How do you explain the meaning and purpose of John chapter one?


My suggestion is that you ought to find a good commentary on the book of John to help you answer this question.  You are probably asking too big a question for me to answer in brief form here.  Nevertheless, let me give you a very condensed version of what John 1:1-18 is about.

The first chapter of John is an introduction to Jesus Christ.  It is highly theological.  It is a statement of who Jesus is and why he came.  Who is Jesus according to this chapter?

1.  He is the word, the logos of God.  The Greek word logos has a much broader meaning than the English word "word."  It means word or expression or reason or rationality or knowledge.  Jesus is the expression of God.  He is the knowledge of God.  He is a statement about God.  John goes way beyond this.  He says that Jesus IS God.  Farther down in the chapter John says that the Word became flesh and lived for a while among us.  In other words, the logos took on human flesh and human nature and lived as a person in the realm of people.  God, in the form of his only son took on humanity.  John says that we have beheld his glory–the glory of the unique (only begotten) Son of God.  In other words, when we behold Jesus we are beholding God in his expression as the Son.

2.  What is the nature of Jesus?  One can say a lot from John 1, but the thing which sticks out to me is that Jesus came full of grace and truth.  Jesus is God and God (Jesus) is grace.  God is love.  God is not loving…..  God is love.  God is defined as grace/love.  Jesus is grace.  Jesus is full of grace.  Jesus is overflowing with grace.  At the same time, Jesus is truth.  Jesus did not just bring truth: he IS truth.  The life of Jesus is an expression of the truth.  It is not just that his words are true (they are) but his very life is truth.  How do we know what is true?  Look at Jesus and listen to his words.  How do we know what grace is?  Look at Jesus and marvel at his graciousness in his life and his ulitmate gracious act: dying on the cross.

3.  Jesus explains God.  It says in 1 John that Jesus came and lived for a while among us.  The Greek is actually that he tabernacled among us.  This reminds the Jews of the Feast of Tabernacles, when they went out from their homes and lived in little booths so as to  commune with God.  God lived among us.  We beheld his glory, the glory of the one and only Son.  When we see Jesus we see God.  If you want to know God, look at Jesus.

4.  The world (the universe… everything we can see and experience) was made by him–by Jesus.  (John 1:10, 1:3)

5.  John 1:4 Jesus is life and he is light.  He is the one who gives us life.  His life is the light for us.  It shows what is good and what is evil.  Jesus’ life shines in the darkness, exposing it.

6.  Jesus gives spiritual life.  Through Jesus we have the opportunity to becvome children of God and to inherit eternal life.

Bottom line, Jesus is God and in Jesus, God, the source of all truth, all life, and everything good came and dwelled among us so that we might have eternal life.

John Oakes

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