How can the unchangeable God take on a human body, subject to change? John 1:18 states that Jesus is the Father’s “only begotten Son,” and μονογενης (monogenes), the original Greek word translated “only begotten,” literally means “one of a kind” - i.e., “unique” or “incomparable” - and NOT that God the Father existed before Jesus. 4 In him was life; and the life was the light of men. Because it captures the heart, meaning, and benefits of the Christmas story in … Continue reading "Commentary on John 1:1-14" What does John 1:1 mean? John 1:17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. Exploring the Story To get at the significance of John’s poetic witness to the Word, we might be well served by employing some of the questions of journalism, sometimes known as the “five W’s.”. Question: "What does it mean that the Word became flesh (John 1:14)?" In the beginning--of all time and created existence, for this Word gave it being ( John 1:3 John 1:10); therefore, "before the world was" ( John 17:5 John 17:24); or, from all eternity. 3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. Even though many, including many who were close to him, did not recognize in Jesus what God was accomplishing, all those who do recognize and receive him are invited to become God’s own children. 1. To determine the time frame I began by seeking to understand the meaning of the Greek word translated as … He [this Word is a person] was in the beginning with God. John has used two words to describe Jesus: Word and light. How can the man, Jesus, whom John saw, also be the eternal Creator of the universe? And the Word, &c. — And in order to raise us, sinful creatures, to this dignity and happiness, the Divine and Eternal Word, by a most amazing condescension; was made flesh — That is, united himself to our inferior and miserable nature, with all its innocent infirmities. 1. A preacher might explore the importance of light, for Christmas, for our lives. However you choose to celebrate this day and preach this passage, however, know that Christ came for you, for you and all of us, that we might have life…and have it abundantly. The Word Became Flesh. Who? What? “In the beginning” should stir up biblical resonances, particularly that what follows will have something to do with creation. The threefold claim, “in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” reveals the origin of Jesus, his relationship with God, and his identity as God. In particular, carols like “Of the Father’s Love Begotten,” “Love Came Down at Christmas,” “Cold December Flies Away,” and “Lo, How a Rose is Blooming” can accompany some of the more familiar Christmas carols and accent our reflection on all that God has accomplished through Christ. 2 He was with God in the beginning() 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made() 4 In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. Christmas is, that is, the day we celebrate our birth as children of God, the keeping of all God’s promises, and the beginning of the restoration of all creation. This primordial Word, which was in the beginning with God, a partner in creation, in relationship with God and who is God, has now become human. John begins like this: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. What is John doing here anyway? It can mean to comprehend or grasp mentally, or it can mean to overcome or take hold of something in the sense of mastering it physically. Note the freedom John imbues this invitation with: Children born not of blood (we will not be subject to the frailties of human flesh forever), or of the will of the flesh (we are more than our desires), or of the will of humans (we will not always be subject to whim and will of others). We might therefore take a clue from John not only about what to preach on Christmas day, but also how. It is also featured in the new ebook, “Preaching Year A with Anna Carter Florence,” which is available for download from Luther Seminary. 45 And b whoever c sees me sees him who sent me. Not just in a manger long ago, but here, today, now! Blessed Christmas. Everything a child needs from a parent, for survival, protection, to be sustained and nurtured, to grow and mature is what God provides. From 1:19 to almost the end of chapter 12 the public ministry of Jesus is the focus of attention. 44 And Jesus cried out and said, z “Whoever believes in me, believes not in me but a in him who sent me. That is, given the “high mass” feel of many of our Christmas Eve services, we have an opportunity today to contemplate more quietly the profound mystery of the Incarnation, the doctrine at the heart of Christmas and to which John gives poetic witness. That is, what’s happening? Singing Praise to the Word John may not know much about the details of the Christmas story, but he does know about the heart and soul of the Incarnation: that because Jesus, the very embodiment of God’s grace (verse 16) takes on human flesh we are granted the chance to know the unknowable God (verse 18) and recognize ourselves as those children beloved of God. 1. John 1:14 says, "And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth." The first eighteen verses of John's gospel not only introduce Jesus, they counter false spiritual beliefs. However, though those main sections ar… Jesus, according to John, has been a part of creation from the very beginning. John 1:9-13 suggest that just as Jesus is a child of God, so are we. John 1:14 is one of the most wonderful and yet unfathomable verses in the Bible! There is no word within the original Greek verse that can be translated to "son." However, John tells us that the story of Jesus goes back a long time before Jesus' birth as a human. From all appearances, it would seem that John knows next to nothing about angels or shepherds, stars or magi. was made that has been made. Answer: The answer to this question is found by first understanding the reason why John wrote his gospel. Christmas is Jesus as a child and is who we are. This passage is packed with meaning and metaphor, and perhaps can best be understood less as doctrine and more as poetic testimony to the light, life, and living Word of God. Why, then, this particular reading as an option for Christmas Day? John 2:11 What Jesus did here in Cana of Galilee was the first of the signs through which he revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him. That is, the entirety of the Gospel will show what grace looks like, tastes like, smells like, sounds like, and feels like. This agrees with John the Baptist's words in John 1:15, Christ's own words in John 3:13, and Paul's words in Colossians 1:17. He is, ultimately more interested in our birth, our new birth as children of God. Verse 5 has been a topic of ongoing debate for Johannine scholars with regard to pinpointing the moment of the incarnation, either here or in John 1:14, “the Word became flesh.” The fact that the incarnation of God is first presented as light shining in darkness evokes the creation story in Genesis. He begins it with our birth - the birth of humans. John 1:14 does not contain the word "son" Even so, the word "son" in John 1:14 was inserted by sectarian translators long after the original Gospel of John was penned. John 1:18 – The only begotten God = “The Only Begotten Magistrate” (Monogeneés Theós) John 1:1 “At first … En archeé . We had to have a literal physical birth, into a literal physical world if we are to become literal, physical descendants of Adam, who was the first literal physical man. Another verse in this prologue to the Gospel makes a similarly bold statement of Jesus' full divinity, which we'll discuss in due course. We find his purpose clearly stated in John 20:30-31. How can God, who is spirit, become human flesh? Christmas as the light shining in the darkness. “From his fullness” (John 1:16) has the sense of the “sum total,” “complete,” and can also connote “superabundance.” The word “grace” is used only four times in the Gospel of John (1:14, 16, 17) and only in the Prologue. Christ is the Logos, the definition, the meaning, the "Word" of God. John 8:32 Because the world that has fallen into darkness needs light! To be a child of God is a literal claim for the Fourth Gospel. (For a more thorough explanation of the function and use of the Greek article (and meaning of its absence), see ‘Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics’, by Daniel Wallace . Yet now God is getting more personally involved, as the very Word of God takes on human flesh and dwells — literally, “tabernacles” — with us in our own human form. From all appearances, it would seem that John knows next to nothing about angels or shepherds, stars or magi. Why, then, this particular reading as an option for Christmas Day? “The Word became flesh” states most clearly the theological promise of John. John knows he is playing for high stakes. This verse does not say, “In the beginning was Jesus.” “The Word” is not synonymous with Jesus, or even “the Messiah.” The word logos in John 1:1 refers to God’s creative self-expression—His reason, purposes and plans, especially as they are brought into action. John 1:1-14.THE WORD MADE FLESH. Jesus as a baby cannot devolve into sentimentality but has everything to do with its promise for us. He was with God in the beginning. One of these errors is that idea that Jesus was only a mirage, or an illusion. Rather, we are children of God, restored to God’s intention in creation. was the Word--He who is to God what man's word is to himself, the manifestation or expression of himself to those without him. (22-24) Answering the question of Judas (not Iscariot). This verse was taken from the "Gospel of John." Therefore, John 17:3 cannot be interpreted in a way that disagrees with other scriptures. John 1:1 means that, unlike all other mortals, whose life begins when semen fertilizes an egg, Jesus lived before His conception by the Holy Spirit in Mary's womb. Christmas is not over when the trees are put out to the curb. And so God comes prepared to struggle, light against darkness, day against night. Because it captures the heart, meaning, and benefits of the Christmas story in a nutshell. D. John 1:1-14 – “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was. Comments vs 1-4 John first expresses his affection for Gaius in view of his spiritual maturity.In view of the fact that John identifies him as one of his children, it is possible that he lead him to Christ. What does John 1:1 mean? Where and when? So, it seems that by the Greek grammatical structure in this statement, John is indicating that the Word (Jesus Christ - John 1:14) is the same essence and nature as God the Father. Christmas is just getting started for those who confess Jesus as God who has become flesh. How can the eternal become temporal? Question: "What do John 1:1,14 mean when they declare that Jesus is the Word of God?" 1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. All of us, as new creation means new possibility for everyone! The dwelling of God is a deeply intimate, personal claim and assumes God’s commitment to and continuity with God’s people. We see that Jesus is called God in John 1:1, 14; 8:58; 20:28; Col. 2:9; and Heb. John takes the same approach. Goodness, he doesn’t appear even to know the name of Jesus’ mother! Imagine Psalm 97 as the psalmist’s Christmas sermon. A preacher could focus on any of the themes outlined below to create a meaningful Christmas sermon. Once the Word becomes flesh, grace is then incarnated in the rest of the Gospel. The Prologue to John’s Gospel is John’s birth story of Jesus. By giving God, the Son, the title “Word”, the scriptures are conveying the truth that Jesus is the very speech of God—he is the Wisdom and Will of God, and he is the image of … According to John, that is, Christmas is not really Jesus’ birthday at all; rather, it is ours. Professor and the Marbury E. Anderson Chair of Biblical Preaching, A resource for the whole church from Luther Seminary, The text from Second Isaiah follows closely on Christmas Eve’s reading from First Isaiah though historically they are situated far apart.1, The Christmas season always seems like a time to sing the good old songs.1, Many religious and ethnic communities have intricate celebrations for the declaration of a new family member’s name.1. AN Irish trawler was barred from fishing in UK waters by a patrol boat in the first post-Brexit fishing clash. For John, God in becoming flesh in Jesus has committed God’s self not only to revealing what God’s grace looks like, but that God wants to know it and feel it as well. This is the not first time God has “gotten involved” in human history, of course. [⇑ See verse text ⇑] A critical part of the gospel is the fact that Jesus was truly, fully, physically human. Commentators explain away John’s presence as a later interpolation that does not belong in such a majestic narration of Jesus’ origins and identity. While John 1:1-14 is the appointed Gospel lesson for Christmas Day (Proper III), I prefer to preach on the first 18 verses.1. Now that we have seen the correct translation of the verse of John 1:1, let us go a little further in our study of the intended meaning of this verse. A resource for the whole church from Luther Seminary. The Prologue to John’s Gospel is John’s birth story of Jesus. Like the author of Genesis, John too is talking about creation, God’s new creation in Christ, the Word of God made flesh. John 1:1 is the first verse in the opening chapter of the Gospel of John.In the Douay–Rheims, King James, Revised Standard, New International, and other versions of the Bible, the verse reads: . This commentary was adapted from one first published on this site on Jan. 4, 2015. Last night’s Old Testament lesson came from First Isaiah (chapters 1-39) that covers roughly the 40-year period of the latter half of the Eighth century. 2 The same was in the beginning with God. The verb “overcome” can be translated “grasp” or “seize,” and has connotations of “comprehending.” Festivals of light are essential in the darkest days of the year and so Christmas originated as a celebration that could rival Saturnalia (See Forbes, Christmas: A Candid History). Through him all things were made; without him nothing. That struggle is captured in the future perfect of John’s grammatical construction, rendering verse 5: “The light shines on in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”. But John was not teaching modalism. God has been reborn into the world, now as God’s creating Word in the flesh. 5 And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not. John’s prologue is, in many ways, a hymn to the Word, the Word that created in the beginning, created again in Jesus, and still creates when anyone receives Jesus in faith. 1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. It refers to … After all, think of the chutzpah it takes to begin your gospel by repeating the opening line of Scripture itself! Verse Thoughts As members of the human race we have to be born into the human family. Originally Answered: What do John 1:1,14 mean when they declare that Jesus is the Word of God? [⇑ See verse text ⇑] The first verse of John establishes several important facts, and introduces an important term. 6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. Light; Let's look at John 1:4 again. The very best person to ask to explain what is meant by a given statement is the author of that statement himself. Preach the promise of Christmas that puts us in the manger with Jesus and helps us sense the dependence of Jesus as that which we have on God. This is Christmas preaching. God has been at work in the world through covenant, law, judges, kings, and prophets. Yet the presence of John here, particularly for our Christmas preaching, suggests that a critical response to Christmas is witness. Verse Thoughts The apostle John lays out some important historical and doctrinal truths in the first section of his gospel - so that we may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God - so that by believing, we may have life in His name. Chapters 13-17 focus in on the last few hours of Jesus with his disciples. Why? The large building blocks John used for the construction of his gospel are fairly easy to identify. This is the gift of Christmas, and it deserves our full attention on this day and, indeed, throughout the year. John 1:1 – Was the Word = “the news spread” (eén ho lógos) 3. While John 1:1-14 is the appointed Gospel lesson for Christmas Day (Proper III), I prefer to preach on the first 18 verses. John 1:14. The next verses (1:2-4) secure Jesus’ role as creator with God. The "Word" here is the Greek term Logos, indicating the entirety of a message, akin to a concept or an idea. The themes we have come to know for Christmas preaching are certainly present in how John begins his gospel. Or, better, who is affected by this? This is the gift of Christmas, a new identity, a new opportunity, a new humanity, all through God in Christ. Answer: The term word is used in different ways in the Bible. As the angel explained to Mary (Luke 1:35), “… The themes we have come to know for Christmas preaching are certainly present in how John begins his gospel. Furthermore, God has chosen to recreate God’s very self in Jesus. But in spite of the incomprehensible mystery, this is what the Bible declares. But perhaps not, for Paul mentions in 1Cor 1:14 of baptizing a man called Gaius.Perhaps John played a major role in discipling the man. Goodness, he doesn’t appear even to know the name of Jesus’ mother! Jesus is referred to as "The Word," from the Greek word logos. Perhaps this is why John gives such scant attention to the details of Jesus’ birth. John could have put an article in front of God, the verse could have been rendered, ‘God was the Word.’ Thus rendering God and Word interchangeable, hence, teaching modalism. Chapters 18 and 19 deal with the crucifixion and chapters 20 and 21 with the resurrection and resurrection appearances. 1 John 4:21). God. John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. Perhaps, in this regard, a short sermon is best, surrounded by the carols of Christmas that give voice, as John does, to the mystery and grace of God’s revelation. The first verse of John 1 is deceptively complex. The Letter to Titus gives us none of Christmas’s usual fare. 1:8. ANSWER: John 1:1 read: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." In this verse, John is communicating that Jesus (the Word) is the entire message, the complete message, God wanted to send to earth. The introduction of John in the next verses, not the Baptist but the Witness, is a rather strange interlude in this cosmic birth story. This is the first of John's seven names for Jesus: "The Word." A great deal has been written about John's use of logos here, but essentially, in verse 1 John is saying that Jesus in the flesh is the very Expression of God Himself, and that this Jesus IS God himself -- a very bold statement indeed to begin John's Gospel. What does John 1:1,14 mean when it says that Jesus is the Word of God? While the NRSV translates the verse, “and lived among us” the verb here is skenoo, “to tent” or “to tabernacle.” Most readers of the Gospel of John will be familiar with the translation “and dwelt among us.” The verb can also be translated, “took up residence” and thus Peterson’s The Message, “moved into the neighborhood.”. John begins the story of Jesus at the beginning of our time. To ‘have’ commandments is an unusual expression and does not seem to be exactly paralleled (though cf. Third, John 17:3 must be examined in the light of the totality of scripture. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome  it This Gospel imagines that every single aspect of the parent–child relationship is operative in our relationship with God. Moreover, in the Word made flesh and dwelling among us, now God not only goes where God’s people go, but is who they are. In the New Testament, there are two Greek words translated "word": rhema and logos.They have slightly different meanings. 46 d I have come into the world as light, so that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness. John is really saying, “Let’s explore the meaning of Christmas.”. What occurs now is that God’s eternal Word — God’s Reason, Order, and very Being — is coming down to earth to take on human flesh. The meaning appears to be to make the commandments one’s own, to take them into one’s inner being.” (Morris) 4. CHAPTER 1. 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