Author: Ron Graham
Jesus in John Chapter One
—Threads, themes, and claims
The gospel of John starts differently to the other gospels. John defines Christ's status before he existed in this world.
John calls Jesus "the Word". This Word (logos) "was God and was with God" in the beginning. However "the Word was made flesh" (John 1:1,14). Jesus is the Word by whom all life was created. He came into the world as the unique Son to explain God to us (John 1:3-5, 16-18).
The prologue to John's first letter also teaches this (1John 1:1-5). This teaching is not unique to John, however. For example consider Paul's teaching (Philippians 2:5-11, Colossians 1:13-18).
1 The Seven Threads in John 1
There are seven principles or powers woven like threads through verses 1-13.
These are: Creation, Life, Light, Darkness, Witness, World, and New Birth.
2 Three Main Themes in John 1
If you like, you can think of these themes as the three colors of the seven threads:
- 1. Jesus is the creator and the light of all (John 8:12, Colossians 1:16-17)
- 2. He was rejected by the darkness (John 1:11, Matthew 7:13-14; compare Colossians 1:13)
- 3. Those who believe the witness, receive the right to new birth (John 3:1-12, 1Pet 1:23, Romans 8:12-17)
3 Seven Claims in John 1
John reports the proclamation of another John, namely John the baptizer who "came for a witness" of Jesus (John 1:6-8). John the Baptist made seven claims about Jesus (John 1:15-37).
- 1. "He who comes after me existed before me" (John 1:15,30). John was born before Jesus, yet Jesus existed before John.
- 2. "He has a higher rank than I" (John 1:15,30). The question of how much higher is indicated in this: "I am not worthy to untie the thong of his sandal" (John 1:27). Keep in mind that Jesus said John was the Elijah who was to come (Matthew 11:14, cf Malachi 4:5, Luke 7:28). The next claim, however, really shows how much higher Jesus ranked above John...
- 3. "I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, 'Make straight the way of the LORD'" (John 1:23, Isaiah 40:3). The 'LORD' here is Jehovah [Yaweh]. John sees himself as the prophet heralding God among men.
- 4. "Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world" (John 1:29,36). John testifies to God's eternal purpose in sending His Son into the world: to be the sacrifice for sin.
- 5. "I have beheld the Spirit descending out of Heaven as a dove, and remaining upon him" (John 1:32-33, cf Luke 3:22). John's witness is based on God's witness to his eyes and ears.
- 6. "This is the One who baptizes in the Holy Spirit" (John 1:33). Who else but God could baptize with the Spirit of God?
- 7. "And I have seen and borne witness that this is the Son of God" (John 1:34, cf John 1:18, 1John 5:20).