The Gospel of John is the account of the life of Jesus as written from the perspective of John, a disciple of Jesus. This entire account through these 21 chapters points us to the answer to all of God’s promises in the Old Testament.
This Bible starts with the story of Creation. God, the supreme ruler over all things, creating the world, bringing light into darkness and creating a world with all things necessary for humans to flourish.
We taught this at Camp Chisomo this summer in Malawi. We went through each day of creation, and talked about how God created the world to have everything mankind needed, right? Water, air, sky, sun, moon, trees, fish, birds, etc. When the world was ready, God made mankind last. And He made humans, US, in his image. He took the image of His perfect self and made us after that. That’s remarkable.
Mankind faced temptation, choosing the fulfillment of their desires over the commands of the One who created the world to have everything they needed. Because God is holy and perfect and our choice to fulfill our desires over the commands of the Almighty Creator result in us being sinful and imperfect, Perfect could no longer be in the presence of imperfect, in the same way that light and darkness cannot occupy the same space. So God cast mankind out of the garden, and since that moment, humans have been doing everything they can to find redemption in themselves, always trying to be better and bigger and stronger and prettier and smarter.
The Old Testament is a promise from God to restore His relationship with mankind. It’s stories of the fight for mankind to be saved, to be redeemed, but it’s the story of mankind trying to save themselves. Light and darkness cannot occupy the same space. Sin is darkness. We’re stuck in darkness. But darkness disappears when light is present. In the New Testament and in the Gospel of John, we see how that promise plays out. We see God answer the call.
John chapter 1.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
The first time I read this, and then the 11 times after that, I was unbelievably confused. But then, when I finally understood these verses, they painted the picture of creation. Because when we take out “word” and put in “Jesus”, it begins to make a lot more sense.
In the beginning was Jesus, and Jesus was with God, and Jesus was God. Jesus was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Jesus, and without Jesus was not anything made that was made. In Jesus was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
So this text lets us in on a fun fact: Jesus has been around from the beginning. With God, as God, all things were made. Water, air, sky, sun, moon, trees, fish, birds, etc. In Him, in Jesus, was life.
It also gives Jesus this neat title of “the light”. Because light shines into darkness. Darkness cannot overcome light. Light shines into darkness, and the coming of Jesus to a world of darkness does just that; light shines into darkness.
Skip down to verse 9.
“The light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, yet the world did not know him. He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, He gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor the will of the flesh nor the will of man, but of God.”
Throughout the entire Old Testament, God had promised to bring redemption to His people. There has never been a question of whether this world we live in is messed up. That’s evident. Everywhere you turn, this world is overflowing with problems. Wars and disease and poverty, lies, and corruption and selfishness. Even in our own beings, we KNOW our hearts long for something we can’t fill. We KNOW we are missing something. That’s why we struggle. Our home isn’t here—our home was meant to be back in the garden, in the presence of God where we had everything we needed. But sin entered and sin messed us up and sin separated us from the King of the Universe. Darkness ruled.
But the light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world.
Jesus was coming. Jesus promised redemption, and he came to save us from this messed up world. And even though prophets had spoken of him for thousands of years, that all eyes were open for the Messiah that God had promised, and Jesus fulfilled that promise, he was still rejected. He was still dismissed.
Continue on with me through this text.
“There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness about the light, the all might believe through him. He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light.”
John the Baptist came to “bear witness about the light”. It says he was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light.
That’s a pretty bold thing. John knows the answer, he knows the light, and has his eyes fixed on that. And he comes to the world and says “Hey. I am NOT the answer. I do NOT have it all together. But I can tell you Who does. I can tell you where I get my hope.”
If you jump down to verse 19, even when people asked John who he was, he boldly confessed he was not Jesus.
John the Baptist didn’t have it all together. And he never claimed to. But He always pointed back to the reason for what he did and why he did it. Through all of it, he pointed people to Jesus.
“Keep your eyes open. You’re going to want to see this. Don’t look AT me, look PAST me. Look past me to the one who is the reason I’m here.”
When we let the light of Jesus flood our lives, pushing back the darkness, we become transformed. When we push back the darkness in our lives, when we believe in His name, our lives our changed. Jesus gives the right for us to become children of God.
This semester, as we continue to go through the Gospel of John, we’re going to unpack how Jesus is the answer to the brokenness in the world. We’re going to see light be brought into darkness. We’re going to read about lives transformed by the grace of Jesus, and my prayers is that our lives are continually transformed by that also.