"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it. There came a man who was sent from God; his name was John. He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all men might believe. He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light. The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world. He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God. The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. John testifies concerning him. He cries out, saying, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’ ” From the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only, who is at the Father’s side, has made him known." (John 1:1-18, NIV)
The Gospel of John was written by John, a disciple of Jesus Christ. He was able to witness the life of Jesus first hand and he wrote about what he witnessed so that those who read it might believe as he did.
John wants his reader to hear the good news of Jesus. Yet, he also knows, that no one can understand what Jesus says unless they know who Jesus is. Therefore, he starts out by declaring that Jesus is God. Jesus was in the beginning at creation, all things were made through Him. In other words, there was never a time when Jesus did not exist, but only a moment in time (His life on earth) that we were able to witness Him first hand. And John, as one of Jesus’ most trusted friends, writes to tell us about what he witnessed Jesus do and what he heard Jesus say.
John describes Jesus as the light. If you have ever tried to feel your way around a dark room or walk through the forest on a night when there is no moon, this image makes perfect sense. In the dark there is confusion, frustration, danger, and it is easy for people to lose their way. But Jesus is the light in this dark world. He brings answers to the confusion. He gives peace in the midst of frustration. His message of hope saves us from danger and He guides us in the right path so that we will not become lost in the darkness.
Yet when Jesus came to earth as a man, the people did not recognize Him. They were so lost in their religious systems and preconceived ideas about what God would be like, so distracted by the daily activities of their life (too busy to stop and notice) that they thought he was just another Jewish man no different than anyone else. Unfortunately, the same is true today. Even though we have the Bible to tell us about who Jesus, most people are too busy to listen, and so not unlike the people of Jesus’ day, we miss it as well. This is a tragedy since the message of Jesus is the most important message in the history of the world. Jesus has made Himself known so that we can know Him. And for those who take the time to consider and believe in the message of hope that He brings, to these Jesus treats as family. As a Father loves his son, so is the love of Jesus for His people. To know Jesus is to know God. And to know God is to have life. Not by following a law or code, but by believing in the good news Jesus brings. John writes to share this news.