Summary of passage: John the Baptist was sent from God to testify that Jesus is the light. Jesus (the Word) became flesh.
10a) He was sent from God to testify that Jesus is the light so that through him all men might believe. He was an evangelist whose life’s goal was to bring people to Jesus.
b) Personal Question. My answer: I think we are all given work to do here on earth that will shine God’s light into other’s lives. And that looks different for everyone. For me, I’m a writer and I try to convey God’s light through my stories. I also pass on God to my kids and to those I meet through my actions and words. God and the encounters He sends us are everywhere. We just have to look.
11) Calling Jesus the Word points to his uniqueness as the Word is what gives life from Creation on. He’s the “One and Only”, implying Jesus is the only way to God. He holds the glory different from humans.
Conclusions: The take away here is to remember Jesus’ uniqueness and his special relationship to God and man. And to remember God’s purpose is to save us. Through Jesus. And it’s our job to let others know about that.
End Notes: Testifying connotes committing. If you testify for Jesus or for someone on trial, you are committing to him.
John the Baptist had a significant following, of which John the Apostle was one until he met Jesus. Some of John the Baptist’s followers were uncertain of Jesus. John makes clear here that John the Baptist is not the light for those who were confused about Jesus.
“The Word became flesh” was astounding at that time in history. To the Greeks, their gods were super-men who lived forever, not a different being entirely and certainly not logos. To the Jews, God was an effervescent spirit. How could he ever become as common as a man? John speaks to both beliefs here and announces: Jesus/God is man!
God comes to us in the flesh. We don’t have to go out and find Him. He is there always.
“And dwelt among us” is more properly translated as “pitched one’s tent”, directly linking to the tabernacle of Old Testament’s time where God dwelled, where the law was kept, where sacrifices were made, the center of the town, and where revelations occurred and God spoke. God is here as our center in the flesh (Holy Spirit in our times).
“Seen” is more properly translated “beheld” and meant in Greek “to see with one’s eye” in person, in the flesh.
“Full of” is all encompassing.
“Grace and truth”. Both together and not one without the other. That is God. The corresponding Hebrew translation here is often “unfailing love and faithfulness.”
Verse 15 is John the Baptist speaking. In ancient times, if you were older than someone else, you were considered wiser. Intelligence had no say here. Hence, John the Baptist is making is clear that even though Jesus came after him in birth of the flesh, Jesus is the greater. And also he’s saying Jesus did actually come before him since Jesus has always existed.
Fun Fact: John never uses the word “grace” after the prologue (verse 14).
Another Fun Fact: John uses the Greek word for “truth” 25 times and links it closely with Jesus who is the truth (John 14:6).