The Gospel According to John: Chapter 1

The Gospel According to John: Chapter 1
Purpose - "Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.”

John 1:1 NIV: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” 


What's the word? The Word is Jesus Christ. So how can Jesus be with God but also be God? To answer, we must understand The Trinity. Jesus is God and Jesus has a relationship with God (the Father). We're later introduced to the Holy Spirit. Three persons in one divine essence or being. John knew Jesus very well. We'll unravel what Jesus taught and did. This book is about the work of Jesus Christ.

John 1:2-3 NIV: "He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.”


Jesus was in the beginning with God. There is a creator and created. Everything made, has been made by Jesus. We go back to One God in 3 persons in a perfect relationship. This is the character and nature of God, the Trinity. Out of His love God made us in His image. We are made for relationships! All things created were through Him and for Him. This applies to you and I. You were created on purpose through Him and for Him. The things of this world can't satisfy us because it's not what we were created for.

John 1:4-5 NIV: ​​"In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”


In the beginning, in Jesus, was life. God gathers the dust of the earth and creates mankind. God is face to face with Adam and breathes the breath of life into him. When Adam opens his eyes, he sees his maker. This light has been imprinted within us from the very beginning Darkness is a life without Jesus. You can’t defeat anxiety, fear, depression, addiction, need for approval, etc. alone. If you could, we would all be perfect. The light is Jesus Christ. By putting your faith in Him, He will open your eyes to see that darkness cannot overcome the light.

John 1: 6-8 NIV: ​​"There was a man sent from God whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all might believe. He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light.”


We go from talking about light to John. John was a human just like you and I. He emphasizes that human witnesses to Christ are necessary so that ALL might believe. John was not the light, but came to bear witness to the light. This should be our job description as Christians. We must make little of ourselves and much of Him. God isn't just involved in sending Jesus, but involved in sending us as humans to be a voice, so that ALL might believe. "Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word" (Romans 10:17)

John 1:9-10 NIV: ​​"The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him.'


We jump back into talking about the light. Were reminded that the true light is Jesus Christ. As Jesus, God was a human in the world. The people of the world don't recognize Jesus as God, nor the creator. In fact, they reject Him. This applies so much in today's world yet God has given so many reasons for mankind to believe. For those who want to know or believe in Him, there's more than enough evidence. It takes recognizing who Jesus was to put your faith in Him.

John 1:11-12 NIV: ​​"He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God-”


Jesus came to the people of Israel, the one place that should have recognized Him. Israel had been beaten down by Rome and should have been eager to welcome Him. Instead, He was rejected, hated, beaten, and eventually killed by those same people although some reject Him, He gives anyone and everyone the privilege to be adopted into the family of God. It is by our faith in His name, not our work, but the work He did. Believing in His name is to believe Jesus is God, the creator of the world, who came into the world as a human, to pay the ultimate sacrifice for our sin. It starts with faith.

John 1:12-13 NIV:Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.”


We include verse 12 again because it’s so important. It’s not about what we’ve done, it’s about who has received Him. He gives us ALL the right to become children of God. Let’s not make light of this and say it’s easy because it isn’t. However, it starts with hearing God’s Word. Through that, the Holy Spirit convicts and changes our heart. We realize the things of this world can only bring us temporary fulfillment, peace, and freedom. We become born of God when we understand we’re all sinners in need of a savior and put our faith in Him. Following Him in new life will bring true fulfillment, peace, and freedom.

John 1:14 NIV: “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”


An important part of the Gospel is that Jesus became a physical human being. He came down from heaven to know us, love us, and go through the things that you and I go through. He knows how we feel. He’s been let down, lied to, and tempted just like we have. He’s not just some distant God that can’t relate to us. He becomes a human being, just like you and I, and lives a life without sin. We see Jesus’ grace and truth at the cross. He pays the ultimate penalty of death by crucifixion in our place.

John 1:15-16 NIV:  (John testified concerning him. He cried out, saying, “This is the one I spoke about when I said, ‘He who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’ ”) Out of his fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given.”


John was sent to tell people about Jesus. This is the fourth time that the author wants us to know Jesus is eternal. John makes less of himself and more of Jesus here.

We receive grace upon grace fully poured out at the cross. We see the fullness of truth in that you and I are sinners. All sin must be paid for and God makes payment for that sin by making Him, who is without sin, to be sin for us. Jesus dies on the cross to take the penalty for our sin. ANYONE who believes that when Christ died on the cross that it counted for them, you are saved.

Grace is a common theme in the Gospel, and is defined as unmerited favor. There is nothing that we can do to earn it, all Jesus requires is that we accept Him. John emphasizes this here by making himself less, and Jesus more. Jesus’ life and work on the cross is the ultimate example of God’s faithfulness to his people (all). (Keeping this for future reference/use on website)

John 1:17-18 NIV: For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known.”


Moses gave us the law from God. The ten commandments and following have a few purposes. The law shows us how to live righteously but also makes us realize that we can’t do it on our own. The law makes us realize the importance of the work done on the cross. We no longer have to live under “the law”, or try to earn God's favor, because it has already been done. As outdoorsmen, we can see God every day in his creation. However, the Son is the only human to ever physically see God. What a blessing that this is the same person who speaks on behalf of all believers to the Maker of the universe! 

John 1:19-20 NIV: Now this was John’s testimony when the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem sent priests and Levites to ask him who he was. He did not fail to confess, but confessed freely, “I am not the Messiah.”


Some wondered if John was the Messiah. John was a witness concerning Jesus, who gains his first disciples. Although John seemed to have it going on and made others curious, he confesses freely that he is not Jesus. There’s a buzz around what John is doing yet he continuously denies being the Messiah. It’s not about Him, it’s about Jesus. John explains who he himself is in the following verses but we first see him make less of himself. 

John 1:21 NIV:They asked him, “Then who are you? Are you Elijah?” 

He said, “I am not.” 

“Are you the Prophet?”

He answered, “No.”


John continues to make less of himself. He doesn’t claim to be anybody of importance. It’s so easy with social media to make it seem like we’re someone we’re not. We build up a great page of our life’s highlights to show the world we’re important. For what reason? Instant self-gratification. John denies being the most important thing in this world while we accept anything and everything that boosts our self-confidence. As believers, we must make less of ourselves and more of God. 

John 1:22-23 NIV: Finally they said, “Who are you? Give us an answer to take back to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?”

John replied in the words of Isaiah the prophet, “I am the voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way for the Lord.’ ”


How do you define yourself? John doesn’t define himself by what he does but by his relationship to Jesus. God’s purpose for our lives is not to point people to us, it’s to point people to Jesus. Do things with your life so that people ask, “who are you?”. Not to make more of you, but so that then you can point people to Him! There’s so much more peace and freedom when we realize the truth. We can’t carry the weight of this world’s expectations if we think it revolves around us. Use your life to point people to Jesus.

John 1:24-25 NIV: Now the Pharisees who had been sent questioned him, “Why then do you baptize if you are not the Messiah, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?”


The Pharisees were ones who knew the rules but didn’t know about the relationship with God. God loves us enough to entrust us with His saving message. The Bible tells us that all believers are “saints” or representatives of God. That's a massive responsibility. If you were the only representative of God somebody knew, how would your life speak to His message? Would it turn them towards or away from Christ? This will tie in with John's response in tomorrow's devotion.

John 1:26-28 NIV:  “I baptize with water,” John replied, “but among you stands one you do not know. He is the one who comes after me, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie.” This all happened at Bethany on the other side of the Jordan, where John was baptizing.


Here John explains that he does not claim to have saving power, but he is simply carrying out the picture of Jesus. He’s a voice leading people to Jesus and baptizing those who have put their faith in Jesus. John continues to make little of himself by mentioning that he’s not even worthy to untie Jesus’ sandals. He puts himself on the bottom of the totem pole. John is living out his life serving God just as we are all called to do as believers. 

John 1:29 NIV: “The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!”


This is the highlight of John the Baptist’s testimony. John is baptizing in the Jordan River when Jesus approaches. We look to Matthew 3:13-17 to where His baptism takes place. John is finally able to point people physically to Him. In verses ahead, we’ll see that John’s two disciples leave him and follow Jesus. This is what John’s witness is supposed to do. He’s leading people to Jesus.  

John bridges the gap between the old testament and new with  “Lamb of God”. To take a deeper dive into this verse, see the linked article below.

John 1:30-31 NIV: “This is the one I meant when I said, ‘A man who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’ I myself did not know him, but the reason I came baptizing with water was that he might be revealed to Israel.”


John the Baptist points out that Jesus is “the one”. John’s entire mission was to make a path for Him. He reiterates Jesus’ divinity again by saying “he was before me”. John states that he didn’t know him but goes on to explain his reasoning for baptizing, so that Christ would be revealed to Israel.  

John 1:32-34 NIV:  Then John gave this testimony: “I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on him. 33 And I myself did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’ 34 I have seen and I testify that this is God’s Chosen One.”


John testifies about Jesus. After John  baptized Jesus, he saw the Spirit come down on Him and remain on Him in the form of a dove. Relating back to the Old Testament, the Spirit would come upon someone to help them accomplish a task assigned by God. The dove descending upon Jesus was God’s sign to John that Jesus was the Messiah. 

The Holy Spirit is just as important as God and Jesus in the Trinity. To learn more about the Spiriting, see linked article!

John 1:35-37 NIV: “The next day John was there again with two of his disciples. When he saw Jesus passing by, he said, “Look, the Lamb of God!” When the two disciples heard him say this, they followed Jesus.”


Jesus is “the Lion and the Lamb”. Lambs were significant before Christ because they were sacrificed to pay for sins in the church, as well as at Passover, a Jewish holiday. Jesus is “like a lamb led to the slaughter”, because he, the sinless one, bore the punishment for our sins himself. This was the ultimatum of Jesus’ life on Earth. 

John 1:38-39 NIV: Turning around, Jesus saw them following and asked, “What do you want?”

They said, “Rabbi” (which means “Teacher”), “where are you staying?”

“Come,” he replied, “and you will see.”

So they went and saw where he was staying, and they spent that day with him. It was about four in the afternoon.


God calls us to be bold, leaders, providers, and lights in this world. When you are these things, people will notice, and some will want to know more. Jesus lived a life far different than anyone else, and people noticed! Be different and use your life to point others towards God. It's what we are created to do!

John 40-41 NIV: “Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, was one of the two who heard what John had said and who had followed Jesus. The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, “We have found the Messiah” (that is, the Christ).”


Andrew’s first action after following Jesus is to go and find his brother Simon. As followers, this is what we are commanded to do. We are to bring people to Jesus. When we find a good hunting spot, don’t we often like to bring our friends? If we’re able to do that, why is it so hard to bring people to Jesus? If our purpose is to share with others about Him, why are we quick to be passive about Him?

John 1:42 NIV: “And he brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon son of John. You will be called Cephas” (which, when translated, is Peter).”

‭‭John‬ ‭1:42‬ ‭NIV‬‬


A name change for Simon is pretty alarming. There’s no following explanation in the text but when interpreting scripture, we learn that Peter means “the rock” when translated (Matthew 16:18). Jesus is saying he’s going to call him by what God is going to do through him, not what this world has done to him. The same will happen to us when we get to heaven. The things this world calls us will not have an eternal effect. We see that promise in Revelation (2:17).

John 1:43 NIV: “The next day Jesus decided to leave for Galilee. Finding Philip, he said to him, “Follow me.””


Jesus finds Philip with a simple invitation, “follow me.” It was not common for rabbis to invite people to follow them. In the first century, it took a lot of schooling and knowledge to follow a rabbi, it was an honor. Jesus is different and goes and picks his people as they are. Philip does nothing to earn this honor of following Jesus. This is good news for us too. There’s no test you have to take or amount of knowledge you have to know in order to follow Jesus. Simply faith.

John 1:44-46 NIV: ​​“Philip, like Andrew and Peter, was from the town of Bethsaida. Philip found Nathanael and told him, “We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote—Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.””


Philip, immediately after following Jesus, becomes a part of the rescue team. We see the theme of telling others about Jesus here first hand. He goes and finds Nathanael to tell him they’ve finally found the one they’ve been seeking. Philip is fired up about sharing this but we’re almost let down by Nathanael’s response in the following verse in tomorrow’s devotion.

John 1:46 NIV: ““Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?” Nathanael asked. “Come and see,” said Philip.”


Nathanael questions this because Nazareth just doesn’t seem like a place where the Messiah would come from. God uses people and places in ways we least expect, including where Jesus is from. Philip doesn’t argue, he just says “come and see”. The point is not to “win” people over when talking about Jesus. It’s to invite others to come and see. Who are you inviting?


  • God always seems to use the people/places/ways that we would least expect. Shows how God can and will use anyone.
  • Don't waste what God has blessed you with as an individual. It doesn't have to be that you're the smartest, strongest, or best- God shows a common theme of using the doubted, poor, weak, outcasts, and meek to do great things!

    John 1:47-48 NIV: “When Jesus saw Nathanael approaching, he said of him, “Here truly is an Israelite in whom there is no deceit.” “How do you know me?” Nathanael asked. Jesus answered, “I saw you while you were still under the fig tree before Philip called you.””


    Jesus sees through Nathanael. He shows his supernatural knowledge here in the same way he did to Simon Peter. “Supernatural” sounds far-fetched but that’s who Jesus is, the Son of God. He is all-knowing. In the same way he sees Nathanael under the fig tree, he sees you and I. He doesn’t just see the labels the world puts on us, He sees the you He created. 


    • Jesus’ supernatural knowledge // all knowing
    • Could mention something about his sarcasm/jokingly comeback if needed to show he had emotions just like us

    John 1:49-50 NIV: “Then Nathanael declared, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the king of Israel.” Jesus said, “You believe because I told you I saw you under the fig tree. You will see greater things than that.””


    Nathanael’s attitude takes a complete 180. He goes from doubting Jesus to realizing that he is the Son of God. None of this would have happened if Philip had never invited Nathanael to “come and see”. Jesus claims “You will see greater things than that.” His supernatural knowledge is just a glimpse of who Jesus is when compared to what he would later do on the cross. 


    We encourage you to come, see, ask, and learn about who God is. As you deepen your relationship with Him, you’ll begin to see His greatness. 

    John 1:51 NIV: “He then added, “Very truly I tell you, you will see ‘heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending on’ the Son of Man.””


    Nathanael will see much more than just Jesus’ supernatural knowledge. He will see who Jesus is as Christ and King. 


    As we continue through the Gospel, we’ll learn about the miracles Jesus performed and eventually what He does on the cross. The first sign starts with turning water into wine. 



    See our next story for a summary of the first chapter of The Gospel According to John. 



    • We learn who Jesus is in relation to the Trinity.
    • We see that Jesus was a human, just like us, and dwelt among us.
    • We’re introduced to John the Baptist and his work.
    • We meet Jesus’s first disciples and see how they begin to follow Him.
    • Chapter 1 is the introduction to the signs and miracles that we’ll learn about to come.