“The true light
enlightens every man
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?
Was not the light.
But he came
οὐκ ἦν ἐκεῖνος τὸ φῶς, ἀλλ’ ἵνα μαρτυρήσῃ περὶ τοῦ φωτός.
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?
As a witness
To the light.
οὗτος ἦλθεν εἰς μαρτυρίαν, ἵνα μαρτυρήσῃ περὶ
τοῦ φωτός, ἵνα πάντες πιστεύσωσιν δι’ αὐτοῦ
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?
“There was a
His name was
ἄνθρωπος, ἀπεσταλμένος παρὰ Θεοῦ, ὄνομα αὐτῷ Ἰωάνης
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?
In the darkness.
καὶ τὸ φῶς
ἐν τῇ σκοτίᾳ φαίνει, καὶ ἡ σκοτία αὐτὸ οὐ κατέλαβεν.
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 life was
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?
Not one thing
αὐτοῦ ἐγένετο, καὶ χωρὶς αὐτοῦ ἐγένετο οὐδὲ ἕν ὃ γέγονεν.
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?