John’s gospel begins not with the events of Christmas that took place in Bethlehem, but much further in the past. John’s wide-angle viewpoint on the life of Jesus Christ compels him to take his readers back into deepest eternity in order to demonstrate God’s heart for the redemption of the lost.
Read John 1:1–5. Take your time and read these verses in a variety of translations. As you read, you will notice that John uses two different metaphors to speak about Jesus: the Word and the light. Once you’ve digested these verses, make some notes on what John says in this short section about each of these metaphors.
- If all you had in hand was John 1:1–5, what would you learn about the character and nature of Jesus?
- John begins his gospel with the same words that begin the whole Bible:
In the beginningJohn 1:1 (ESV)
(see Genesis 1:1). What do you think is his purpose in doing so?
- What is so significant about Jesus’ background that John would spend so much time on it at the outset of his gospel?
- Respond personally to John 1:4. How has Jesus brought both life and light into your life?
John’s purpose in writing his gospel is spelled out clearly in 20:30–31:
Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in His name.John 20:30–31 (ESV)John 20:30–31 (ESV)
- How do the themes of 1:1–5 support the accomplishment of this goal?
- During the first week of Advent, churches around the world consider the theme of hope. How does this brief passage encourage you to be hopeful?
Spend some time praying. Thank God for His eternal purposes in redemption—that your salvation was not an afterthought. Thank God for His creation—for its staggering beauty, stunning complexity, and for sustaining it all. Praise Jesus for being the eternally existing Creator and the one who brings light and life. Ask God to shine that light into areas you desire to remain hidden in darkness. Ask God to increasingly make you a person of hope.
Study prepared by Santa Barbara Community Church. Used with permission.
This Advent Study has been created for both homegroup and individual use. Benji Bruneel wrote study 1, Steve Jolley study 2 and Reed Jolley wrote studies 3 and 4. Thanks to Santa Barbara Community Church for granting International Bible Fellowship permission to use this study.