John Introduction + 1

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John Introduction

The book of John, penned by the apostle who also wrote 1, 2, and 3 John and the book of Revelation, was the last of the four Gospels to be written (somewhere between 85-90 AD). Why did John feel the need to write an additional Gospel account, a few years after the other three had already been written? One reason was to add color and more details to some of the stories accounted for in the other three Gospel accounts. The main reason is that John wanted people to know that Jesus was in fact who he said He was. He summarizes his whole motivation for writing in John 20:31: “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.” 

Not only is the book of John a historical account of the life of Jesus, it’s also a beautifully written piece of prose, full of symbolism and references that his original audience would have understood. The number 7 plays a prominent role all throughout Scripture and the book of John is no exception. Throughout the book there are several instances of the number 7:

  • There are seven names ascribed to Jesus to describe his fulfillment of the prophecies about him.
  • Jesus performed seven signs, or miracles, that pointed to him being the Messiah.
  • Jesus is also described as the Messiah by seven different people throughout the book.
  • Jesus uses the phrase “I AM” seven times when referring to Himself, echoing God’s interaction with Moses in Exodus 3. 

The book of John is a great way to introduce people to Scripture, so invite someone to read alongside you as we begin this journey. As we read these 21 chapters, take note of each one of these references. Grab a journal and take good notes as these stories jump off the page. What do these chapters teach you about the deity of Jesus? What does it teach you about humanity? What are the implications for you today? You will find answers to all of these questions and more as we kick off the book of John.

Read John 1

The Word Became Flesh

1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 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.

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.

The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. 11 He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. 12 Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— 13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.

14 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.

15 (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.’”) 16 Out of his fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given. 17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18 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.

John the Baptist Denies Being the Messiah

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

21 They asked him, “Then who are you? Are you Elijah?”

He said, “I am not.”

“Are you the Prophet?”

He answered, “No.”

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

23 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.’”

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

26 “I baptize with water,” John replied, “but among you stands one you do not know. 27 He is the one who comes after me, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie.”

28 This all happened at Bethany on the other side of the Jordan, where John was baptizing.

John Testifies About Jesus

29 The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! 30 This is the one I meant when I said, ‘A man who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’ 31 I myself did not know him, but the reason I came baptizing with water was that he might be revealed to Israel.”

32 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’s Disciples Follow Jesus

35 The next day John was there again with two of his disciples. 36 When he saw Jesus passing by, he said, “Look, the Lamb of God!”

37 When the two disciples heard him say this, they followed Jesus. 38 Turning around, Jesus saw them following and asked, “What do you want?”

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

39 “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.

40 Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, was one of the two who heard what John had said and who had followed Jesus. 41 The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, “We have found the Messiah” (that is, the Christ). 42 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).

Jesus Calls Philip and Nathanael

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

44 Philip, like Andrew and Peter, was from the town of Bethsaida. 45 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.”

46 “Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?” Nathanael asked.

“Come and see,” said Philip.

47 When Jesus saw Nathanael approaching, he said of him, “Here truly is an Israelite in whom there is no deceit.”

48 “How do you know me?” Nathanael asked.

Jesus answered, “I saw you while you were still under the fig tree before Philip called you.”

49 Then Nathanael declared, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the king of Israel.”

50 Jesus said, “You believe because I told you I saw you under the fig tree. You will see greater things than that.” 51 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.”

Go Deeper

The One who created the world has come into the world. The One who has been present since the beginning, has chosen to enter the story. And while this God was now coming to save His children, His children had no interest in being saved by Him. Verses 10-11 say, “He was in the world, and though the world was made through Him, the world did not recognize Him. He came to that which was His own, but His own did not receive Him.” Can you imagine the humility it would take for God to come into the world He created, only to be rejected by His uninterested creation? These people had far better things to do than take note of Jesus. They had careers to pursue, families to take care of, and bills to pay. Meanwhile the light of the world was standing before their eyes, and they were blind to His majesty.  

But not everyone missed Him. Some were willing to leave their small lives to take part in the greatest story ever told. The second half of this chapter is marked by people who did see the light. People like Nathanael, Andrew, and Phillip took note that this Jesus was calling them to something greater. He wasn’t just another man, but was indeed the Word became flesh. 

Can you imagine encountering the One who created all things, only to brush Him off for whatever else was on your schedule that day? Many people in Jesus’ day did dismiss Him. Many people today still do. But today, the Word has moved into your neighborhood. He’s among you. The only question is do you notice Him?  Because just like Jesus noticed Nathanael under the fig tree, He notices you today. He sees you and wants to live life with you. You have the opportunity to encounter the humble Creator who has known you before you were even born.  Today He’s calling you to follow Him.


  1. Why do you think John refers to Jesus as “the light”?
  2. What do you notice about Jesus in this chapter?
  3. What keeps you from noticing the light of the world?

Watch This

Click here to watch The Bible Project’s overview of John!

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3 thoughts on “John Introduction + 1”

  1. Reading this familiar narrative brought such peace and joy to my heart. Jesus uniquely steps into history as both fully man and fully God. No one has ever or will ever compare to him. He brings life and light everywhere he goes, being full of unfailing love and faithfulness, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. He invites us into a personal, eternal relationship with him. He only asks that we believe and receive. He is the Word, Jesus, the Messiah!

  2. 1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 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. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.


  3. Jesus Christ is the Word, eternally and He revealed God’s glory in His person, His works, and His words.
    Jesus Christ is the Light, He is the dawning of a new life.
    Jesus Christ the Son of God for He is the image of the invisible God (Col 1:15) We simple can’t know God apart from knowing His Son, Jesus Christ.
    Jesus Christ is the Lamb of God our perfect Passover lamb.
    Jesus Christ is the Messiah, God’s anointed one, King of King’s.
    Jesus Christ is the Son of Man, He is the living link between heaven and earth. (Weirsbe’s breakdown)

    Jesus Christ is the Son of God and if you commit yourself to Him, He will give you eternal life. I read this about Jesus being the Word. “Jesus Christ is God’s “Word” to reveal His heart and mind to us. A word is composed of letters and Jesus Christ is the “Alpha and Omega”, the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet. According to Hebrews 1:1-3 Jesus Christ is the climax of divine revelation.”

    God I am so thankful for Your Son Jesus and what He did for me. I am thankful for Your Word that guides me to help me to make my life different from the world. Thank You for guiding me to live my life more like Jesus so that I can be a light in this crazy world. Not me but You shining through!! Thank You for being a part of the elect exiled. Thank You for showing me who I am in You constantly and minutely in Jesus name amen

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