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Book of John
Chapter 1

The Gospel of John for Youth
Commentary by Pastor Ron Beckham

John Chapter 1

(Words in red in the Scriptures are the words of Jesus)

Verse 1. "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God."

The "Word" is Jesus, and He has always lived. Jesus Christ ("Christ" or "Messiah" means "anointed One"), was with God the Father before this world existed, and Jesus is Himself God.

Verse 2. "He was in the beginning with God."

Before the beginning of everything, Jesus (God the Son) already was with God the Father.

Verse 3. "All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being."

Everything and everybody was created through Jesus Christ. Because of Him you were created and so was everything and everybody else that ever lived or will live.

Verse 4. "In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men."

The life you have is HIS life and you can see (understand) because Jesus is your Light (He gives you understanding).

Verse 5. "The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it."

The "Light" is Jesus, who helps you see (understand). Because of the bad thoughts in people, they often do not understand (comprehend) the Light.

Verse 6. "There came a man sent from God, whose name was John."

2,000 years ago, John the Baptist was sent by God to speak to the people of this earth.

Verse 7. "He came as a witness, to testify about the Light, so that all might believe through him."

John the Baptist was to tell of the Light (Jesus Christ), that people might believe in Jesus.

Verse 8. "He was not the Light, but he came to testify about the Light."

John the Baptist was not the Light (Jesus Christ), but he was on earth to tell us about Jesus.

Verse. 9. "There was the true Light which, coming into the world, enlightens every man."

The reason you can understand anything is because of Jesus Christ, who gives understanding ("light") to everybody.

Verse 10. "He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him."

Jesus Christ was here on earth, and He created (made) everybody who ever lived, but the people of this world did not know (receive) Him.

Verse 11. "He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him."

Jesus first went to the people of Israel (His own special nation) but they (most of them) did not believe and receive Him into their hearts.

Verse 12. "But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name,"

If we do receive Jesus in our hearts, we become the children of God, just by believing that Jesus is the Christ, God the Son.

Verse 13. "who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God."

To be the children of God through Jesus Christ is not the same as becoming a human child. We are born of God in the Spirit (God comes and lives in our hearts) through Jesus Christ.

Verse 14. "And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth."

The "Word" (Jesus) became a human child and grew up to be a man, and He was full of "glory" from God the Father (we can see God in Him). He has the grace to forgive us and He always tells the truth.

Verse 15. "John testified about Him and cried out, saying, 'This was He of whom I said, He who comes after me has a higher rank than I, for He existed before me.'"

John the Baptist said about Jesus, "This is Him, the One I told you about! I am just a man, but Jesus is Himself God, and before He lived on earth, He lived with God the Father."

Verse 16. "For of His fullness we have all received, and grace upon grace."

Jesus created you and gave you everything you have because He loves you. In reality we don’t deserve His love, but He gives it to us anyway (that’s "grace").

Verse 17. "For the Law was given through Moses; grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ."

There was a man of God named Moses who gave the Law of God which showed us how to live and be good; but now Jesus has come, and He, who is the truth, speaks to us of God's love.

Verse 18. "No one has seen God at any time; the only begotten God who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him."

No human has ever seen God the Father as He really is, but Jesus, God the Son, has seen Him, and He has shown (told about) Him to you and me.

Verse 19. "This is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent to him priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, 'Who are you?'"

Out of Jerusalem, an important city in Israel, came religious men, who asked John the Baptist, "Who are you?"

Verse 20. "And he confessed and did not deny, but confessed, 'I am not the Christ.'"

This was John the Baptist's chance to pretend to be somebody important, but instead he told the truth and said "No, I am not the Christ (the special One of God) you religious people are looking for.

Verse 21. "They asked him, 'What then? Are you Elijah?' And he said, 'I am not.' 'Are you the Prophet?' And he answered, 'No.'"

The men asked John the Baptist if he was Elijah (a prophet from the Old Testament), or "the Prophet" (someone Moses said would come); and John answered, "No, I'm not them."

Verse 22. "Then they said to him, 'Who are you, so that we may give an answer to those who sent us? What do you say about yourself?'"

John's answers made the religious people nervous, for they had been sent to find out who he was. "Who are you?" they kept asking. But he had not told them.

Verse 23. "He said, 'I am a voice of one crying in the wilderness, make straight the way of the Lord,' as Isaiah the prophet said.'"

Isaiah was a "prophet" (someone who gives us words from God). He was from the Old Testament part of the Bible (Isaiah 40:3), and he told us of a man would come before Jesus came, and cause people to be sorry (made "straight") for the wrong things they had done.

Verse 24. "Now they had been sent from the Pharisees."

The men who were asking John the Baptist all these questions had been sent by a religious group called the "Pharisees" (pronounced fare-ih-sees).

Verse 25. "They asked him, and said to him, 'Why then are you baptizing, if you are not the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?'

John the Baptist had been "baptizing" people (dipping them in water as a way of showing they are sorry for their sins), and they asked him, "if you are not Jesus Christ, or Elijah, or the "Prophet", then WHY are you baptizing people?

Verse 26. "John answered them saying, 'I baptize in water, but among you stands One whom you do not know.'"

John the Baptist answered the religious men, "I am dipping people in water (baptizing) as a way of showing they are sorry for their sins" because Jesus Christ is now here, though you do not know Him.

Verse 27. "It is He who comes after me, the thong of whose sandal I am not worthy to untie."

John the Baptist was telling them, "I was born into this world a few months before Jesus Christ was born into this world, but He is so much greater than I am, that I am not worthy to even take off Jesus' shoes."

Verse 28. "These things took place in Bethany beyond the Jordan, where John was baptizing."

John the Baptist had been dipping people in water as a symbol that they were sorry for their sins (he baptized them) near a place called "Bethany", which was on the east side of the Jordan River.

Verse 29. "The next day he saw Jesus coming to him and said, 'Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!'"

It had been a custom at that time for an innocent lamb to die in the place of someone who was sorry for the bad things they had done. John the Baptist saw Jesus, the Lamb of God, and knew He would die for everyone, including you and me.

Verse 30. "This is He on behalf of whom I said, 'After me comes a Man who has a higher rank than I, for He existed before me.'"

As Jesus was walking toward the river, John the Baptist said "This is Him," He is the One who is greater than I am, the One who lived in eternity before I was even born."

Verse 31. "I did not recognize Him, but so that He might be manifested to Israel, I came baptizing in water."

John the Baptist was still talking to them: "I did not know for sure who He (Jesus) was - All I knew was that God sent me to baptize (dip people in water) before He (Jesus) would come.

Verse 32. "John testified saying, 'I have seen the Spirit descending as a dove out of heaven, and He remained upon Him.'"

John the Baptist saw the Holy Spirit of God take the form of a dove (a gentle bird) that landed softly on the Lord Jesus.

Verse 33. "I did not recognize Him, but He who sent me to baptize in water said to me, "He upon whom you see the Spirit descending and remaining upon Him, this is the One who baptizes in the Holy Spirit."

John the Baptist did not know for sure who the Christ (the anointed One) would be, though he suspected it was Jesus. But God had told John that the Holy Spirit would land on the Christ, and show John who He would be. John baptized in water but Jesus brings us into the Holy Spirit of God.

Verse 34. "I myself have seen, and have testified that this is the Son of God."

Jesus Christ was seen by John the Baptist and it was shown to him that Jesus is the Son of God. John told what he knew to be true.

Verse 35. "Again the next day John was standing with two of his disciples,"

There were a number of men who followed John the Baptist and they were his "disciples" (students). John was standing with two of them.

Verse 36. "and he looked at Jesus as He walked, and said, 'Behold, the Lamb of God!'"

Just then, Jesus Christ walked by, and John the Baptist said out loud, "It's Him; He is the "Lamb of God, the One given to us that we might be healed of our sins" (the bad things we tend to do).

Verse 37. "The two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus."

When we tell people about Jesus, we want them to follow HIM, not us. John the Baptist's students (disciples) were right to turn from John and follow Jesus.  One of the disciples was Andrew (Verse 40).

Verse 38. "And Jesus turned and saw them following, and said to them, 'What do you seek?' They said to Him, 'Rabbi (which translated means Teacher), where are You staying?'"

Some of those who had followed John the Baptist, now followed Jesus. They called Him "Teacher", and just like them, we should follow our Lord Jesus - Where He is, there we should be, too.

Verse 39. "He said to them, 'Come, and you will see.' So they came and saw where He was staying; and they stayed with Him that day, for it was about the tenth hour."

Jesus does not show us everything right away, but when He says "Come", we should follow Him. It was getting late in the day, and He showed them where He was staying for the night.

Verse 40. "One of the two who heard John speak and followed Him, was Andrew, Simon Peter's brother."

Twelve of the men who followed Jesus were later called "apostles" (specially sent ones). One of them would be Andrew, and another would be this "Simon" who was also to be called "Peter."

Verse 41. "He found first his own brother Simon and said to him, 'We have found the Messiah' (which translated means Christ)."

Andrew did what we should do after we come to Jesus: He told someone else! He told his brother Simon "We have found the "Messiah" (Hebrew) the "Christ" (Greek), the Anointed One of God.

Verse 42. "He brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, 'You are Simon the son of John; you shall be called Cephas' (which is translated Peter)."

Andrew brought his brother Simon to Jesus, who gave Simon another name. "Cephas" (Aramaic language) and "Peter" (Greek language) mean "a rock."

Verse 43. "The next day He purposed to go into Galilee, and He found Philip. And Jesus said to him, 'Follow Me.'"

"Galilee" was the name for both an area and a lake in northern Israel, and it was there Jesus found Philip, who was to be one of Jesus' apostles (special sent ones). Jesus said to Philip, "Follow Me" (and he did).

Verse 44. "Now Philip was from Bethsaida, of the city of Andrew and Peter."

Bethsaida was a fishing village on the Sea (lake) of Galilee, and that was where Philip, Andrew and Peter had lived - probably all of their lives, to that time.

Verse 45. "Philip found Nathanael and said to him, 'We have found Him of whom Moses in the Law and also the Prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.'"

Philip ran to Nathaneal, and shouted "We have found Him." Philip was right - Jesus Christ was the One written about by Moses in the Law and also by the other "prophets" of the Old Testament part of the Bible.

Verse 46. "Nathanael said to him, 'Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?' Philip said to him, 'Come and see.'"

Jesus lived for many years in the city of Nazareth (in northern Israel), a place Nathaneal did not like. Philip simply told Nathaneal to "Come and see" Jesus. All you and I have to do is "Come" to Jesus Christ and then be willing to tell others about Him.

Verse 47. "Jesus saw Nathanael coming to Him, and said of him, 'Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom there is no deceit!'"

Jesus looked right into Nathaneal's heart, just as He is looking into yours and mine, right now. He knew that Nathaneal was a good man, and He told him so.

Verse 48. "Nathanael said to Him, 'How do You know me?' Jesus answered and said to him, 'Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.'"

This scared Nathaneal a little bit, for he thought he had been alone. "Under the fig tree" was an expression which meant Nathaneal had been "praying" (speaking) to God. Jesus "saw" him, though He was not with him.

Verse 49. "Nathanael answered Him, 'Rabbi, You are the Son of God; You are the King of Israel.'"

Nathaneal now saw that Jesus knew all about him, though they had never previously met, and called Him "Rabbi" (teacher), the "Son of God", and "King of Israel", all of which is true.

Verse 50. "Jesus answered and said to him, 'Because I said to you that I saw you under the fig tree, do you believe?’ You will see greater things than these.'"

Nathaneal would see people healed and would meet Jesus after He died and rose from the dead. Now he saw that Jesus knew all about him, but he would see much more. And so shall we, if we follow Jesus.

Verse 51. "And He said to him, 'Truly, truly, I say to you, you will see the heavens opened and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.'"

In the Old Testament (Genesis 28:12), a man named Jacob had a vision of a ladder between heaven and earth, with angels going up and coming down on it. Jesus is the "Ladder" that connects earth and heaven - for you and me.

Ron Beckham, Pastor
Friday Study Ministries

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