, promised by the prophets. Messiah is the Hebrew word meaning the same as Christ.
John 1:42 And he brought him to Jesus. And when Jesus beheld him, he said, Thou art Simon the son of Jona: thou shalt be called Cephas, which is by interpretation, A stone. (KJV)
Andrew brought his brother Simon Peter to Jesus. Jesus saw not only who Simon was, but WHO he would become. That is why he gave him a new name, Cephas in Aramaic, Peter in Greek (the name means "a rock"). Although Peter is NOT presented as rock-solid throughout the Gospels, he did become a solid rock in the days of the early church, as we learn in the book of Acts. See the Book of Acts: http://www.godcannotlie.org/book_of_acts.htm
PETER: Jesus' first words to Simon Peter were "Come, follow me" (Mk.1:17). His last words to him were "Follow me" (Jn.21:22). Every step of the way between those two commands, Peter NEVER failed to follow Jesus . . . BUT he often stumbled.
When Jesus came into Peter's life, this plain fisherman became a new person with new goals and new priorities. He did NOT become a perfect person, and he never stopped being Simon Peter. We may wonder what Jesus saw in Simon that made him greet this potential disciple with a new name: Peter, the "rock." Impulsive Peter certainly did NOT act like a rock much of the time. But when Jesus chose His followers, he was NOT looking for role models; He was looking for real people. He chose people who could be changed by His love, and then He sent them out to declare that acceptance of Christ was available to anyone, any where . . . even to those who often fail, and sometimes fall . . . like me, like you.
We may wonder what Jesus sees in us when He calls us to follow Him. But we know Jesus accepted Peter, and, in spite of his failures, Peter went on to do great things for God. We too must be willing to keep following Jesus, like Peter did, even when you fail. Psalm 34:8 O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him. (KJV)
Witness Of Philip (John 1:43-46)
John 1:43 The day following Jesus would go forth into Galilee, and findeth Philip, and saith unto him, Follow me. (KJV)
"The day following Jesus would go forth into Galilee" . . . He had been in Judea, where He went to be baptized by John. He was now about to return to his native country.
"Into Galilee" . . . He was now about to return to His native country.
"Findeth Philip" . . . this does not refer to His calling these disciples to be apostles, for that took place at the Sea of Tiberias (Mat.4:18), I think this refers to their being convinced that He was the Christ. This is the object of this evangelist, to show how and when they were convinced of this. Matthew states the time and occasion in which they were called to be apostles; John, the time in which they first became acquainted with Jesus, and were convinced that He was the Messiah. So, there is no contradiction in the Gospel writers' testimony.
John 1:44 Now Philip was of Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. (KJV)
Bethsaida is up on the Sea of Galilee. We know that Peter, Andrew and Philip lived there. They were fishermen.
John 1:45 Philip findeth Nathanael, and saith unto him, We have found him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph. (KJV)
"Nathanael" . . . means gift of God. He is thought to be the same as Bartholomew, who is classed with Philip in the lists of the apostles (Mat.10:3; Mk.3:18; Lk.6:14; Jn.21:2; Acts 1:13). Consider his doubt of Jesus, His character, questions, confession, faith and future in the following verses.
"Moses in the law" . . . (Lk.24:27,44). Moses, in that part of the Old Testament which he wrote, called by the Jews the law (Deut.18:15,18; Gen.49:10).
"And the prophets" . . . the prophets wrote MUCH about the Christ! (Isa.4:2; 7:14; 9:5-7; 40:10; 53:1-12; Dan.9:24-27; Jer.13:5-6; 23:5; 33:14-15; Eze.34:23; 37:23; Mic.5:2; Zec.6:12; 9;9; 12:10).
"Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph" . . . son of Joseph was the current way of speaking (Lk.3:23).
John 1:46 And Nathanael said unto him, Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth? Philip saith unto him, Come and see. (KJV)
Nathanael is a wise guy, making this wisecrack: "Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?" he probably laughed at his own joke, but Philip did NOT laugh. He simply said, "Come and see." That is the really the important thing for us today . . . "come and see."
Witness Of Nathanael (John 1:47-51)
John 1:47 Jesus saw Nathanael coming to him, and saith of him, Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile! (KJV)
"Behold an Israelite indeed" . . . a worthy descendant of the patriarch Jacob, who not only professes to believe in Israel's God, but who worships Him in sincerity and truth, according to his light.
"In whom is no guile!" . . . deceitfulness has always been been, and still is, a main characteristic of the Jewish people. To find a man, living in the midst of so much corruption, walking in uprightness before his Maker, was worthy of the attention of God Himself. In this Israelite, there is no Jacob. Although Nathaniel is a wise guy, he is not deceitful or cunning. There is nothing of the old Jacob in him. He is an Israelite in whom there is no Jacob.
John 1:48 Nathanael saith unto him, Whence knowest thou me? Jesus answered and said unto him, Before that Philip called thee, when thou wast under the fig tree, I saw thee. (KJV)
"Whence knowest thou me?" . . . Nathaniel was not yet acquainted with the divinity of Christ, so he could not understand that Jesus could see his heart, so he asks HOW Jesus could have any knowledge of him. It really is the comfort TRUE believers, that God knows their hearts; and it should be the terror to all the deceitful and ungodly, and of the hypocrite, that their false dealing is always wide open to the all-seeing eye of God.
Hearing him express a favorable opinion of him, he naturally inquired by what means he had any knowledge of him. His conscience testified to the truth of what Jesus said-that he had no guile, and he was anxious to know whence he had learned his character.
"Before that Philip called thee" . . . (Jn.1:45).
"When thou wast under the fig tree" . . . it seems that it was from something that had happened under that fig-tree that Jesus judged Nathanael's character. What that was is not recorded. It is possible that Nathanael was accustomed to retire to the shade of a certain tree, maybe in his garden, for the purpose of meditation and prayer. The Jews had a habit of selecting such places for private devotion, where it was still and quiet, to retire in such a place is especially favorable for a quiet time with the Lord for meditation and prayer. Our Saviour also worshipped in such places (Jn.18:2; Lk.6:12).
"I saw thee" . . . it was probably at this quiet time that Jesus "saw" Nathanael. Jesus did not say that He was present bodily with Nathanael and "saw" him; but He certainly had the capability of knowing and seeing his thoughts, his desires, his secret feelings and wishes. From this, we may learn: #1. That Jesus sees what is done in secret, thus He IS divine. #2. That He sees us at all times. #3. That He sees us especially in our private devotions and hears our prayers. #4. That He judges of our character mainly by our private devotions; those things that are secret, that the world does NOT see; and when we are in our closets when we truly reveal what we are.
Let our secret prayers and meditations always be without guile and hypocrisy, and always be such as what Jesus will approve! "I saw thee" (Ps.139:1-2).
The first words of Jesus had baffled him, but this overpowered and won him over.
The eyes of the Lord are through ALL the earth, beholding the evil and the good! Where ever we are, what ever we do, may a deep conviction of this truth rest upon our hearts, because God sees me and you!
John 1:49 Nathanael answered and saith unto him, Rabbi, thou art the Son of God; thou art the King of Israel. (KJV)
"Rabbi" . . . meaning Teacher.
"Thou art the Son of God" . . . the promised Messiah.
"Thou art the King of Israel" . . . the TRUE descendant of David, who shall sit on that spiritual throne of which the throne of David was the type. "Son of God . . . King of Israel" . . . the One meaning His Person, the other His office. How much higher is this than anything Philip had said to him!
John 1:50 Jesus answered and said unto him, Because I said unto thee, I saw thee under the fig tree, believest thou? thou shalt see greater things than these. (KJV)
"Because I said . . . I saw thee" . . . Nathaniel had credited Jesus' Divinity on this simple proof, that He saw him when and where no human eye could see. Nathaniel's faith would not rest simply on this, for he would see much greater things than these . . . numerous and expressive proofs of Jesus' eternal power and Godhead. So quickly was Nathaniel convinced, and on this evidence only . . . expresses admiration.
John 1:51 And he saith unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Hereafter ye shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man. (KJV)
Our Lord had said to Nathaniel, "Behold, an Israelite in whom there is no guile." Now He follows up on this by referring to the incident in the life Jacob when, as a young man, he had run away from home because his brother Esau was after him to murder him. His first night away from home was at Bethel, and there the Lord appeared to him. A ladder was let down from heaven, and on that ladder the angels were ascending and descending (Gen.28:12). The meaning to Jacob was that God had not deserted him. He had thought that when he left home, he had left God back there, but at Bethel he learned that God would be with him.
Our Lord now picks that up here and says that the "Ladder" was Himself. Hereafter ye shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man.
The angels ministered to Him, and the angels were subject to Him. Here He was given charge over the angels. He could send them as messengers to Heaven, and they would return also. So Jesus says that Nathanael will see Heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man. He is going to see that the Father from the top of that ladder will speak of this One, saying, "...This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased" (Matt. 3:17).
The Ladder is Christ, and ONLY by Christ Jesus can you and I have any contact with God. The Lord Jesus said, ". . . I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me" (John 14:6). He is the Ladder . . . NOT one that we climb, but One that we trust, One that you rest upon and believe in, and the ONLY One that leads to Heaven! This is SO important for us to see!
This first chapter of John's Gospel is been very lengthy but extremely important. It presents the incarnation of the Word . . . HE is God, HE became flesh, HE reveals the Father. Then He is introduced by witnesses. John the Baptist testifies that Jesus is the revealer of God. Andrew testifies that Jesus is the Messiah. Philip testifies that Jesus fulfills the Old Testament. Nathanael witnesses that Jesus is the Son of God, the King of Israel. Are YOU a "witness" for Jesus? If not, why not?
Gospel of John, intro . John ch.1 . John ch.2 . John ch.3 . John ch.4 . John ch.5 . John ch.6 . John ch.7 . John ch.8 . John ch.9 . John ch.10 . John ch.11 . John ch.12 . John ch.13 . John ch.14 . John ch.15 . John ch.16 . John ch.17 . John ch.18 . John ch.19 . John ch.20 . John ch.21
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