The Unappreciated Gift: John 1:1-18

Focus Passage: John 1:1-18 (GW)

In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was already with God in the beginning.

Everything came into existence through him. Not one thing that exists was made without him.

He was the source of life, and that life was the light for humanity.

The light shines in the dark, and the dark has never extinguished it.

God sent a man named John to be his messenger. John came to declare the truth about the light so that everyone would become believers through his message. John was not the light, but he came to declare the truth about the light.

The real light, which shines on everyone, was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and the world came into existence through him. Yet, the world didn’t recognize him. 11 He went to his own people, and his own people didn’t accept him. 12 However, he gave the right to become God’s children to everyone who believed in him. 13 These people didn’t become God’s children in a physical way—from a human impulse or from a husband’s desire to have a child. They were born from God.

14 The Word became human and lived among us. We saw his glory. It was the glory that the Father shares with his only Son, a glory full of kindness and truth.

15 (John declared the truth about him when he said loudly, “This is the person about whom I said, ‘The one who comes after me was before me because he existed before I did.’”)

16 Each of us has received one gift after another because of all that the Word is. 17 Laws were given through Moses, but kindness and truth came into existence through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has ever seen God. God’s only Son, the one who is closest to the Father’s heart, has made him known.

Read John 1:1-18 in context and/or in other translations on BibleGateway.com!

Of all the introductions to the gospels, the gospel of John stands out as especially unique. While Matthew opens with Jesus ancestry, Mark opens with a simple statement, and Luke opens with a reason for writing, John immediately points us back to the very, very beginning – and specifically on Jesus’ divinity.

While the language John uses is very simple, the concepts he describes are incredibly profound.

It is at the close of this introduction where a verse stands out to me as being incredibly profound – and it is a verse that we are tempted to miss or skim over when reading.

In verse 16, we read, “Each of us has received one gift after another because of all that the Word is.” While this is profound, John continues by describing the gifts he is referring to: “Laws were given through Moses, but kindness and truth came into existence through Jesus Christ.” (v. 17)

John describes the Law as a gift that God gave. While the Law was given through Moses, it originated because of the Word and it was given as a gift. God gave us life, He gave us the Law, and He didn’t stop there.

After describing the gift of the Law, John now introduces us to Jesus Christ – the Source of kindness and truth – who is another gift. God showed kindness towards us by sending Jesus to live among us. It is through this act that we see God is interested in having a relationship with us. John tells us that we can only see God’s true character by looking at Jesus – and Jesus is the Source of all kindness and truth.

We could also parallel this by saying that Jesus is the Source of both God’s Love and God’s Law. Jesus balanced perfect love with perfect obedience to the Law that was given through Moses.

John summarizes one reason we need Jesus by saying, “No one has ever seen God. God’s only Son, the one who is closest to the Father’s heart, has made him known.” (v. 18)

The message John gives is simple: If you want to know what God is like, simply look at Jesus. Jesus is the only way we can truly see God’s character, and in Jesus, we can see how God balances the gifts of law and love.

This thought was inspired by studying the Walking With Jesus "Reflective Bible Study" package. To discover insights like this in your own study time, click here and give Reflective Bible Study a try today!

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