Who is this Jesus?
That is hardly a question we ask these days. Most people have heard of Jesus and know something about his supposed identity. However, during John’s time this most certainly would have been the question people were asking. Given the purpose statement of the book (see the Introduction post below) we know this question was especially the one John wanted to answer in his book.
So it is no wonder that John starts his gospel with a wonderful, lyrical, slightly cryptic explanation of the nature of this Jesus whose story we will hear. In the first fourteen verses of this first chapter we learn that Jesus is all of the following:
- Eternal (1:1a)
- Close in proximity to God (1:1b)
- One in nature and identity with God (1:1c)
- The source of all created things (1:3)
- The source of life (1:4a)
- The source of light in the midst of darkness (1:4b)
- The one who brings illumination (1:9)
- An enfleshed human being (1:10a, 14)
- Rejected by much of the world (1:10b)
- Authoritative (1:12)
- The son of God (1:14a)
- Full of grace (1:14b)
- Full of truth (1:14b)
Jesus is the fully human, fully divine son of God who is the source of all things good. Though all authority is his, people can still find a way to reject this Jesus. Nonetheless, true life and light can be found in him.