In the previous five verses, John spoke about Jesus being the Word of God, and the light. If you did not read yesterday’s study, I highly recommend you do to gain further insight to just what it means that Jesus is the Word and the Light. Briefly the Word refers to Jesus being the manifestation of God’s will, and the light refers to the fact that all life comes through Jesus and from Jesus. He is the source of life and breath.
Now John the Apostle talks about another John, John the Baptist, Jesus’ cousin who came before Jesus to prepare the way for the Savior. He was very special. He was a prophet filled with the Holy Spirit, even though there had not been a prophet in hundreds of years. (Luke 1:13-17). Although John was very special, He was not the Messiah the Jews had been waiting for. He pointed to Jesus. He pointed people to repent from their sins and to proclaim their repentance publicly through baptism. In Judaism baptism was a ritual signify consecration and preparation of a closer communion with God. And so John baptized people as they repented from sin and purified their bodies in preparation for Jesus who would purify their souls and baptize with the Holy Spirit, (Matthew 3:11).
John the Apostle said, John the Baptist was a witness to the light but not the light. John pointed people to Jesus. John prepared people for Jesus. (Verses 6-8). We can purify our bodies, we can live without sinning, but we cannot purify our souls. Water can remove dirt, but only blood can remove sins. (Hebrews 9:22). And only Jesus can take care of every sin once and for all. (Hebrews 9:26).
Verses 9-10 read,
“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.”
John wrote this gospel to show people who Jesus was, that He was the Son of God their Messiah. Many people had missed it, because they had preconceived notions of who the Savior would be. They had twisted and misinterpreted scriptures and they waited for an earthly king who would free them from government oppression. They didn’t recognize the King of kings who would free them sin and law. Jesus gives light, revelation and life to everyone, yet they didn’t know Him.
Verses 11-13 read,
“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.”
Jesus came to the Jewish, but for the most part they didn’t accept Him. Even though they had prophecy upon prophecy about Him. Even though John the Baptist had said, He was coming. They just didn’t believe. But for those who did, Jew and Gentile alike, He gave the right to become children of God. That is so awesome! What a great privilege! These children, the believers are not born from God through blood or by just wanting to be His children.
No amount of our own struggle can ever make us children of God. Nothing we do on our own can save us, or forgive a sin. Baptism didn’t forgive the sins of the people, it signified their repentant hearts. Their bodies were clean, their souls still required saving. We are not saved by our will but by God’s will. And if you recall from our previous study, Jesus is the Word, the personification of God’s will.
God’s will is that we are all saved and come to know Him. 1 Timothy 2:3-4 reads,
“This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, 4 who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.”
How did He make His desire possible? God’s desire was incarnated in Jesus, His Word. Verse 15 reads,
“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.”
Jesus not only became flesh, but He lived among us! He didn’t exist in some special sphere separate from humanity, He lived with us as one of us. He showed us who God is, through His life. His life, His light showed us God and reflected Him for us so we could know God. Not as a far off supreme being who rarely considers His creation but as our loving Father. What Jesus did for us is the epitome of love and grace, the embodiment of all God is, love given freely, grace given perfectly, and truth spoken and lived exactly.
Because Jesus became human and lived as one of us we are able to know God. It is no small thing, no common thing to know the Divine Holy Almighty Creator of the Universe. Yet this gift is given with no strings, no cost to us. That is grace so deep it is incomprehensible with The Holy Spirit to reveal it. Jesus is the complete revelation of God to us. He is not part God, He is all God. Jesus is completely wholly God. Verses 16-18 read,
“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.”
The law pointed out our sin. John the Baptist pointed out our need to repent and he pointed to Jesus. But Jesus didn’t just point to God, He revealed Him, He reflected Him and allowed us to see the invisible God. Jesus filled with grace and truth is the only way to know God. Read verse 18 again.
“No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father's side, he has made him known.”
Did you catch that? “The only God, who is at the Father’s side” Who is at the Father’s side? According to Jesus Himself in Luke 22:69 Jesus is seated at the right hand of God. Once again we see Jesus is the Word of God, the word is with God and by God’s side and the word is God.