Summary: John begins his gospel by reminding his readers that indeed there WAS a beginning. Not 'once upon a time…' THE beginning.
In The Beginning
The Gospel of John Series – Part 1
Today we begin a new series of messages. I like series for several reasons; first it keeps us all on a track so we know where we're going and where we've been, secondly we can all be in prayer about what God is trying to show us and teach us as we journey along together and thirdly, it gets all of us through a book of the Bible TOGETHER.
So the book I've been led to and have been reading, and finding quite fascinating again, is the Gospel of John. This is the book that I most often point new believers to read as their first look into the Bible. Why? Again, a few reasons. It's written in a very personal and relational way to a varied audience. It's written a story-like style that puts the reader in the footsteps of the apostle, seeing Jesus in a very close way. And the main reason is that the purpose of this letter is to show that Jesus is the Messiah and Son of God and that by believing in Jesus, people can have eternal life.
In fact, John testifies to that fact towards the end of the book in what we call chapter 20 (remember, originally this was a long letter to the churches of the day, it didn’t have chapters and verses…we add that for reference only). In that section he writes this about what he is testifying to, these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name. This is a book about Jesus so that we who read it will believe in Jesus and by doing so, have everlasting life!
John (one of the 12 disciples of Jesus) wrote this gospel letter (a telling of what Jesus did, what He said and what people's responses were to Him) to both Jews and Gentiles (non-Jews) who lived in the greater Greco-Roman world in Ephesus and beyond in the first century.
And even though we are a mix of many more cultures today who live a very modern lifestyle in a world that seems so full of new knowledge, we will see that this word still speaks clearly and powerfully to anyone, anywhere at any time.
I'd like to encourage you to take notes, to write down your thoughts, to highlight your bible, to write out any questions you may have and to also take time to read this again at home and ask God what He may specifically be saying to YOU.
So, if we're ready, let's begin this journey through this gospel according to John. We'll begin at the beginning, turn with me to chapter 1 and verse 1. I'm reading from the English Standard Version. Will you stand with me as we read the Word of God…
Pray – God, speak to us…
The Word Became Flesh
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made. 4 In him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7 He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him.8 He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light.
9 The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. 11 He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him.12 But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.
14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. 15 (John bore witness about him, and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.’”) 16 For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. 17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father's side, he has made him known.