Focal Passage: John 1:1-14
One of the great blessings I experience each year is reading the Bible through. I particularly enjoy the chronological reading plan because it organizes the daily reading schedule according to when the events took place in history.
For example, the plan begins with Genesis 1-11 but then moves to Job before returning to Genesis 12-50. Most scholars believe that Job took place during the period between Genesis 11 and 12. It’s really interesting to read the entire Bible this way, especially how the Psalms and Prophets are organized.
However, I’ve always wondered why the chronological plan begins with Genesis 1 rather than John 1. Most would assume that Genesis 1 should come first because it documents creation, while John should come later because he introduces the life and ministry of Jesus. But in terms of true chronology, John 1 records details that took place much earlier than Genesis 1 – eternally earlier – because there we discover the existence of Jesus before anything else was created.
Therefore, not only does John’s Prologue give us a unique historical perspective on Jesus, but it gives us astonishing theological insights into His nature and ministry, which shape everything John wants us to know about Jesus in his Gospel. Let’s consider the two most important details that John 1:1-14 offers.
Jesus is God. There is no coincidence that John 1:1 reads similar to Genesis 1:1, but while Genesis describes God creating the universe, John describes Jesus (Word) being with God before creation took place. This detail is significant because it indicates that Jesus was never created. The Son has always existed in eternity with the Father and Holy Spirit in what theologians call the Trinity. John makes this clear in 1:1-2 by describing the Word being with God, being God, and creating as God.
Establishing this truth is critical because it explains how Jesus could perform the seven miraculous “signs,” such as turning water into wine, healing the sick, and raising the dead, and also how He could teach with unparalleled authority, forgive sins, live a perfect life, and become a sufficient sacrifice for sinners — elements that only God can possess. Therefore, from the beginning John wants us to know that Jesus is fully God.
Jesus is Man. However, after revealing that Jesus is God (1:1-2), John bookends the Prologue with an equally important truth: Jesus is fully man. He explains that the “Word became flesh and dwelt among us” (1:14). In what is known as the Incarnation, the eternal Son entered the fallen world, being born as a human.
But why couldn’t the Son merely descend from heaven and save sinners? Because in order for Jesus to be our true substitute on the cross, He had to be just as human as we are, yet without sin (Hebrews 4:15). John later records how Jesus experienced hunger, thirst, pain, exhaustion and even intense grief as he “wept” over Lazarus’ death (John 11:35).
However, while He experienced every difficulty and pain as all humans do, He remained sinless, giving Him the ability to take our place on the cross and fully satisfy the wrath of God (II Corinthians 5:21).
Therefore, from the beginning of John’s Gospel, he explains how Jesus existed in the beginning as God and established the beginning of our salvation. Soli Deo Gloria! B&R