Even all four gospels are complementary and all tell about the story of Jesus, the gospel of John is different from the gospel of Matthew, Mark & Luke. The differences between these three Gospels and John’s include the language used, the timeline, the material covered, e.g. there is no record of the genealogy of Jesus’ birth or childhood, but also there is a unique approach by John to the life and ministry of Jesus, giving emphasis to the Divine nature of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Mathew, Mark & Luke are called synoptic gospel since the 18th century because they include many of the same stories, often in a similar sequence and in very similar wording. The term synoptic is derived from a combination of the Greek words (syn = together) and (opsis = seeing) to indicate that the contents of these 3 Gospels can be viewed side-by-side.
The author of this book is John, one of the 12 apostles’ of Jesus, “the disciple whom Jesus loved” (Jn.13:23, 19:26, 20:2, 21:7, 21:20 & 24), also known as the son of Zebedee, and brother of James called “Son of Thunder” & he wrote this book after the gospel or accounts of Matthew, Mark & Luke, between A.D. 85-90, this was after the destruction of Jerusalem (70 A.D.), but before John was exiled to the Island of Patmos.
To study and memorize better the first chapter of John, we can divided it in two main parts :
- Prologue: Who is Jesus– The Word Became Flesh (Jn.1:1-18)
- The Beginning of Jesus’ Ministry (Jn.1:19-51)
- John the Baptist’s Testimony about Jesus (1:19-34)
- John’s Disciples Follow Jesus (1:35-42)
- Jesus Calls Philip and Nathanael (1:43-51)
1. Who is Jesus:
The Book or gospel (good news) of John begins declaring the Deity of Jesus Christ. To listen John- audio, by Alexander Scourby.
The Eternal 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 [a] comprehend it . John 1:1-5
6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7 This man came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all through him might believe. 8 He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. 9 That[b] was the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world.
10 He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. 11 He came to His [c]own, and His [d]own did not receive Him. 12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the [e]right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: 13 who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. John 1:6-13.
He (the Word) existed from the beginning, He was with God & He was God, everything was created through Him. (Gen. 1: 3, 6, 9, 11, 14, 20, 24 & 26). God created everything into existence not with a magic wand or by power or sparks in His fingers but through the “Word”. Father, son & Holy Spirit (Gen. 1:2) were together in the creation of the world.
The Word came to the world that He created, came to His own, the Israelites, the people that had a covenant with God & where waiting for Messiah.
In Him was life (He can give life) & He is the true Light. Those who receive Him & believe in His name become children of God.
The Word Becomes Flesh (Incarnation of God)
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.
15 John bore witness of Him and cried out, saying, “This was He of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me [f] is preferred before me, for He was before me.’” 16 [g] And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace. 17 For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 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. John 1:14-18.
The Word who was God, became flesh and dwelt among us here on earth. John the Baptist gave witness of Him but even Him (Jesus) was younger in the flesh than John the Baptist, He (Jesus) existed before him vs.15. The Word/God that apostle John is referring to is Jesus Christ, vs. 17 the only begotten son of God the Father.
We have already learned important facts about Jesus in these 18 verses above:
1. Jesus can be referred as the Word, & He is God
2. Jesus is the only begotten Son of God the Father.
3. Jesus existed “in the beginning.”
4. All things were made through Jesus. His attributes Life & Light
5. Jesus is God made flesh. (100% God, 100% man, God can’t stop being God).
6. Only those who receive Jesus & believe in Him become children of God.
7. Jesus came to His own, the people that knew about Him, but they didn’t receive Him.
2. The Beginning of Jesus’ Ministry :
- John the Baptist’s Testimony about Jesus (Jn.1:19-34).
19 Now this is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, “Who are you?” 20 He confessed, and did not deny, but confessed, “I am not the Christ.”
. . . 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.” 24 Now those who were sent were from the Pharisees. 25 And they asked him, saying, “Why then do you baptize if you are not the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?”
26 John answered them, saying, “I baptize with water, but there stands One among you whom you do not know. 27 It is He who, coming after me, is preferred before me, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to loose.” 28 These things were done in Bethabara beyond the Jordan, where John was baptizing. (Jn.1:19-28)
In vs. 23 John the Baptist was referring to Isaiah 40:1-3 , he was preparing the way of the Lord. Baptism was a sign of repentance. People that are baptized are expressing that they are turning away from their sins.
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! 30 This is He of whom I said, ‘After me comes a Man who is preferred before me, for He was before me.’ 31 I did not know Him; but that He should be revealed to Israel, therefore I came baptizing with water.”
32 And John bore witness, saying, “I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and He remained upon Him. 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.’ 34 And I have seen and testified that this is the Son of God.” (Jn.1:29-34)
John the Baptist reminds the Jews the Messianic promise made to Abraham, about the lamb “without blemish” (Gen. 22:7-8, Exodus 12:5, Is.53:6-7) there was a lamb sacrificed temporarily every year for the sins of the nation, until “God will provide for Himself” a lamb. Jesus is the Lamb of God.
- John the Baptist’s disciples follow Jesus. (1:35-42)
35 Again, the next day, John stood with two of his disciples. 36 And looking at Jesus as He walked, he said, “Behold the Lamb of God!” 37 The two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus.
Two disciples of John the Baptist followed Jesus, one of them was Andrew & the other one was his brother Simon Peter. “One of the two who heard John speak, and followed Him, was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. He first found his own brother Simon, and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which means the Christ). 42 Then he brought him to Jesus.” vs.40-42.
- Then next day Jesus calls Philip & Nathanael. (Jn.1:43-51)
43 The following day Jesus wanted to go to Galilee, and He found Philip and said to him, “Follow Me.” 44 Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. 45Philip 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. . . . 49 Nathanael answered and said to Him, “Rabbi, You are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!”
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.” 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.”
Philip referred to Jesus as the fulfillment of the Scriptures of the Old Testament. After doubting a little when he heard Jesus was from Nazareth, but then Nathanael went to see & recognized Jesus was the son of God, the Messiah.
Jesus preferred title for Himself was the Son of Man, it refers to His human nature but also has prophetic significance, Dan.7:13-14.