(John 1:1-18) Part 2

This is part 2 of John 1:18, and I’ll be concentrating on verses 6-13. I’ll be diving these verses into two sections. So, if you haven’t read the first part last week, I encourage you to do so, to get the proper context of the whole passage.

In the first part I included the verses in Greek, and exegeted them. For this blog, I’ll be doing it differently. As a reminder, John intended the Gospel for the reader to respond by believing in Jesus for who He is, the Christ and Son of God.[1]

It says in John 1:6-9 (HCSB):

 There was a man named John
who was sent from God.
He came as a witness
to testify about the light,
so that all might believe through him.
He was not the light,
but he came to testify about the light.
The true light, who gives light to everyone,
was coming into the world.

Who’s John in these verses? The author of the Gospel is John, son of Zebedee and brother of James. He also happened to be a disciple of Jesus and apostle. Was he describing himself in these verses? No, he’s not. He was actually talking about John the Baptist, a prophet and cousin of Jesus Christ on the mother side.

Why would the author include John the Baptist in this whole passage when he has been speaking about Jesus? As stated by Beasley-Murray, “The Evangelist interrupts his citation from the Logos hymn in order to present the Baptist’s testimony to “the Light,” i.e., to the Logos incarnate in Jesus.”[2] As for Borchert, he explains,“In contrast to the Logos, who “was” from the beginning, a man named John (the Baptizer) “came” onto the stage of created history (egeneto), sent by God on a mission (apestalmenos). His purpose in coming was, according to the evangelist, clearly defined—namely, to be a witness (marturian).”[3] The evangelist that Borchert says here is actually John, the author.

As the author, John says that John the Baptist was not the light, but God created him to be a witness to the light. The true light is really Jesus, who provides light to everyone. John proceeds again to the hymn of proclaiming Jesus to his readers.

John 1:10-13 states:

10 He was in the world,
and the world was created through Him,
yet the world did not recognize Him.
11 He came to His own,
and His own people did not receive Him.
12 But to all who did receive Him,
He gave them the right to be children of God,
to those who believe in His name,
13 who were born,
not of blood,
or of the will of the flesh,
or of the will of man,
but of God.

Verse 10 says that even though Jesus (“the Word” or ὁ λόγος) created the world, sadly, the people He created did not even notice Him when He was born and walking in this world. As Bernard states, “Primarily, the reference is to the world’s ignorance of the Pre-Incarnate Logos, immanent continuously in nature and in man.”[4]

In verse 11, “His own” here refers to the Jews in His own historical land, Israel, especially the Pharisees, Sadducees, and the scribes, since they have read and studied the Old Testament. The author expresses that when Jesus (“the Word” or ὁ λόγος) “came to His own,” His own people rejected Him. According to Borchert, “For the writers of the New Testament the rejection of Jesus by the Jews was extremely difficult to comprehend. Not only does John repeatedly detail the surprising unbelief of the Jews (e.g., 5:46–47; 6:64–65; 7:47–52; 9:30–34, 40–41) but Paul in Romans 9–11 tried courageously to work out a rationale for the Jewish rejection of Jesus.”[5]

After the tragic tones in verses 10-11, John, the author, provides hope in verses 12-13. It says that God has given the right to those who received Jesus (“the Word” or ὁ λόγος) to become His children. There were and are who actually accepted or received Jesus (“the Word”) by faith. The Greek verb used in verse 12 is ἔλαβον in which the Greek root word is λαμβάνω, which means “to take” or “to receive what is offered.” This means that we who receive Jesus get to be adopted by God as His own children. How awesome is that! D.A. Carson, a New Testament scholar and professor, conveys, “Such faith yields allegiance to the Word, trusts him completely, acknowledges his claims and confesses him with gratitude. That is what it means to ‘receive’ him.[6] Bernard declares, “The children of God are ‘begotten’ by Him by spiritual generation, as contrasted with the ordinary process of physical generation.”[7]

It says in verse 13 that the children of God are not born of blood nor of flesh, but of the will of God. Murray says, “To become children of God” is a work wholly of God’s operation.[8] As for Borchert, he imparts, “The threefold negative assertion emphasizes that children of God are not the result of natural bloodline relationships, nor of human (fleshly, not necessarily negative, cf. 6:51 and 17:2; but it is contrasted with the way of the Spirit, cf. 6:63) desire, nor of parental (“malelike,” andros) determination or will.[9]

I’m just thankful to God for revealing Himself to me through Jesus Christ, and that He gave me the faith to believe and receive Him, so that I could be part of His family. I pray this for you too, dear readers.

This ends part 2. John 1:14-18 will be next. Stay tune.

[1] Gerald L. Borchert, John 1-11 (Nashville: Broadman & Holman, 1996), 31.

[2] George R. Beasley-Murray, John, Vol. 36 (Dallas: Word, Incorporated, 1999), 11–12.

[3] Borchert, John, 111.

[4] J. H. Bernard, A critical and exegetical commentary on the Gospel according to St. John. (A. H. McNeile, Ed.) (New York: C. Scribner’ Sons, 1929), 14.

[5] Borchert, John, 114.

[6] D. A Carson,. The Gospel according to John (Leicester, England; Grand Rapids, MI: Inter-Varsity Press; W.B. Eerdmans,1991), 125–126.

[7] Bernard,  Gospel according to St. John, 17.

[8] Beasley-Murray, John, 13.

[9] Borchert, John , 118.

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