Introduction: The Gospel of John is different from Matthew, Mark, and Luke, in that over 90% of its material is unique. John’s Gospel does not focus on the miracles, parables, and public speeches that are prominent in the others. Instead, John emphasizes the identity of Jesus as the Son of God and how we, as believers, should respond to His teachings.
Jesus nicknamed John and his brother, James, “Sons of Thunder.” Their father was Zebedee and their mother Salome. John was evidently among the Galileans who followed John the Baptist until they were called to follow Jesus. After Christ’s ascension, John became one of the “pillars” of the church in Jerusalem along with Peter and James. Tradition says that John later went to Ephesus, perhaps just before the destruction of Jerusalem, and was later exiled by the Romans to the island of Patmos.
John was an eye and ear-witness to the things he wrote in this Gospel.
The Deity of Christ
Verse 1 – In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
This passage echoes Genesis 1:1. John located Jesus existence in eternity past with God. “The Word” conveys the notion of divine self-expression or speech. God’s Word is effective. He speaks and things come to being.
Verse 2 – He was in the beginning with God.
Verse 3 – All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.
Because we have a Creator who also placed gifts and a purpose in each of us, there should be no room for pride. We exist because we were made with a purpose in mind. You are valuable and unique. Apart from God, we are nothing.
Verse 4 – In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.
Verse 5 – And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.
When Christ, the Word, breathed into man the breath of life, and he became a living soul, He filled Adam with light and knowledge. Adam had knowledge of God, of His being, His perfections of the persons of the Trinity, of his relation to God, dependence on Him, and obligation to Him.
Verse 6 – There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.
John the Baptist was a miracle, born to two aging parents Zacharias and Elizabeth, named by an angel.
Verse 7 – This man came from a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all through him might believe.
Verse 8 – He was not the Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light.
We, like John, are the reflection of that Light which is Jesus the Messiah. Christ has chosen to reflect His light through His followers to an unbelieving world. Our reflection is to point others toward Jesus.
Verse 9 – That was the true Light which gives light to every man who comes into the world.
Verse 10 – He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him.
Verse 11 – He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him.
Although Christ created the world and every person in it, they rejected Him. Even God’s own chosen people, the Jews, whom He prepared for the purpose of showing the rest of the world the coming Messiah, rejected Him.
Verse 12 – But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name:
This is very clear: The true children of God come into being through faith in the Messiah, not physical birth.
Verse 13 – who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
Which were born not of blood – the birth spoken of here is regeneration, expressed by being born again quickened by the Spirit and grace of God! This new birth transforms us with a new spirit, new attitudes, new desires, and motives. If you don’t see this transformation, then something is diffidently wrong.
Verse 14 – 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.
In the past, God had made His presence known in the temple. Now God has taken up residence among His people in the Word – made flesh – Jesus Christ. Full of grace and truth, and lovingkindness. Jesus is both God and man.
Verse 15 – John bore witness of Him and cried out, saying, “This was He of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me is preferred before me, for He was before me.’ ”
Verse 16 – And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace.
Verse 17 – For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.
Law and grace are both aspects of God’s nature that He uses in dealing with us. However, because we could never keep the law perfectly, we needed a perfect sacrifice that was able to keep the law perfectly. And that was Jesus the Christ who fulfilled the law and became the perfect sacrifice for you and me.
Verse 18 – No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him.
Verse 19 – Now this is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, “Who are you?”
Verse 20 – He confessed, and did not deny, but confessed, “I am not the Christ.”
Verse 21 – And they asked him, “What then? Are you Elijah?” He said, “I am not.” Are you the Prophet?” And he answered, “No.”
Verse 22 – Then they said to him, “Who are you, that we may give an answer to those who sent us? What do you say about yourself?”
Verse 23 – He said: “I am ‘The voice of one crying in the wilderness: “Make straight the way of the Lord,” ‘ as the prophet Isaiah said.”
Verse 24 – Now those who were sent were from the Pharisees.
Verse 25 – And they asked him, saying, “Why then do you baptize if you are not the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?”
Verse 26 – John answered them, saying, “I baptize with water, but there stands One among you whom you do not know.
Verse 27 – “It is He who, coming after me, is preferred before me, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to loose.”
Verse 28 – These things were done in Bethabara beyond the Jordan, where John was baptizing.
These Pharisees had heard about a man baptizing and were curious as to whose authority John was doing this act under. Judaism practiced baptism for purification, but normally non-Jews were only baptized to convert them to Judaism. What these Pharisees really wanted to know is who gave John the right to treat God’s chosen people like Gentiles. This baptism showing their repentance, was new to them.
Verse 29 – The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said “Behold!” The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!
Every morning and evening an innocent lamb was sacrificed in the temple for the sins of the people. Jesus is and was our sacrificial Lamb, once and for all!
Verse 30 – “This is He of whom I said, ‘After me comes a Man who is preferred before me, for He was before me.
Verse 31 – “I did not know Him; but that He should be revealed to Israel, therefore I came baptizing with water.”
John didn’t know that Jesus was the Messiah before it was revealed to him and Christ’s coming to his baptism, and pointed Him out to others.
Verse 32 – And John bore witness saying, “I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and He remained upon Him.
Verse 33 – “I did not know Him, but He who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘Upon whom you see the Spirit descending and remaining on Him, this is He who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’
John’s baptism with water symbolized the repentance of sin and the washing away of sins. But after Jesus’ ascension, all believers would be baptized with the Holy Ghost and be endued with power.
Verse 34 – “And I have seen and testified that this is the Son of God.”
Verse 35 – Again, the next day, John stood with two of his disciples.
Verse 36 – And looking at Jesus as He walked, he said, “Behold the Lamb of God!”
Verse 37 – The two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus.
One of the two disciples of John the Baptist was Andrew (John 1:40). The other was probably John, which wrote this book of John.
Verse 38 – Then Jesus turned, and seeing them following, said to them, “What do you seek?” They said to Him, “Rabbi (Teacher), “Where are You staying?”
Verse 39 – He said to them, “Come and see.” They came and saw where He was staying, and remained with Him that day (now it was about the tenth hour).
Verse 40 – One of the two who heard John speak, and followed Him, was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother.
Verse 41 – He first found his own brother Simon, and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which is translated, the Christ).
Verse 42 – And he brought him to Jesus. Now when Jesus looked at him, He said, “You are Simon the son of Jonah. You shall be called Cephas” (which is translated, A stone).
Verse 43 – The following day Jesus wanted to go to Galilee, and He found Philip and said to him, “Follow Me.”
Verse 44 – Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter.
Verse 45 – Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found Him of whom Moses in the law, and also the prophets wrote – Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of Joseph.”
Verse 46 – And Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.”
Why wold Nathanael say “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Perhaps, because a Roman army garrison was located there.
Verse 47 – Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward Him, and said of him, “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile!”
Jesus saw that Nathanael was a true Israelite at heart, inwardly, not of the flesh, but after the Spirit. This was a rare thing to find. He was a man with real Jewish faith, and Jesus called this to the others attention.
Verse 48 – Nathanael said to Him, “How do You know me?” Jesus answered and said to him, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.”
Jesus displayed His supernatural knowing where Nathanael was and who he was. No one knows you like Jesus does. You can never hide true motives or attitudes with Him. He sees the heart.
Verse 49 – Nathanael answered and said to Him, “Rabbi, You are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!.”
Verse 50 – Jesus answered and said to him, “Because I said to you, ‘I saw you under the fig tree, do you believe? You will see greater things than these.”
Verse 51 – And He said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, hereafter you shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.”
This is reference to Jacobs dream in Genesis 28:12-15. Christ being the only Mediator between man and God, as a ladder is used to ascend and descend.