Hey, I’m so glad you’ve found your way back. In my previous post about where to start reading the Bible, I mentioned that the book of John was a really good starting point. John tells the story of Jesus and allows us to really get to know His character and what He stood for.
If you’ve never read the Bible before, this really is the best place to start. Ultimately God sent Jesus into the world so that we could get to know Him. So that we could know how much He loves us and we could be convinced to love Him.
If you haven’t read Where to start reading the Bible, I really recommend you head there first. In that post we looked into the background of the book of John. Where it was written, who wrote it and why?
And once you’re armed with that knowledge come back here so we can dive into the book of John together.
The Story of Jesus
We discussed that the author, John, was a really close friend of Jesus. He knew Jesus intimately and was an eye witness to most of Jesus’ 3 year ministry.
John is therefore a first hand account of the life and ministry of Jesus.
It’s like getting all the details of what He did and why He did it from His best friend! Who would have known Jesus better than the disciple to whom He was closest?
John Chapter 1 starts with this:
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
Now, on first reading, that may sound a bit confusing. I remember reading it for the first time and thinking “Golly, what on earth was that all about!? But here’s a trick. Read that again and try replacing the word Word with Jesus.
You see, Jesus was there in the beginning. And as hard as it is for some to understand, Jesus is God and it is through Him that all things were made.
God sent his son Jesus to us, in the flesh, so that His truth could be revealed to us. Jesus coming to earth, His working and teaching and living and dying and His resurrection were all so that we could discover who God is and what His plan for us is.
Throughout the old testament, God was faithful to the Israelites. He tried time and time again to get them to live the way the people of God were intended, but they kept getting it wrong. Jesus was Gods rescue plan. God sent a bit of Himself, Jesus, into the world to rescue us and to show us how we should live.
It really becomes clear that the Word is Jesus in verse 14 where John tells us that the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
Jesus came as a witness to the truth and He was the truth (John 14:6) so that we could all know and understand God and his plan.
John the Baptist
John chapter 1 verse 6-34 then introduces John the Baptist. The fact that the author and the subject have the same name might be a little confusing but know that these are not the same person. For this reason I will continue to call him John The Baptist so as not to confuse him with John the author of the book of John. 🙂
John the Baptist was also Jesus’ cousin and the story and circumstances surrounding his birth can be found in Luke chapter 1. John the Baptists birth was foretold by an angel to his father, Zechariah, in Luke 1:11. This angel also said that John the Baptist would be great in the sight of the Lord and that he would prepare people for the coming of the Lord.
So before John the Baptist was born, it was foretold that he was sent to tell people of the coming Messiah and to warn them to repent and to be baptised and to be ready. People were drawn to him and his teaching and John, the author, tells how John the Baptist baptised many people at Bethany.
So, John the Baptists mission was to point people towards the coming Messiah.
John the Baptist preached and baptised people at the river. He must have been a pretty charismatic man as it seems he was able to convince a lot of people to be on the lookout for Jesus.
John adamantly told the priests and Levites (these were the Jewish leaders in the day) that he himself was neither the Messiah nor the prophet and that he was simply one calling out for people to follow the Lord. He said about himself, “I am the voice of one calling in the wilderness, make straight the way for the Lord”.
One day, as John the Baptist was baptising people in the river, he saw Jesus approaching. He recognised Him immediately as the Messiah and said “Look, the Lamb of God” and in verse 34 “I have seen and I testify that this is God’s Chosen One!”
Oh how wonderful it must have been for John the Baptist to finally see Jesus. The Messiah that he had been talking about and waiting for all his life. He then testifies that he saw the Spirit of God, in the form of a dove, come down and rest on Jesus and he reveals that God has told him that this is Jesus.
Jesus Calls His Disciples
The rest of chapter 1 is pretty self explanatory. You can read here about how Jesus found his disciples and got them to follow Him. Somehow these men knew, on meeting Jesus, that He was the long awaited Messiah. Jesus must have been pretty incredible for them to pick up, leave everything behind and follow Him.
The last few verses talk about Nathanael. When he is told about Jesus, Nathanael is a bit scathing. He says “can anything good come from Nazareth?” But when Jesus approaches Nathanael, he identifies him as an Israelite and tells Nathanael that he knew he had been sitting under a fig tree before. Nathanael is amazed! He immediately declares “Rabbi, you are the son of God!” To which Jesus replies “You believe because I told you I saw you under the fig tree. You will see greater things than that!”
And that brings us to John chapter 2, where we see some of these greater things! Here we will start to really know Jesus and to read about His miracles.
I’ll see you really soon.