Summary: A study of the Gospel of John chapter 1 verses 1 through 5

John 1.1-5

The Word

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 nothing was made that was made. 4 In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.

Today we are going to begin a study of the Gospel of John. It was written around 85 to 90 AD. This is around 40 years after our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ returned to His rightful throne in Heaven. The city of Jerusalem now lies in ruins for close to 20 years after the Roman army leveled it. I find it interesting that the Temple complex that was initially expanded by Herod was finally finished just a few years earlier is now destroyed.

There were three other reports that were previously written about the life of our Lord Jesus. The first one was penned by Matthew. He was an apostle who was selected by our Lord. Then we have the Gospel of Mark. If you read his Gospel you will see how he wrote himself into his testimony. He was the young boy who happened to be in the Garget of Gethsemane. The apostle Peter adopted him as his spiritual son and detailed to him his account of spending three and one half years with the Son of God. The next author was Luke. Luke was the man who accompanied Paul. He became for us a wonderful investigator. He took the time to sit down with the men and women who were disciples of The Lord Jesus. Most notably was his personal interview with our Lord Jesus’ mom Mary, From Luke’s Gospel we get the most information regarding the birth of the Lord Jesus. Then we have John’s Gospel. He was one of the first individuals to follow Jesus in His ministry. His fellow companion was Andrew.

I want to give you a term used a lot by religionist scholars and it is the term ‘Synoptic’. The Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke are referred to as the ‘Synoptic Gospels’ because they include many of the same stories yet each one provides some extra detail that help us fill in the picture of what took place. John’s Gospel is 90% different the other three Gospels.

Although four individuals penned the words and actions of our Lord Jesus over many years we find interesting enough a harmony between them. This is because our Precious Holy Spirit was behind their writings. We read in the second letter of Peter chapter 1 verse 21 this, ‘for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.”

Before the earth was created and before time as we know it began, our Holy God created angels. One unique group that was created we find out from our Bibles were Cherubim. The angels had special assignments given to them by Almighty God. Some were assigned to accompany the Lord’s chariot. Some as you know from the book of Genesis guarded the way to the tree of life. We also know one cherub was in charge of the worship in heaven. His name is Lucifer. Cherubim stand out from other angels in that our Holy Creator gave them 4 heads – Lion, Ox, Eagle, and that of a man.

There are also four ‘Living Beings’ called ‘beasts’ that are on duty around the four corners of The Lord’s throne. We read about this in the book of Revelation chapter 4 verses 7-11, “6 Before the throne there was a sea of glass, like crystal. And in the midst of the throne, and around the throne, were four living creatures full of eyes in front and in back. 7 The first living creature was like a lion, the second living creature like a calf, the third living creature had a face like a man, and the fourth living creature was like a flying eagle. 8 The four living creatures, each having six wings, were full of eyes around and within. And they do not rest day or night, saying: “Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, Who was and is and is to come!” 9 Whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to Him who sits on the throne, who lives forever and ever, 10 the twenty-four elders fall down before Him who sits on the throne and worship Him who lives forever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying 11 “You are worthy, O Lord, To receive glory and honor and power; For You created all things, and by Your will they exist and were created.”

You will note that each ‘beast’ took one of the forms displayed on the cherubim’s heads – Lion, Ox, Eagle, and man.

I point this out to you because the Cherubim denote something deeper. They are a living revelation of Jesus Christ and His work on this earth. There are four of them. Four is the number associated with the earth. There are four directions, four seasons, and as we learn here there are four Gospels which testify of the earthly ministry of the Son of God.

The Gospels record our Lord Jesus’ ministry to the groups of people in the world. The Jews who loved the Scriptures and the prophecies of God would only listen to one of their own. So we see the first Gospel speaks to the Jews.

The Gospel of Matthew is written to Jews. Our Lord Jesus is a descendent of King David from the tribe of Judah. We read this in Genesis chapter 49, “Judah is a lion’s whelp; From the prey, my son, you have gone up. He bows down, he lies down as a lion; And as a lion, who shall rouse him? 10 The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh comes; and to Him shall be the obedience of the people.”

The face of a lion corresponds to Matthew’s Gospel with its heavy Hebraic emphasis. Our Lord Jesus Is the Lion of the tribe of Judah. The Messiah Is the Christ or Anointed One from the Father. The Messiah is the King of Israel and His teachings are the law and policy of His Kingdom.

So we see that the Lion is represented in Matthew’s Gospel and that leaves us with three more. Whose face do you think is depicted in Mark’s Gospel? It is the Ox who is the ultimate domesticated beast that serves mankind. It emphasizes our Lord Jesus as the Ultimate Perfect Servant. As a servant He came to do the Father’s Will. If you review the entire writings of Mark you will note that it has no birth story. This is meaningful because it is irrelevant how a lowly servant is born.

We read in the book of Isaiah chapter 53 this, “

1 Who has believed our report? And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed? 2 For He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant, and as a root out of dry ground. He has no form or comeliness; And when we see Him, there is no beauty that we should desire Him. 3 He is despised and rejected by men, a Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. 4 Surely He has borne our grief’s and carried our sorrows; Yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. 5 But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed. 6 All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; And the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all. 7 He was oppressed and He was afflicted, yet He opened not His mouth; He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so He opened not His mouth. 8 He was taken from prison and from judgment, and who will declare His generation? For He was cut off from the land of the living; For the transgressions of My people He was stricken. 9 And they made His grave with the wicked—But with the rich at His death, because He had done no violence, nor was any deceit in His mouth. 10 Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise Him; He has put Him to grief. When You make His soul an offering for sin, He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in His hand. 11 He shall see the labor of His soul, and be satisfied. By His knowledge My righteous Servant shall justify many, for He shall bear their iniquities. 12 Therefore I will divide Him a portion with the great, and He shall divide the spoil with the strong, because He poured out His soul unto death, and He was numbered with the transgressors, and He bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.”

Like an Ox our Lord Jesus kept at His task no matter what opposition stood in His way. He came to die as a sacrificial ox who with His strength carried our burdens.

Mark spoke to the Romans. AAs you know these were the ruling empire of the world at this time and action impressed them. They knew nothing of the Scriptures but everything about power. So to this group came the action packed Gospel of the powerful ministry of God’s specially selected Holy One.

Luke was a Greek who spoke to his people who were the Philosophers of these days. The Greeks loved culture, beauty, and ideas. They loved to get into deep truths. Luke fills his book with insights, interviews, songs, and details that fascinate the inquiring mind. Luke puts forth the ideal ‘man’ Who Is the image bearer of God. He Is what mankind was always intended to be.

The genealogy in Luke chapter 4 goes all the way back to Adam for our Lord Jesus Is the Perfect human being. He fully entered into all of man’s problems, poverty, oppression, suffering, hunger, temptation, weariness, and injustice and as the perfect man He prevailed perfectly for He kept true in all things throughout His time here on earth.

We see here in this Gospel our Lord refer to Himself as the Son of Man. His mission was to come to seek and save humans who are lost.

Then we have the Gospel of John. The eagle is represented in John’s Gospel. The eagle stands foremost among birds. It flies higher and sees clearer from farther away than any other creature on earth. We see the Divine perspective of our Lord Jesus Christ in John’s testimony. He came to us from His Throne in Heaven above. He descended to earth in order that He might ‘bear us up’ as on eagle wings. His descent to us struggling, blind, and hopeless people was done, so that we might be born from above and have everlasting life.

John wrote to all human beings because everyone needs to come back into fellowship with Almighty God. Our Lord Jesus Is The Only way back to God.

So, I hope this overview helps you see how awesome the Bible Is. Now, let us look at today’s verses.

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 nothing was made that was made. 4 In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.

John begins his Gospel by speaking of ‘The Word’. John tells us this ‘Word’ existed in the beginning of time as we understand it. The ‘Word’ was in continual close relationship with God, and indeed was God. The ‘Word’ Was the Creator of all things and the Source of all Life.

You might have thought that the use of the term ‘The Word’ seems confusing. However, this term was used by both Jewish theologians and Greek Philosophers in many different ways.

We learn from the Scriptures how the Jews thought of the use of the term, ‘The Word’

Psalm 33: 6 says, “By the word of the LORD the heavens were made, and all the host of them by the breath of His mouth.” They understood the term as an agent of Creation.

Hosea 1:2 says, “The word of the LORD that came to Hosea the son of Beeri. “ The Jews looked at the use of this term as the source of God’s message to His People through the use of His prophets.

Psalm 1119: 11 says, “Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You.’ The Jews saw it as God’s Law that is His Standard of Holiness.

The Greek Philosophers considered the use of the term ‘The Word’ as the principle of reason that governs the world.

John completes the picture for all in that his description of the ‘Word’ Is Jesus Christ.

Now you know that right off the bat John is going to get counter reaction. To say ‘The Word’ was God’ to Jewish readers was blasphemous. To go on and also link our Lord Jesus to the statement , ‘The Word became flesh’ was unthinkable to the Greeks.

John goes for it and immediately indicates that the Lord Jesus Christ Is ‘The Word of Life’. He Is the full expression of what God Is. Just as we expressed ourselves through our words and it is by our words that we make known our inner selves, so through His Word God has expressed Himself, and has made know His inner self.

So, I see another way to read in these opening verses, “In the beginning Jesus Christ Was The One through Whom God spoke and revealed Himself, both in creation and revelation. “

So the Word is the source and means of creation, the giver of life and light, the means of the powerful activity of God in the fulfilling of His purposes, and is the channel of His life-giving truth to men. The uniqueness and divinity of Jesus Christ is being clearly brought out.

So to sum up we may see the Word as:

• The One through Whom God has created.

• The One Who gives spiritual life and light.

• The One through Whom God has acted.

• The One through Whom God has spoken

• The One through Whom God saves.

John turns in verse 5 to the purpose of our Lord Jesus Christ’s coming into this world. He emphasizes the truth that the world is in darkness. It waits for light. Just as we learned in the beginning of our Bibles that darkness had to be brought into subjection by the creation of light, so must spiritual darkness brought on by Adam and Eve’s sin be overcome by spiritual light.

Both the Greek and Jew would agree that this was so. The Greek Philosophers were still seeking greater knowledge and understanding while the Jewish Theologians needed more light for the same reasons with the Torah. John now states here that the light all mankind was searching for has come in One Holy Person.

This idea is not new. The prophet Isaiah foretold this reality in chapter 9 of his book, “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; Those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death, upon them a light has shined. 3 You have multiplied the nation and increased its joy; They rejoice before You according to the joy of harvest, as men rejoice when they divide the spoil. 4 For You have broken the yoke of his burden and the staff of his shoulder, the rod of his oppressor, as in the day of Midian. 5 For every warrior’s sandal from the noisy battle, and garments rolled in blood, will be used for burning and fuel of fire. 6 For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 7 Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end, upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, to order it and establish it with judgment and justice from that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this. “

We see here that the ‘Light’ listed by Isaiah was connected with the coming of the expected King Who would make all things right again. Thus the shinning of the light in the darkness has in mind the coming of the Messiah.

John say that in contrast to the darkness ‘Light’ has come in Jesus Christ, The Messiah, God’s Anointed. He Is God’s very ‘Word’ manifest in a human being. As a light shining in the darkness, He will make people aware of their sinfulness and need for a Savior. We will see our Master and King be recorded in John’s Gospel chapter 8 as saying this, “Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”

So, when we read that darkness does not comprehend the “Light’ it means that the darkness of evil never has and never will overcome or extinguish God’s Light.

In His light we see ourselves as we really are. We are sinners who need a Savior to rescue us out of this spiritual darkness. If we acknowledge Jesus for all that He has done and ask Him to rescue us from our darkness, He will turn the light on.