John 1:1-9

Henry Mahan

Each book of the Bible has a prominent and dominant theme, which is peculiar to itself. The theme of John's Gospel is the DEITY OF THE SAVIOUR. Here as nowhere else in Scripture so fully, the Godhood of Christ is presented to our view.

(Vs. 1-2) John opens by immediately presenting Christ not as the son of David, nor as the son of man, but as the Son of God, which is the theme of this book. "IN THE BEGINNING" of creation, the beginning of time, or as Moses wrote in Gen. 1:1, "In the beginning God." But Christ was not only FROM the beginning, He was "IN the beginning." We can go back to the most remote point: that can be imagined, for Christ is without beginning, which is to say He is eternal! (John 17:5.)

"WAS THE WORD." A word is an expression. The Word of God, then, is Deity expressing itself. This is why Christ is called the WORD of God. Heb. 1:1-2 says that Christ is God's final spokesman. Rev. 1:8 says that Christ is God's alphabet. John 1:18 says that Christ has declared or told forth the Father. A word is the means of manifestation, communication, and revelation. Christ manifests the invisible God, communicates the love and mercy of God, and reveals the attributes and perfections of God.

"THE WORD WAS WITH GOD." This tells of His separate personality. Our God is ONE GOD; yet the Father is not the Son, and the Son is not the Holy Spirit (Matt. 28:19; I John 5:7).

"THE WORD WAS GOD" or "GOD WAS THE WORD." The name "God" is common to the three persons of the Holy Trinity (Heb. 1:8). So fully and so perfectly did Christ reveal God, He could say, "He that hath seen me hath seen the Father" (John 14:9; II Cor. 4:6; John 10:30).

(Vs. 3) Here creation is ascribed to Him, and none but God can create. The whole creation is ascribed to the WORD –"all things" (Col. 1:14-17). He is before all things, therefore ETERNAL. He is the originator and creator of all things, therefore OMNIPOTENT.

(Vs. 4) If Christ created all things, He is the fountain of life; He is the life-giver. "Life" is used here in its widest sense. Of course, Christ is the spiritual life of believers; but all creature life is found in Him (Acts 17: 27-28). The word "light" speaks of a relation which Christ sustains to all men – HE IS THEIR LIGHT. This is confirmed by what we read in Verse 9. Every rational man is morally enlightened (Rom. 2:15; Rom. 1:18-21) and accountable.

By nature men are dead in trespasses and sins; notwithstanding, they are ail responsible before God and shall give an account (Heb. 9:27; Rev. 20:12) because of the "light" referred to here.

(Vs. 5) Here we see the effects of the fall (Rom. 5:12; John 5:40). Every man that comes into this world is lightened by his Creator, but the natural man disregards this light. He hates it and "loves darkness rather than light" (John 3:19). The unregenerate man is like one who is blind – he is in the dark, so neither comprehends nor apprehends the light.

(Vs. 6) The change of subject here is abrupt. From "THE WORD," Who is God, the Holy Spirit now turns to speak of the forerunner of Christ. He is called "A MAN" who was sent of God. True preachers of the gospel are ordained and sent of God.

(Vs. 7) When the sun is shining in all of its power and beauty, who are the ones who are unconscious of the fact? Who needs to be told that it is shining? THE BLIND! What a revelation of our fallen condition that men have to be told that "The Light" is now in their midst!

Here we have the CHARACTER of the preacher's office – "HE CAME FOR A WITNESS." A witness is one who knows what he says and says what he knows.

Here we have the THEME of the preacher's ministry – "TO BEAR WITNESS OF THE LIGHT." He speaks not of himself but of Christ (I Cor. 1:23; John 16:14).

Here we have the DESIGN of the preacher's ministry – "THAT ALL THROUGH HIM MIGHT BELIEVE." Men become believers through receiving the preached Word (Rom. 10:13-15; Rom. 1:16; I Peter 1:23-25).

(Vs. 8-9) John himself was not "THAT LIGHT." Christ is THE LIGHT. Even the believer has no light in himself nor of himself (Eph. 5:8). Christ is the true Light, the real Light, the everlasting Light, and the underived Light (His light is His own).

Henry Mahan
Ashland, Ky.


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