John 1: Failing to recognise

December 8th, 2006

If the president of America was to walk along a busy street in Australia wearing jeans and a T-shirt, it is quite likely that most people would fail to recognise him. Everyone has seen his face, but no-one would expect him to be wearing casual clothes, and no-one would expect him to be walking along the street without an entourage of bodyguards, journalists and other hangers-on. So perhaps it wasn’t entirely surprising when people failed to recognise God when he arrived in Israel and started walking around the streets in casual clothes without a band of accompanying angels.

John’s Account of the Good News — Chapter 1

1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 1:2 He was with God at the beginning. 1:3 All things were made through him. Nothing that has been made was made without him. 1:4 In him was life, and the life was the light of men. 1:5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. 1:6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 1:7 He came as a witness, to testify about the light, so that everyone could believe through him. 1:8 He was not the light, but was sent to testify about the light. 1:9 The true light that illuminates everyone was coming into the world.

1:10 He was in the world, and the world came into existence through him, but the world did not recognize him. 1:11 He came to his own people, but they did not accept him. 1:12 But to the ones who did accept him, the ones who believed in his name, he gave the right to become God’s children. 1:13 They are not born through blood or through the desire of the flesh or the choice of a person, but through God. 1:14 The Word became flesh and lived amongst us. We saw his glory, the glory of the Father’s only Son, full of grace and truth. 1:15 John testified about him. He proclaimed, “This was the man about whom I said, ‘The one who succeeds me is greater than me, because he existed before me.'” 1:16 From his richness we all received gift after gift. 1:17 The law was provided through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 1:18 No one has ever seen God, but God the only Son, who is close to the Father’s heart, is the one who has revealed him.

1:19 This is John’s testimony: When the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, “Who are you?” 1:20 He answered without hesitation, “I am not the Christ.” 1:21 They asked him, “What are you then? Elijah?” He said, “I am not.” “Are you the prophet?” He answered, “No.” 1:22 So they asked him, “Who are you? Give us an answer to take back to the people who sent us. What do you say about yourself?” 1:23 He said, “I am the voice of someone shouting in the wilderness, ‘Make a straight road for the Lord,’ as Isaiah the prophet predicted.”

1:24 The people who had been sent were from the Pharisees. 1:25 They asked him, “Why do you baptize, if you are not the Christ, or Elijah, or the prophet?” 1:26 John answered, “I baptize in water, but someone you don’t know stands amongst you, 1:27 the person who will succeed me, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to untie.” 1:28 These things happened in Bethany beyond the Jordan, where John was baptizing.

1:29 The next day, he saw Jesus approaching, and said, “Here comes the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! 1:30 This is the man about whom I said, ‘The man who succeeds me is greater than me, because he existed before me.’ 1:31 I did not know him, but the reason I have been baptizing in water was so that he could be revealed to Israel.” 1:32 John testified, “I have seen the Spirit descending like a dove out of heaven, and it stayed on him. 1:33 I would not have recognized him, but the one who sent me to baptize in water said to me, ‘The person on whom you see the Spirit descending and staying will be the one who baptizes in the Holy Spirit.’ 1:34 I have seen, and have testified that this is the Son of God.”

1:35 The next day, John was standing with two of his students. 1:36 He noticed Jesus walking by and said, “There is the Lamb of God!” 1:37 The two students heard him speak, and they followed Jesus. 1:38 Jesus turned, saw them following, and asked them, “What are you looking for?” They said, “Rabbi” (which means Teacher), “where do you live?” 1:39 He said, “Come and see.” They went and saw where he was living, and they stayed with him that day. It was about 4pm.

1:40 One of the two who had heard John and followed Jesus was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. 1:41 He first found his brother Simon, and told him, “We have found the Messiah!” (which means Christ). 1:42 He brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon the son of Jonah. You will be called Cephas” (which means Peter). 1:43 The next day, Jesus decided to go to Galilee, and he found Philip. Jesus said to him, “Follow me.” 1:44 Philip was from Bethsaida, the same town as Andrew and Peter.

1:45 Philip found Nathanael, and said to him, “We have found the man predicted by Moses in the law, and by the prophets: Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” 1:46 Nathanael asked, “Can anything good come from Nazareth?” Philip said, “Come and see.” 1:47 Jesus saw Nathanael coming to him and said, “Here is a genuine Israelite, in whom is no dishonesty!” 1:48 Nathanael said to him, “How do you know me?” Jesus answered, “Before Philip called you, I saw you under the fig tree.” 1:49 Nathanael replied, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are King of Israel!” 1:50 Jesus answered, “Do you believe just because I told you, ‘I saw you under the fig tree?’ You will see bigger things than that!” 1:51 He said, “I promise that you will see heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.”

Entry Filed under: Trust

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. » Sat&hellip  |  March 21st, 2009 at 7:15 am

    […] John chapter 1 has some poignant things to say about the world’s failure to recognise Jesus when he came: “He was in the world, and the world came into existence through him, but the world did not recognize him. He came to his own people, but they did not accept him. But to the ones who did accept him, the ones who believed in his name, he gave the right to become God’s children.” It is a continuing theme: we do not expect to see God in our daily lives, so we fail to see him or accept him. […]

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