The Word became human
1 In the beginning, the Word was already there. The Word was with God. The Word was God. 2 He was with God from the beginning. 3 God made all things through the Word. God did not make anything without him. 4 It is the Word who caused everything to live. Because of this, he has brought light to all people. 5 The light shines in the dark, and the dark cannot put out the light.
1:1Jesus Christ is the Word of God. God shows himself to us in Jesus. So Jesus is like God's message to us. God speaks to us in a way that we can understand, because Jesus lived as a real person.
6 God sent a man to bring his message. His name was John. 7 He came to tell people about the light. God wanted everyone to believe in the one who is the light. 8 John himself was not that light. God sent him to tell people about the light. 9 The true light gives light to every person. That light was now coming into the world.
1:6This was John the Baptist, not the same as the man called John who was writing this book.
1:9The Word (Jesus Christ) is like light. He shows us what is true. The dark means the power of God's enemy, Satan. Satan tries to hide what is true. God's light shines in the dark places where Satan likes to be. Satan's power cannot put that light out. Jesus said that he himself was the light of the world. See John 8:12; 9:5.
10 The Word was now in the world. God had made the world through him. But the people in the world did not know who he was. 11 He came to the place that was his own. But his own people did not accept him. 12 But some people did accept him. They did believe in him. He gave authority to those people to become God's children. 13 They did not become God's children in the usual human way. They were not born because of what any people wanted. They were not born because of what any man decided. No! They were born from God.
14 The Word became a man. He lived among us. We saw how great and how good he is. He is great and good as only the Father's one true Son can be. He is completely kind. He speaks only what is true.
15 John told people about the Word. He shouted, ‘This is the man that I told you about. He comes after me. But he is greater than I am. He was already there before I was born.’ 16 The Word is full of everything that we need. We have all received one good thing after another good thing. 17 God gave his Law to us through Moses. But God has shown us how kind he is through Jesus Christ. Through Jesus Christ God has brought his true message to us. 18 Nobody has ever seen God. But God's only Son has shown God to us. He is very near to the Father, and he himself is God.
1:18Jesus Christ was a very special person. That is what John is saying at the beginning of his book. And he is telling us that Jesus had important work to do. He was the Word of God. He was the only person who really knew God. He knew what people were really like too. He was God and he was man too. So, because of that, he could show us what God is like. Only Jesus could make us able to be the people that God wanted us to be.
John the Baptist is not the Messiah
19 The Jewish leaders sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask John, ‘Who are you?’ This is what he said. 20 John did not refuse to answer. He said, ‘I am not the Messiah.’ 21 So they asked him, ‘So who are you? Are you Elijah?’ John said, ‘No, I am not.’ They asked, ‘Are you the Prophet?’ John answered, ‘No.’
1:21Israel's people believed that God would send God's prophet Elijah and at least one other great prophet to them. They believed that these prophets must come before God would send his Messiah (the Christ).
22 Then they said, ‘Tell us who you are. We must say something to the people who sent us. What do you say about yourself?’ 23 He said, ‘I am the voice of somebody shouting in the wilderness:
“The Lord will come soon.
Make a straight path for him to follow.”
That is what the prophet Isaiah said a long time ago.’
1:23See Isaiah 40:3.
24 The men who came to ask these questions were Pharisees. 25 They said to John, ‘You say that you are not the Messiah, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet. So, why do you baptize people?’ 26 John replied, ‘I baptize people with water. But there is someone here among you that you do not know. 27 He is the one who comes after me. I am not good enough even to undo his shoes for him.’
28 All these things happened at a place east from the Jordan river. It was a village called Bethany. John was baptizing people there.
29 The next day, John saw Jesus, who was coming towards him. John said, ‘Look! Here is the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of people in the world. 30 This is the man that I told you about. I told you, “He comes after me, but he is greater than I am. He was already there before I was born.” 31 I did not know him. But I had to show Israel's people who he was. That is why I am baptizing people with water.’
1:31John the Baptist called Jesus ‘God's Lamb’. This would have caused the people to remember the young sheep that they killed for the Passover meal. Israel's people also killed young sheep at other times, so that God would forgive their sins. Jesus Christ was God's Lamb, who came to die on our behalf. He came to save us from sin.
32 Then John told them, ‘I saw God's Spirit come down from heaven. He came down like a dove and he stayed on Jesus. 33 I would not have known who Jesus was. But God had sent me to baptize people with water. And God told me, “You will see the Spirit come down. He will stay on someone. That is the person who will baptize people with my Holy Spirit.” 34 Now I have seen this. So, I can tell you that this is God's Son.’
Jesus' first disciples
35 John was standing there again the next day, with two of his disciples. 36 He saw Jesus, who was walking past them. John said, ‘Look! Here is the Lamb of God.’ 37 When the two disciples heard this, they followed Jesus. 38 Then Jesus turned round. He saw that they were following him. He asked them, ‘What do you want?’ They said, ‘Rabbi (which means “Teacher”), where are you staying?’ 39 Jesus replied, ‘Come with me, and you will see.’ So, they went with him. They saw where he was staying. It was about four o'clock in the afternoon. And they stayed with him that day.
1:39John wrote, ‘It was the 10th hour.’ The Jews counted time from 6 o'clock in the morning. So, ‘the 10th hour’ means 4 o'clock in the afternoon.
40 Andrew was one of the two disciples who had followed Jesus. They had heard what John had said about Jesus. Andrew was Simon Peter's brother. 41 The first thing that Andrew did was to find his brother, Simon. Andrew said to Simon, ‘We have found the Messiah.’ (‘Messiah’ and ‘Christ’ mean the same.) 42 Then he brought Simon to Jesus. Jesus looked at Simon and he said, ‘You are Simon, John's son. Your name will be Cephas.’ This name is the same as Peter, which means ‘rock’.
43 The next day, Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He met Philip, and Jesus said to Philip, ‘Follow me.’ 44 Philip, like Andrew and Peter, came from the town called Bethsaida. 45 Philip went to find Nathanael. He told Nathanael, ‘We have found the man that Moses wrote about in the book of God's Law. The prophets also wrote about him. He is Jesus, who is Joseph's son, from Nazareth.’ 46 Nathanael said, ‘I did not think that anything good could come from Nazareth!’ Philip replied, ‘Come and see.’
47 Jesus saw Nathanael, who was coming towards him. Jesus said, ‘Here is a completely honest man. That is what a person from Israel should really be like.’ 48 Nathanael asked, ‘How do you know me?’ Jesus answered, ‘I saw you before Philip asked you to come. I saw you when you were under the fig tree.’ 49 Nathanael said, ‘Teacher, you are the Son of God. You are the King of Israel.’ 50 Jesus said to him, ‘I told you that I saw you under the fig tree. Now you believe me because I told you that. But you will see much greater things than that.’ 51 And Jesus said to him, ‘I am telling you what is true. You will see heaven open. You will see God's angels. They will be going up and they will be coming down on the Son of Man.’
1:51Jesus called himself the ‘Son of Man’. He is a Man who came to earth from God. That is what this name shows. He came with God's authority. The prophets spoke about him (for example, Daniel 7:13). He is the Messiah.