What does this passage from John’s gospel suggest about Jesus?
John chapter 1 is very often known as ‘John’s Prologue’. A prologue is an opening or introduction to a bigger piece of work. In a play, the prologue is often a dramatic recitation given by the narrator that will help the audience know what to expect in the story about to unfold before them. It helps set the scene for what’s coming next.
Chapter 1 of John’s Gospel does just that. John is one of four writers who wrote accounts of Jesus’ life. Matthew, Mark and Luke also wrote about Jesus – but while these gospels were written as biographies (i.e. stories from Jesus’ life and ministry), John had something very specific in mind. He explains:
“Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But 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.” (John 20:10-31)
The stories John chooses to share in his gospel – the miracles, the sayings (e.g. the ‘I ams’ of Jesus) and the long account of the events of Holy Week – were selected carefully for a reason. John wants to convince his readers that Jesus was more than a man – more than a moral teacher, or miracle maker, or political or religious radical. John believed that Jesus was the Messiah – the anointed one sent by God to show all people the way to salvation. More than this, Jesus was God’s Son – one with God, or God incarnate. He was the only way to know God and find life.
And so, just like in the prologue to a play, John Chapter 1 draws out all of these themes. It carefully sets the scene and introduces the main character, Jesus, whose words and actions will capture our attention and imagination in the chapters ahead. Finally it explains the lesson of the piece: to believe in Jesus and know God himself.Bookmark