John 1:1-18 Jesus: The Life, The Light, The Word

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 all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

There was a man sent from God whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all might believe. He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light.

The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. 11 He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. 12 Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— 13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.

14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

15 (John testified concerning him. He cried out, saying, “This is the one I spoke about when I said, ‘He who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’”) 16 Out of his fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given. 17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known.

Jesus:  The Life; The Light; The Word

The creativity of God emanates through the Son.  People in Palestine had seen the embodiment of a light that could not be extinguished.  They had seen the embodiment of a life that could not die.  They had experienced a word that could not be silenced.  The world in Jesus’ day was a horrific place at times.  Tyrant kings could invade a region, plagues could decimate a region, and famine could starve a region.  Jesus brings the promise of peace and abundant living if people will turn to him.  This is not wealth and its pursuit, but it is a quality of life that triumphs in spite of circumstances.  Jesus would change hungry crowds into satisfied crowds; he would change sick people into well people; and he would still creation when it seemed it would overwhelm his disciples.

Jesus is the combination of a powerful, creative word going forth from the father and a cosmic reality sustaining all things.  Jesus transcends our perceptions of him and we must allow him that majesty.


Jesus, be more to me than a subject in the curriculum, be the living Word who brings life and light.  Lord be my light.


  1. How is Jesus described?
  2. Do you believe the introduction was written after the rest of the book?  What would this mean?
  3. What did ancient people associate with The Word?
  4. How can the life and light of Jesus touch our dark world?
  5. How does Jesus speak into your life these days?

About Plymothian

I teach at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. My interests include education, biblical studies, and spiritual formation. I have been married to Kelli since 1998 and we have two children, Daryl and Amelia. For recreation I like to run, play soccer, play board games, read and travel.
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23 Responses to John 1:1-18 Jesus: The Life, The Light, The Word

  1. Amy McCashen says:

    1. Jesus is described as Life, the Word, In the Beginning, God, and yet, a man.
    2. I do not know when the introduction was composed. I suppose it is possible that the introduction was written after the rest of the book. If this was so, maybe John was looking back over his work and decided that Jesus needed a grand introduction! It is possible that John wrapped up his writing with a marvelous beginning that reflected his knowledge of the person of Christ of whose life he just recounted
    3. I believe that ancient people associated the Word with the Scriptures- such as Old Testament prophecies.
    4. The life and light of Jesus can touch our dark world through us. Since Jesus’ life and light indwells us, we shine it forth into our world.
    5. These days, Jesus speaks into my life through the Bible and people. My husband, friends, and professors all encourage me in my walk with the Lord and sometimes I feel like God is talking to me through them.

  2. Michael Huber says:

    3. The Word or “logos” had many philosophical implications. Christ being “the Word” referred to him as the ultimate truth and the ultimate standard of truth. It would’ve been a bold claim to those Greeks who associated the word with the ancient philosophers.

  3. Rebekah Thompson (Bekah) says:

    1. Jesus is God, he is the light over darkness, the Word of God that became flesh on earth. Jesus was not received by his own…only few accepted him. Those who did became children of God.
    2.I suppose the introduction is only an explanation of what the book of John is about, not the inspired words of God. If it was written before the book then it could be presumed that there might be more information needed.
    3.Logos/ the Bible
    4.The Light of God is truth and righteousness. The darkness is sin. As it is seen today Christians “offend” others by their way of life, because it is different. The darkness or more so those who live in the darkness are able to see what light looks like when an active strong Christian is around them. Those who live in darkness become aware of their sin and depraved ways and they don’t like that feeling. They have a chose then….to continue to live in such a way, or to repent and turn from their sin.
    5. I believe God speaks to our hearts all the time, he places desires inside of us. The Lord speaks to us through his Word, which is in itself, Him. This is possible because the Bible is the inspired Words of God.

  4. Sarah Deurbrouck says:

    1. How is Jesus described?
    He is described as the Word, the life, the light and coming to dwell as flesh. He is described as the only Son of God, full of grace and truth.

    2. Do you believe the introduction was written after the rest of the book? What would this mean?
    If the intro was written after the rest of the book, part of me thinks it means that it was only after recording all of these miracles and events does John see who Jesus truly is. Yet, I also think that with the divine inspiration of the Holy Spirit, that might not quite be the case. I have this notion that John knew what he would write in totality before starting to write.

    3. What did ancient people associate with The Word?
    The Logos, being the true forms of all things, the divine reason. It was a philosophical concept.

    4. How can the life and light of Jesus touch our dark world?
    It has. Through the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross, the redemption given to all the elect through his blood has set souls free from the slavery to sin. Therefore, the Holy Spirit is now at work in the hearts of his followers here on earth.

    5. How does Jesus speak into your life these days?
    Through reading His word, I come to be convicted of sin, and enlightened to and encouraged by the truths that God has communicated to His children.

  5. Karas says:

    again, what sticks out to me is the awe behind the language john uses to describe Jesus. He clearly worships and honors Him, and paints Him as a wonderful mystery – complex, otherworldly and yet near. I didn’t know the intro is thought to have been written after, but that’s interesting… I think it adds to the poetic and reflective way John writes his intro. I believe ancient people thought of the word as the Law. We definitely need Jesus in our world – I think one way His light can reach it is by us embodying it by the power of the Holy Spirit. Jesus seems to speak into my life most often through His word, then through impressions, and also through other people.

  6. Janice Lee says:

    1. Jesus is described as God, the Word, the light coming into the world that would be rejected by the world, existing before the beginning, and the life-giver. He took on flesh and dwelt among us.
    2. I believe the introduction was written after the rest of the book because it would mean that John is recalling the life of Jesus and the prophecies He fulfilled.
    3. Ancient people associated Logos, knowledge and reason, with the Word.
    4. The life and light of Jesus touches our dark world by transforming lives and giving us hope.
    5. Jesus speaks into my life by calling me to abide in Him because it is only through Him that we can come to know the Father and enjoy all-satisfying fellowship with Him.

  7. Katherine says:

    How does Jesus speak into your life these days?

    In past years, Christ has spoken most clearly through His Word in Scripture. While this continues to be the case, in the past couple months, God’s truth has also been made known in literature. Within novels, such as “Pilgrims Progress.” “Paradise Lost,” and even children’s books, I have begun to believe that which can often be but cognitive knowledge.

  8. Nick says:

    John, without using Jesus’ name, describes Jesus in two primary ways, as the Word and as the light. It is not hard to believe that this introduction to the book of John may have been written after the rest of the book. John uses past tense language such as “became” and “was made” throughout to describe Jesus’ actions. I believe that Jesus’ light and life touch our dark world through His followers. We who believe in Him bring shine through to other believers and non-believers alike and continue His work on this earth. Jesus primarily speaks through my life through prayer and through reading the Bible.

  9. With many areas of my world distracting me, it is easy for me to become hard of hearing towards God. Yet, the way I know it is Him who is speaking, is when I grow to know Him more — thus am able to recognize His voice more. Often times, I am more eager to know the will and voice of God than I am at investing in knowing HIM. That’s when the Word highlights the times when I am so distracted at God giving me a list of what He wants me to do and when I need to go back to growing in unity with Him.

  10. zacbodine says:

    1. How is Jesus described?
    Jesus is describe as the before. He is the one who was before time and creation. He is the one who goes before John.

    2. Do you believe the introduction was written after the rest of the book? What would this mean?
    As a writer, I think that it could be written both either first or last. Both ways mean that the text was thought of and meant to point to the theme of the book.
    3. What did ancient people associate with The Word?
    It is the knowledge power and authority or beginning.

    4. How can the life and light of Jesus touch our dark world?
    If we believed in the reckless love of Christ maybe there would be light. According to the text, a reminder of his preeminence is a good start for that. The gospel just within the first chapter is rehashed over and over and over. Preach the gospel to others and to yourself.

    5. How does Jesus speak into your life these days?
    The “hyper-Christianese” answer to avoid judgment and scrutiny would be to say “His Word, the Bible.” It is true that is how he speaks the most clearly and it is a place I hear him speak daily. But, art is where I hear Jesus a lot as of late.

  11. Rachel says:

    1. Jesus is described as the Word, light, and the Son of God. He is the One who dwelt among sinful man and made known the Father.
    2. I do not think that the introduction necessarily had to be written after the rest of the book. I believe that it could have been written with the rest of the book, as a sort of foreshadowing of what was to come.
    3. In ancient times, words were powerful and vital to the communication of knowledge. The Word embodied this truth with the power of the knowledge of God.
    4. The life and light of Jesus touches this dark world when Christ’s power changes lives through the freedom of the Gospel. Believers often embody this transformative power to the unsaved.
    5. Jesus speaks into my life by gently reminding me of His presence and healing gentleness. He speaks through His Word, through experiences, and through others’ words.

  12. Jenna says:

    1. Jesus is described as the Word of God, God, creator, life, and the light of mankind. I love how this introduction to the book of John immediately sets up who Jesus is as the God who has come down to His creation.
    2. I’d never though of John 1 being written later; I guess it’s not out of the question, since some people find it to write introductions last. Whenever it was written, John 1 clearly sets up John’s presentation of Jesus as the Son of God.
    3. I’m not sure what all ancient people would have associated “the Word” with, but the Jews would have probably immediately thought of how God created the world by speaking it into existence. I think I’ve heard that the word “Word” in John 1 is Logos – which i think is associated with reason and intellect, not just words themselves.
    4. When Jesus was here on earth, He literally touched people in their sin by healing the sick and the demon possessed and forgiving sins. He also came to give us life by dying for us, despite our rejection of Him. Today, Jesus’ light and life can touch our world through His body, the Church.
    5. God often uses my time in the Bible to convict me and show me where I’m not trusting or obeying Him, but He often tends to “speak” to me through my fellow believers at Moody – the girls on my floor, my friends, and my professors.

    • tim pruiett says:

      1. Jesus is God, He is a man, He lived among us, He is creator, He is Life, and Light.
      2. John 1 being written later to Me is an interesting topic that I have never heard. Looking at the text it would seem odd to put it as being written later but, at the same time it kind of fits.
      3. Logos or The Word is a Greek concept of ideas and words.
      4. Simple answer Jesus can touch our world in so many ways it is unimaginable. Longer answer our world is so filled with sin and corruption that He can and does use believers to shine as lights and help love and point people to Himself.
      5. Through my daily devotions He points out things I need to work on and just showing me that with His strength and not my own I can finish school.

  13. Sara Cavitt says:

    1) He is described as the light who brings life to all who believe. He is grace and truth.
    2) It seems as if it may have been written after, because it speaks of future events. This would mean that the John already knew what was to happen once Jesus became flesh on earth.
    3) I believe that ancient people associated the Word as their guide book and their law.
    4) Jesus’ life and light can make a powerful impact on our world today, because it offers hope! Only in Him is there new life.
    5) He speaks to me through His Word and through godly people in my life. Also, He speaks to me through experiences and circumstances that happen in my life.

  14. Austin Brose says:

    1. Jesus is described as the Word in the living flesh, come to bring the light to the world to show the world the living God. Only through his illumination can the world see clearly the correct path.
    2. I don’t think that it matters too much if the introduction was written before or after the rest of the book was compiled. The introduction definitely does set up the right lens through which the reader can correctly see Jesus.
    3. I think that ancient people associated The Word with the scriptures and the direct words from God, as speech and text.
    4. Only through Jesus, as the light, can the world be illuminated of the darkness that resides in it.
    5. Jesus speaks into my life these days by giving me hope, giving me hope even when all things seem lost. When Jesus died, I can’t imagine what the disciples thought. Was all hope lost? No! Despite his death, He still returned to them as promised.

  15. J_Alban says:

    1. Jesus is described as a light that gives light to all, the light that darkness cannot overcome.
    2. The intro seems to be a summary of the rest of the chapter which would allow for an explanation of it being written last, but i am honestly not quite sure.
    3. They associated “word” with action! The word BECAME, the word CREATED! Word is associated with an action of great power in this content.
    4. Encountering Jesus makes for an irrefutable deliverance of power. One cannot meet a living God’s grace without forever being touched. We must listen for the voice of God who still speaks and works today.
    5. God is speaking to me through priority. I see now that my head is catching up to what my heart has been doing all along. I other words i am now processing my actions as if i have woken up with a stranger! But at this pinnacle moment of discovery, one cannot focus on their inner being, one must focus on Jesus!

  16. Mary says:

    1. Jesus is described as the Word, God, creator, light, and Son of God the Father. He is eternal, full of glory, grace and truth, and he is the only one who has ever seen the Father.
    2. I am not sure without doing some looking up which was written when, but I think the intro sets the tone/theme for what the rest of the book is going to be about, which is that Jesus is the Son of God and that by believing in him we have life (Jn 20:30-31).
    3. When I think of the Word I often think of God’s performative speech (a phrase used in Clark’s Sys Theo class) where God says, “Let there be…” and then there is. It’s possible they thought of rhetoric at that time. This could be drawing at straws, but since Jesus is known as the Word and he carries out the will of the Father, maybe there is a correlation between him being the Word and the Father’s performative speech.
    4. The life and light of Jesus touches our dark world through those who are the hands and feet of Christ.
    5. Jesus speaks into my life these days through many different ways such as my regular quiet times with Him, through Christian friends, pastors, and teachers, Christian radio, serving others, the nudging of my heart and mind, answers to prayer, opened/closed doors in my life, and my academic studies here at moody.

  17. Lacy says:

    1. Jesus is described as a key player in Creation, as light in the darkness, and as life to those who do not reject him.
    2. I’m not sure whether the introduction was written after the rest of the book; I’d have to do more study. If it was, the author would have a more specific idea about the contents of the book, and the introduction would be a summary of what was to come; therefore, the following chapters would be an expansion of these beginning paragraphs.
    3. Ancient people associated the Word with wisdom, and Hebrews might associate it with prophecy, i.e., the words from God.
    4. The life of Jesus can touch the world in the obvious way, through offering eternal life in heaven to sinners destined for hell. Also, however, Jesus offers life and enlightenment to the soul through truth and a relationship with God for those who are spiritually dead; he both awakens humans to what they are meant to be and provides a way for them to become so once again.
    5. Jesus speaks to me in Scripture, and also through those around me. Lately he has been bringing me a lot of peace in prayer. Writing has always been a release of turmoil for me, but writing out prayers and knowing they are heard and answered by my God puts my insides at rest in a way I can’t quite describe, and in a way nothing else does.

  18. Kathleen says:

    1. Jesus is described as God, life, light, and the Word made flesh dwelling among us.
    2. I’ve thought about the introduction being written after the rest of the book. I think the introduction does a good job presenting themes that are throughout the book. Such as Jesus as life and light.
    3. My study Bible says that ancient people associated The Word with a principle of Reason that gave order to the universe.
    4. Jesus brings light into dark places by forgiving sins and providing a new life full of hope. He turns dark situations into something that can be used to bring Him glory.
    5. Jesus constantly reminds me that I cannot live this life on my own. I must rely on Him each and every day.

  19. Chelsea P. says:

    Jesus is described as God. He is described as being at the beginning of creation and being the source of all things created. Life comes from Jesus. However, those whom he created rejected him and chose death over life. The life and life of Jesus can reach our dark, evil, perverted world through his Spirit that he has sent to live within us. We are, literally, image-bearers of the High King. While the Spirit works, we must be faithful to live in love and talk of Jesus to others.

  20. nataliaria says:

    First of all, I love quote ” Jesus transcends our perceptions of him and we must allow him that majesty.”

    Jesus is described as the Word, who is both with God and God. He is light and life, as well as grace and truth, and creation was made possible through Him. I had never considered the possibility of the introduction being written after the rest of the book, but if that were the case, I can understand the writer’s potential motivation in doing so; having related Jesus’ individual interactions and discourses, the writer then returned to the beginning of the book and provided a summary of sorts of the pages to come. This would provide the reader with a framework upon which to place his growing understanding of Jesus, the living Word of God.

    I believe that Jesus’ light and life invade our world in very tangible ways. Jesus is the sole source of true contentment and joy, as well as peace, all of which are strongly associated with light. That Jesus is the life literally means that an existence without Him and a soul devoid of communion with Him are 1) not living fully at all and 2) destined for an eternity of death. Light is an element necessary for effective living, and so too is the light of Christ necessary for meaningful life.

    Jesus speaks into my life in a variety of ways; bringing a Scripture to mind, or calling my attention to a particular passage while reading the Word. He also uses godly individuals around me to speak wisdom and encouragement to me. Probably the most impacting way in which I hear Jesus speak to me is through my quiet times of either journaling or simply sitting and meditating upon Him. In these times, I can converse with Him and His word, and find guidance, conviction, and grace through His presence and words.

  21. Ashley says:

    1. Jesus is described as the true light who enlightens everyone. Life is darkness without him, and through him, we live illumined lives that radiate with truth and purpose.
    2. To be honest, I don’t have much of an opinion about this and I do not know what it would mean if the introduction were written after the rest of the book. Perhaps John had some thoughts as he finished writing the book that he wished he had stated before.
    3. The people in ancient times understood “the Word” to be the Torah.
    4. Jesus’ light penetrates strongly in the blackest night. He illumines the darkness and radiates with an unquenchable brightness.
    5. Jesus speaks into my life by reminding me of who he is and that he is more than enough to satisfy my wandering soul.

  22. Beth Coale says:

    Read it.

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