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He himself was not the light, but he came to testify to the light. The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. With , we move to material that many, including Brown, see as an explanatory insertion displaced from its original position prior to the material of ff. Isa ; ; ; cf. Matt As one commentator notes, the description of the light as "true" Gr.
He was in the world, and the world came into being through him; yet the world did not know him. He came to what was his own, and his own people did not accept him. But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God, who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God. Interpreters have understood b in a number of quite different ways. If the passage is read as referring to the Old Testament presence of the Logos among his people whether in the Torah or through divine spokespersons such as prophets and leaders , it forms a chronological bridge between the Creation strophe of and the Incarnation reported in Yet such a reading would interrupt the chronological sequence of the Prologue, since John the Baptist has already been mentioned in It would also seem to suggest that the final redactor rather surprisingly misunderstood b when he placed it here.
Moreover, the concept of sonship in the Old Testament is closely related to obedience and faithfulness, not merely to filial relationships themselves. John and recognition of the Incarnate Word among the Johannine circle as in the classic statement of On such a view, verses b parallel the career of Jesus e. The objection that such a reading of the poetic materials ignores Old Testament background material is not as telling as it first sounds, since both Phil and Col do much the same thing. This is a difficult problem, and both readings appear possible. If one sense must be chosen, the second proposal seems the stronger of the two, though it is also likely that the writer did not have the first very far from his mind.
Those who argue that the evangelist had a dual purpose, referring simultaneously both to the relationship of the Logos with creation and Israel, and to its Incarnation in the ministry of Jesus, may well be right. The word kosmos "world" , first introduced in , is now explained further, in a resumption of the staircase poetic structure from The word is repeated three times, in order to explain that the creation of and here particularly the human domain of that creation rather painfully and inexplicably rejected the Logos on his appearance.
In contrast to the Gnostic conception of " kosmos " as inherently evil in its very existence and origins, John has in view a qualitative or ethical interpretation of the kosmos both here and in reference to darkness Gr. The remainder of the middle section expands on this theme and narrows the focus of the "rejection" motif. The term "his own" Gr. The first reference in the neuter plural "that which was his own," NIV; "his own things," NRSV refers in a general way to the place which he has made, the creation. The second use is in the masculine plural, i. The section concludes on the note of hope, emphasizing the possibility for those who believe to be born anew and recreated through the same God who brought all of creation into being.
It should also be noted that the term "believe in" pisteuein eis is typically Johannine and appears almost 40 times in the Gospel, most often in connection with Jesus 31 times , and usually in reference to saving faith, as it does here in Many interpreters, including Brown, see as an editorial expansion of the original hymn on the basis of its apologetic interest and differing style, together with its focus on the believer, which contrasts with the Logos-centred emphasis of , and On the other hand, the content of 12c and 13 are closely connected and reinforced elsewhere in the Johannine writings cf.
The final section of the Prologue draws together the various elements introduced to this point. Attention now shifts to the centrality of the Incarnation and its implications. For the first time since , the term Logos , "Word," is restated, emphasizing the movement from the cosmological dimensions of the term in to the temporal experience and conviction of the present Johannine community.
Beasley-Murray takes this language to imply a flat rejection of any sort of docetism, whether ancient or modern. The meaning of "flesh" Gr. Bultmann has contended rather forcefully for the view that the flesh is significant as the only locus for the glory of the Logos, much of which thus remains in a certain hiddenness.
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This theme continues in prophetic literature Joel , Zech , Ezek , and is weighted with associations grounded in the entire history of the Old Testament covenant with Israel. This is another of the special terms that Brown identifies in the Fourth Gospel, occurring here 35 out of a total instances in the New Testament. Such images carry through into the apocalyptic New Testament hope Ezek , Rev , The word monogenous has long been translated "only begotten," an expression linked closely to Trinitarian procession theology.
The couplet "grace and truth" charitos kai aletheias ; also in contains the last of the richly connotative words employed in this decisive statement. The two terms echo the Hebrew pairing of "steadfast love" and "truth" Heb. A full consideration of these terms is beyond the scope of the present study. Nonetheless, the fact that for a third time the writer uses terminology that is of signal importance in Exodus cf.
The use of the present tense "testifies", Gr. The reference to John the Baptist roots the Prologue in the historical present, reinforcing the fact that the Incarnation has accomplished nothing less than to connect the eternal God with concrete people and events in human life and history that are immediately recognizable and significant to his audience.
Even more importantly, however, John bears witness to the pre-existence of Jesus "he was before me" and reinforces the contention of the Prologue that Jesus and the Logos are one and the same. From his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. The law indeed was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. It seems clear that no denigration of the Mosaic law is intended either in or elsewhere in the Gospel; instead, the focus is on the increasingly abundant grace Gr.
The double use of the word can imply accumulation and plenitude "one blessing after another," NIV or even replacement, with the idea of one reality superceding another. The human and historical identity of the Logos is here revealed for the first time, near the conclusion of the Prologue, in a form similar to the hymn of Philippians , where it is also similarly employed as a concluding, doxological, statement. No one has ever seen God. In one sense, John is concerned to juxtapose the eternal, supra-temporal realm of God with the historical realm that encompasses the everyday affairs of human beings, mere creatures of flesh and blood.
In so doing, the Prologue lays the foundation for the development of the "realized eschatology" of the Fourth Gospel. When, for example, John will later speak of life in the sense of " eternal " life, the Prologue has already established that in Jesus, the eternal God and source of life from the beginning is present is among men and women for that very purpose. The testimony of the writer is that in Jesus, God enters into all of the ambiguities, difficulties, and trials of the human condition: he comes to live among his people as one of them, revealing God first hand, and offering new life as the source of life from the beginning.
In another sense, there is also development in this description of the Logos as coming into steadily closer proximity to His people. Beginning in the realm of cosmology and ontology, the writer relates the Logos in turn to God , 2 ; creation ; the world and its response ; his own people 10, 11 ; his children ; a specific circle of disciples and witnesses ; and a particular historical person, Jesus Christ Finally, in v.
The Prologue addresses the contemporary reader in a number of respects. The Logos in whom "all things" were created is now the one who comes in human form for the redemption of that creation through his death and resurrection. It is in doing this that he is fully glorified. Here, then, is a clear statement of what Paul will explain further in Colossians "For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things.
In his now classic assessment, the British writer Harry Blamires has lamented the loss of "the Christian mind," arguing that Christians in this era have allowed the application of Christian truth to become too narrow. Instead, he says, we need to see that "to think Christianly is to accept all things with the mind as related, directly or indirectly, to [human] eternal destiny as the redeemed and chosen child of God.
The way to sharing in this intimacy with the Father and becoming children of God lies in believing Gr. For all its broad, cosmic scope, the Prologue presents a direct and personal question to readers of all times: will the one who reads believe, and share in the fullness of grace given by the One who has come from the Father to dwell alongside us? Brown, Raymond E. New York: Doubleday, Bultmann, Rudolf. The Gospel of John. Beasley Murray et al. Philadelphia: Westminster, Gerhard Kitte and Gerhard Friedrich; tr. Geoffrey Bromiley. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, Paul L.
It is abundantly clear that a sect which can translate the New Testament like that is intellectually dishonest. William Barclay. He was in the beginning with God : This again makes the point that the Father is distinct from the Son, and the Son distinct from the Father. They are equally God, yet they are separate Persons. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.
All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made : The Word created all things that were created. In Him was life : The Word is the source of all life — not only biological life, but the very principle of life. The life was the light of men : This life is the light of men , speaking of spiritual light as well as natural light. Therefore, without Jesus, we are dead and in darkness. We are lost. Significantly, man has an inborn fear towards both death and darkness. It is that that is required here.
There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. This man came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all through him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light.
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There was a man sent from God : John the Baptist bore witness of the light, that all through him might believe. The work of John the Baptist was deliberately focused on bringing people to faith in Jesus the Messiah. It was important for the John the Gospel writer to make it clear that John the Baptist was not that Light , but that He pointed towards and bore witness of that Light. The matter of witness is a serious thing, establishing truth and giving ground for faith. It commits a man.
If I take my stand in the witness box and testify that such-and-such is the truth of the mater I am no longer neutral. I have committed myself. John lets us know that there are those like John the Baptist who have committed themselves by their witness to Christ.
That was the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him. That was the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world : John did not mean that the Word gives this light to everyone in the ultimate, saving sense. He meant that the reason why anyone is born into a world with any love or care or goodness at all is because of the true Light and the light He gives to the world. The world did not know Him : This is strange.
God came to the same world He created, to the creatures made in His image, and yet the world did not know Him. This shows how deeply fallen human nature rejects God, and that many reject did not receive God word and Light. When the Word came to this world He did not come as an alien. He came home. And in the parable of the Wicked Husbandman our Lord represents them as killing the heir not in ignorance but because they knew him.
But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name : Though some rejected this revelation, others received Him and thereby became children of God. They became children of God through a new birth, being born… of God. We need to embrace and receive Him unto ourselves.
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As many as received Him is just another to say those who believe in His name. It is the empty cup placed under the flowing stream; the penniless hand held out for heavenly alms. Luke Not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God : John reminds us of the nature of the birth. Those who received Him are born of God, but not of human effort or achievement. The plural is curious…The plural here may point to the action of both parents, or it may refer to blood as made up of many drops.
This new birth is something that brings change to the life. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. It would have amazed both thinkers in both the Jewish and the Greek world to hear that the Word became flesh. The Greeks generally thought of God too low. To them John wrote: the Word became flesh. To ancient people, gods such as Zeus and Hermes were simply super-men; they were not equal to the order and reason of the Logos.
The Jews generally thought of God too high. To them John wrote: the Word became flesh and dwelt among us. Ancient Jews had a hard time accepting that the great God revealed in the Old Testament could take on human form. God has come close to you in Jesus Christ. Some think they go from place to place to try and find God, and continue their search.go here
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More commonly they stay at a place until God draws close to them — then they quickly move on. And dwelt among us : The idea behind this phrase is more literally, dwelt as in a tent among us. It could be stated, and tabernacled among us. The word is probably an allusion to the Divine Shechinah in the Jewish temple. We beheld His glory : John testified to this as an eyewitness, even as John the Baptist testified. It is not used of visions. John is speaking of that glory that was seen in the literal, physical Jesus of Nazareth.
It was full of grace and truth. In the person of Jesus Christ the immeasurable grace of God is treasured up. God is grace, and truth. Not one without the other. Not the other apart from the one. In His government there can be no lowering of the simple and severe standard of Truth; and there is no departure from the purpose and passion of Grace. For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him. He knew that Jesus was before him in every sense.
Men were humble about their own generation, and really thought that their fathers were wiser than they — incredible as this may sound to our generation! Of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace : This new order has an inexhaustible supply of grace grace for grace , the figure of speech similar to sorrows upon sorrows and truth, contrasting with an order of rigid laws and regulations given through Moses. Clearly John intends to put some emphasis on the thought of grace. Probably also he means that as one piece of divine grace so to speak recedes it is replaced by another.
Grace knows no interruption and no limit. For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ : This describes and demonstrates the fullness of grace announced by John the Baptist and brought by Jesus Christ.
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God the Word, Jesus Christ, brought a different order than the one instituted by Moses. No one has seen God at any time : Jesus, the Word, is the perfect declaration of the unseen God. The Father and the Son belong to the same family, and Jesus has declared the nature of the unseen God to man. Jesus has declared it with both His teaching and His life. The meaning is that no human has ever seen the essence of Deity. Are you Elijah? What do you say about yourself? Now this is the testimony of John : We have already learned that John the Baptist came for a witness John and Now we learn what his testimony regarding Jesus was.
I am not the Christ : With emphasis, John told the Jewish leaders who he was not. He did not come to focus attention on himself, because he was not the Messiah. His job was to point to the Messiah. In the Greek the word I is stressed by its position. It was important for John the Gospel writer to make clear to his readers that John the Baptist did not claim to be more than he was. It might be easy for the priests and Levites from Jerusalem to associate John with Elijah because of his personality and because of the promise that Elijah would come before the Day of the LORD Malachi John was careful to never say of himself that he was Elijah.
Yet Jesus noted that in a sense, John was Elijah, ministering in his office and spirit Matthew and Mark Are you the Prophet? In Deuteronomy God promised that another prophet would come in due time. Based on this passage, they expected another Prophet to come, and wondered if John was not he. It is He who, coming after me, is preferred before me, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to loose. His baptism prepared people, cleansing them for the coming King. He wanted to talk about his mission: to prepare the way for the Messiah.
It was an outgrowth of ceremonial washings, but only for Gentiles who wanted to become Jews. This was a genuine sign of repentance. There stands One among you whom you do not know. It is He who, coming after me, is preferred before me : John explained to the religious leaders that he was not the focus of his work, but the One who was already among them.
Who sandal strap I am not worthy to loose : To untie the strap of a sandal before foot washing was duty of the lowest slave in the house. Among Rabbis and their disciples, there was a teacher-student relationship that had the potential for abuse. It was entirely possible that a Rabbi might expect unreasonable service from their disciples. John said he was unworthy to do even this.
The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him : By most reckonings, this was after John baptized Jesus and after the 40 days of temptation in the wilderness. Jesus came back to see John in his baptizing work. And in this supposition there is not the slightest difficulty. At the dawn of His ministry, Jesus was greeted with words declaring His destiny — His sacrificial agony and death on the cross for the sin of mankind.
The shadow of the cross was cast over the entire ministry of Jesus. He proclaimed Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. Here, he says, is the reality of which all animal sacrifice was the symbol. In this one sentence, John the Baptist summarized the greatest work of Jesus: to deal with the sin problem afflicting the human race. Every word of this sentence is important. John said this as he saw Jesus coming toward him. As a preacher, John first saw Jesus himself and then told all his listeners to look upon Jesus, to behold him. The Lamb of God : John used the image of the sacrificial lamb, represented many times in the Old Testament.
Jesus is the perfect fulfillment of every time that image is displayed. Who takes away : The sense of the original combines the words to bear and to take away. Jesus bears sin, but in the sense of bearing them upon Himself and taking them away. The sin : Not the plural sins , but the singular sin — with the sense that that the entire guilt of humanity was collected into one and placed upon Jesus.