John 1:1-5 Word = Jesus. This means that Jesus was from the beginning, Jesus was with God, and Jesus was God. All things were made through Jesus. Jesus had life within Him, which is the light to all men. This light shines through the darkness.
Notes: Darkness represents evil. Just as a single candle can overcome a room filled with darkness, so also the powers of darkness are overcome by the person and work of the Son through his death on the cross .
John 1:6-13 John the Baptist was sent by God to witness to the people about the coming of Jesus, the light. Jesus is about to start His ministry to the people He created who did not even recognize who He was. Those that did recognize and receive Him, He gave them the right to become true children of God, born again of God through His Spirit.
Notes: John was to bear witness to him as the Messiah and Son of God. With John’s ministry, the “400 silent years” between the end of the OT and the beginning of the NT period, during which God had given no revelation, ended. To receive him who is the Word of God means to acknowledge his claims, place one’s faith in him, and thereby yield allegiance to him.
John 1:14-15 Jesus, the Word and the Light, became flesh, as we are flesh and dwelt among us full of grace and truth. John the Baptist may have been born physically first, but Jesus being God existed before John since the beginning.
John 1:16-18 Moses gave us God’s Law, and Jesus gave us grace and truth which both mark decisive events in the history of salvation. The closest anyone has ever come to see God, was to look upon Jesus, who is God and came from the Father.
John 1:19-23 John the Baptist preached to the people in the Wilderness. The leaders of the Jews sent priests to find out what John was all about. John denied he was the Christ, the Anointed One, the one that Jews were waiting for from God. They asked John if he was Elijah (who never died) or the Prophet. John said he was not. It was prophesied that Elijah would come back to earth before the end-times to restore all things. The Prophet is the one that Moses spoke of that God would send to them. Though John was not Elijah in the flesh, he represented the spirit and ministry of Elijah by announcing the coming of the Christ.
Notes: John the Baptist was a cousin of Jesus, born to Mary’s cousin, Elizabeth.
John 1:24-28 Since John was not the Christ, Elijah, or the Prophet (Jesus was both the Christ and Prophet spoken of in the Old Testament. The Jews at the time did not understand this concept), they wanted to know on whose authority he went around baptizing people. John answered indirectly by stating that his water baptism was nothing compared to the One with the greater authority standing among them who should be the priest’s main concern, not John.
Notes: John’s baptism was an outward sign of cleansing reflecting inward repentance from sins.
John 1:29-34 John testified very plainly to the people that the Man he pointed to (Jesus) was the One he witnessed about, the Lamb of God (symbolism of the Passover lamb), the One who would take away the sin of the world (refers to Jesus’ sacrificial, substitutionary death and his appeasement of the divine wrath by way of atonement for sin). The One who would baptize them with Spirit of God. The One who is called, the Son of God.
John admitted at first, that even he did not know yet who the Messiah was for the Father or Jesus himself had not told him. The Father told John to begin his ministry of baptism so that He (The Father) could reveal His Son (Jesus) to him (John). The sign the Father gave John to reveal His Son would be the One John saw God’s Spirit rest upon, a sign of Jesus’ divine anointing.
Notes: In the OT, the Spirit came upon people to enable them to accomplish certain God-given tasks. But Isaiah predicted that the Messiah would be full of the Spirit at all times. Jesus is God himself, the second person of the Trinity, with an eternal relation of sonship to God the Father.
John 1:35-42 In so many words, John told two of his followers that it was Jesus that they needed to follow now, not him anymore. They obeyed John, followed Jesus, and stayed with him that day. One of these two followers of John was Andrew. Andrew went and told his brother Simon they had found the Messiah and brought him to Jesus. Jesus, upon meeting Simon, changed his name to Cephas (is an Aramaic word meaning “rock” )Peter (Is the Greek translation of Cephas).
Notes: In Bible times, God frequently changed people’s names to indicate their special calling, as was the case with Abram (Abraham) and Jacob (Israel).
Notes: The name of the other disciple is not stated. Most likely, he was John the son of Zebedee, the one who wrote this Gospel.
John 1:43-50 Jesus found Philip and said to follow Him. Philip in turn found Nathanael and told him that they found the Messiah from Nazareth. Nathanael was skeptical seeing that Nazareth was not considered a popular city.
When Nathanael approached Jesus, Jesus spoke the truth about Nathanael saying that He knew that Nathanael had an honest, seeking heart. Nathanael wondered how Jesus could know whether he was righteous or not. Jesus, in His reply to Nathanael about seeing him under the fig tree, convinced Nathanael that Jesus must be the Son of God for only God can see and know things (supernaturally).
Notes: Perhaps Nathanael had some significant or outstanding experience of communion with God at the location, and he was able to recognize Jesus’ allusion to it.
John 1:51 Truly, truly, I say to you is a solemn affirmation stressing the authoritative nature and importance of Jesus’ pronouncements.
Jesus marveled that Nathanael proclaimed Jesus to be King and the Son of God over such a small thing. Jesus revealed to Him that he was yet to see greater evidence to prove He was the Son of God when Nathanael and the other disciples would experience supernatural communication confirming who Jesus was. This refers to Jacob’s dream of the ladder, but Jesus reveals that He will be a greater way of access to God than the heavenly ladder on which angels traveled between God and Jacob and wherever Jesus is, that place will become the “New Bethel” where God is revealed. Moreover, Jesus, instead of the ladder, was the means of access between God and man.
“The Son of Man” is a messianic title that refers back to the mysterious, human-divine figure of “one like a son of man”in Dan. 7:13–14, one who would be given rule over all the nations of the earth forever (cf. Matt. 26:64). The Son of Man will be “lifted up” by being crucified (see note on John 3:14), will provide divine revelation (6:27), and will act with end-time authority (5:27; 9:39).