True light (Jn 1:9-1:9)

“The true light

That enlightens every man

Was coming

Into the world.”

Ἦν τὸ φῶς τὸ ἀληθινὸν, ὃ φωτίζει πάντα ἄνθρωπον, ἐρχόμενον εἰς τὸν κόσμον.

John said that the true light (Ἦν τὸ φῶς τὸ ἀληθινὸν), that is the Word, that enlightens (ὃ φωτίζει) all men (πάντα ἄνθρωπον), was coming into the world or the universe (ἐρχόμενον εἰς τὸν κόσμον).  The true light of the Word, Jesus, was entering into this cosmic world of finite time.  John the Baptist was not the true light, only a witness to this light or life.  Once again, the Word, Jesus, was the central figure with John the testifier to his presence in our world playing a subordinate role, not the major role.  Do you mind playing subordinate roles in your life?

John came to testify (Jn 1:8-1:8)

“John himself

Was not the light.

But he came

To testify

To the light.”

οὐκ ἦν ἐκεῖνος τὸ φῶς, ἀλλ’ ἵνα μαρτυρήσῃ περὶ τοῦ φωτός.

John clearly said that this John himself was not the light (οὐκ ἦν ἐκεῖνος τὸ φῶς).  He was not a false light, since he came to testify (ἀλλ’ ἵνα μαρτυρήσῃ) concerning the true light (περὶ τοῦ φωτός).  This John was clearly subordinate to the Wordor the light that gave life that was Jesus himself.  There was an enigmatic relationship between Jesus and John.  John went before Jesus and also died before him.  Some of his followers went to follow Jesus, but others remained faithful to him, even after his death.  John, the gospel writer, left no doubt that John, the baptizer, was a witness to the light and not the light itself.  Do you testify to the light of Jesus?

John was a witness (Jn 1:7-1:7)

“John came

As a witness

To testify

To the light.

Thus,

All might believe

Through him.”

οὗτος ἦλθεν εἰς μαρτυρίαν, ἵνα μαρτυρήσῃ περὶ τοῦ φωτός, ἵνα πάντες πιστεύσωσιν δι’ αὐτοῦ

John said that this other John came along (οὗτος ἦλθεν) as a witness (εἰς μαρτυρίαν) in order to testify (ἵνα μαρτυρήσῃ) concerning the light (περὶ τοῦ φωτός).  Thus, all the people (ἵνα πάντες) might believe (πιστεύσωσιν) through him (δι’ αὐτοῦ).  John was not the light.  He was a witness or a martyr for the light.  He was there to help others believe in the light, the life of Jesus, the Word.  Testimony and witness have a Greek root word that could be translated as martyr because the martyr testifies by his death and suffering.  Belief in God came through John, not in John the Baptist.  Are you willing to believe and testify to the light of God?

The man John (Jn 1:6-1:6)

“There was a man

Sent from God.

His name was John.”

Ἐγένετο ἄνθρωπος, ἀπεσταλμένος παρὰ Θεοῦ, ὄνομα αὐτῷ Ἰωάνης

John said that there was a man (Ἐγένετο ἄνθρωπος,) sent (ἀπεσταλμένος) from God (παρὰ Θεοῦ), whose name was John (ὄνομα αὐτῷ Ἰωάνης).  He was not called the Baptist or Baptizer here.  In the Gospel of Luke, chapter 1:5-24 and 1:57-80, this John was the son of Elizabeth and Zacharias, a cousin of Jesus.  Jesus and John also met up again at the beginning of the Jesus ministry at the baptism of Jesus, an incident that can be found in all four canonical gospels.  This John brought the role of the Hebrew prophets to a close, as an important Jewish prophet who emphasized the importance of a baptism of repentance.  His influence in the gospel stories and the Acts of the Apostles, chapter 19:1-7, can be seen in that he had also had disciples who followed him.  Clearly, this was a reverential look at John, since this prologue said that he was sent from God, not some ordinary Jewish preacher.  In the Acts of the Apostles, there are a couple of other disciples named John, as well as this gospel.  Do you know a lot of people named John?

The light shines in the darkness (Jn 1:5-1:5)

“The light shines

In the darkness.

The darkness

Did not overcome it.”

καὶ τὸ φῶς ἐν τῇ σκοτίᾳ φαίνει, καὶ ἡ σκοτία αὐτὸ οὐ κατέλαβεν.

John said that the light (καὶ τὸ φῶς) shines (φαίνει) in the darkness (ἐν τῇ σκοτίᾳ).  The life of the Word, Jesus, God, was the light that shines brightly conquering the darkness, the moral evil.  This was the classical great struggle of good and evil between light that was good and darkness that was bad.  The Jewish Dead Sea scrolls of the first century CE also had this struggle.  Perhaps there is a connection between John and these monastic Jewish zealots.  John, however, rightly points out that this darkness or evil (καὶ ἡ σκοτία) will not overcome or seize the light (αὐτὸ οὐ κατέλαβεν) of the good Word.  The reverse is true.  Light will always overcome darkness.  Have you ever grappled with the problem of light and darkness?

The Word was life (Jn 1:4-1:4)

“In him

Was life.

The life was

The light

Of all people.”

ἐν αὐτῷ ζωὴ ἦν, καὶ ἡ ζωὴ ἦν τὸ φῶς τῶν ἀνθρώπων.

John said that the Word, Jesus, was life (ἐν αὐτῷ ζωὴ ἦν).  Yet, this life was the light for all humans or men (καὶ ἡ ζωὴ ἦν τὸ φῶς τῶν ἀνθρώπων).  Without God there would be no life.  God is the source of our life.  Our eternal spiritual life is dependent on the Word.  This life of the Word, Jesus, will be the light for all people.  God created light that brought life to all people, as life and light are the same.  Our new life would come from the Word, Jesus, God.  Light was image of God’s presence or favor.  Is there light in your life?

All was made through the Word (Jn 1:3-1:3)

“All things

Were made

Through him.

Without him

Not one thing

Came into being.”

πάντα δι’ αὐτοῦ ἐγένετο, καὶ χωρὶς αὐτοῦ ἐγένετο οὐδὲ ἕν ὃ γέγονεν.

John said that the word (ὁ Λόγος) pre-existed before the world.  All things were made through him (πάντα δι’ αὐτοῦ ἐγένετο).  Without him there would be no life, nothing could come into existence (καὶ χωρὶς αὐτοῦ ἐγένετο οὐδὲ ἕν ὃ γέγονεν).  Wisdom, chapter 9:1 stated that God created humans or men (ἄνθρωπον) with wisdom (τῇ σοφίᾳ) and his words (ἐν λόγῳ σου) to have dominion over all the creatures.  Proverbs, chapter 8:23, said that wisdom was created at the beginning of creation.  Wisdom was created before anything else, including before water, mountains, earth, the heavens, and humans.  Wisdom was like the co-worker at creation.  John has combined these various elements of the word, wisdom, and creation together.  Without the Word, nothing would exist.  Do you believe in a creative God?