John Background Info Session 2: John 1-2


  • Known as the prologue
  • Intros major themes John will address particularly “Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God”
  • Repeat words in the Gospel appear first time: Life, Light, Witness, and Glory
  • The word become flesh in Christ Jesus is developed further in the Gospel
  • Truths of Prologue:
  1. The eternal Christ (v1-3)
  2. The incarnate Christ (v4-5)
  3. The forerunner of Christ (v6-8)
  4. The unrecognizable Christ – his rejection (v9-11)
  5. The omnipotent Christ (v12-13)
  6. The glorious Christ -- he is a deity (v14-18)

Keys to the Text

  • Incarnation: A Theological term for the coming of God’s Son into the world as a human being. The term itself is not used in the Bible, but it is based on clear references in the NT to Jesus as a person “in the flesh”. The Greek construction of the term “the Word” used in the Gospel of John emphasizes that the Word had all the essence or attributes of deity, i.e. Jesus the Messiah was fully God. Although in His incarnation Christ become fully man, he took only the outward appearance of flesh, because he was completely without sin. To know Jesus is to know God.
  • Life, Light, Darkness: Contrasting themes intro by John themes will carry on throughout Gospel. Life and Light are part of Christ and shared by God and those who accept the Christ. Life refers to the spiritual life and not just the physical. Light refers to biblical truths while darkness refers to error or falsehood. Light = holiness and purity, Darkness = sin or wrongdoing.

The Text Chapter 1

  • “In the beginning” refers to the beginning of space and time. Connect to Genesis 1:1. Connecting Christ to the time of Creation indicating that Christ was not created but was with the father from the beginning.
  • The Word – Greek Logos refers to the impersonal wisdom, rational principle, divine reason; John gives this personality.
  • Word was with God – trinity, always existed
  • The Word – has all attributes and essence of a deity; Jesus was fully God and fully human
  • Jesus was God’s agent of Creation
  • The light is that Christ is the light giving light to every person.
  • Verse 11 read –ref to humanity in general and then to the nation of Israel
  • Verse 12 – acknowledging Christ claims, placing faith in him, and yielding allegiance to him
  • Verse 14 – dwelt (literally translated as pitched a tabernacle/tent) a place where God met with the people


  • Prologue is now over introduction of 1st of witnesses to prove that Jesus is the Messiah and son of God
  • 1st is John’s baptism of Jesus
  • Record of Jesus’ public miracle – water to wine 1st of 8 confirming miracles
  • Cleansing of the temple in righteous indignation – added proof of his deity and messiahship
  • Cleansing: demonstration of Jesus’ passion for God’s house to be honored and his promised power of resurrection

Keys to the text

  • Son of God: There are 2 basic events in relation to Jesus being a Son – His virgin birth and His resurrection. He wasn’t a son until he was born into this world. His sonship came into its’ full with his resurrection. Became a son at birth and declared a son in resurrection
  • Messiah: The one anointed by God and empowered by God’s Spirit to deliver his people and establish his kingdom. In Judaism, king of the Jews, a political leader to defeat their enemies and to bring in a new era of peace and prosperity. In Christianity, refers to Jesus’ role as a spiritual deliverer from sin and death.

Text: John 1:19 – 2:25


John is being questioned by the priests and Levites about who he is. Why?

Why were they confused by John the Baptist?

  • In v. 20 John the Baptist says he isn’t the Christ, which is Greek for Messiah
  • The ask about Elijah because Malachi 4:5 promises the return of Elijah before the coming of the Messiah
  • Pharisees were a religious sect distinguished by strict observance of the traditional and written law, and commonly held to have pretensions to superior sanctity.
  • Bethabara – show map

Why was Jesus called the Lamb of God? A lamb was used by the Jews during the Passover for sacrificial purposes – Christ’s ultimate sacrifice on the cross

  • Christ’s sacrifice is offered on behalf of all humanity without distinction
  • John’s purpose – 1: 32
  • Son of God is a unique reference to the oneness and intimacy that Jesus hold between him as Father and him as Son
  • The 2 disciples of John left and followed after Jesus originally was just simple curiosity to examine Christ more closely
  • They stayed with Christ at the 10th hour: 4PM, the Jews start each new day at 6AM

Who were the 2 Disciples: Andrew Simon Peter’s brother, and Andrew introduced his brother Peter to Christ

  • Jesus calls Peter Cephas is Aramaic which translated means Stone and in Greek Peter

Why was he called the Stone? What does this tell us about the person of Peter and what Jesus had in store for him?

  • By verse 43 we see Christ calling the disciple Philip who invited Nathanael

What was Philip’s assessment of Jesus? Why is this significant?

  • Nathanael questions where Christ is from because Nazareth was a small and very unimpressive really just a small hamlet meaning less than 100 people, didn’t even have a synagogue

How was Nathanael characterized? V47 Honest person

  • Christ saw Nathanael with supernatural foresight
  • Christ’s favorite way to speak of himself is the Son of Man alluding to Daniel 7: 13-14 which refers to the coming of the Messiah and His Kingdom


The wedding in Cana

  • Jesus and his friends were invited to the party
  • Jesus’ reference to his mother as woman comes out more harsh than the Greek intended which was just away to distance himself from his mother with a word of respect probably closer to Ma’am

What does Christ mean by his hour has not yet come?

  • Ancient purification rights Judaism: reference to purification through washing at major junctures in life, holidays, post menstruation, a way to recognize sinfulness and spiritual cleansing
  • This purification water was what Jesus used to make wine

How does this change the way we think of the wine?

  • This sign was to get people to understand the deeper divine realities that Christ had

What did Christ reveal about himself in the wedding at Cana?

Cleansing of the Temple

  • Jesus travelled or made a pilgrimage to Jerusalem for the Passover as was customary for every Jewish male over the age of 12.
  • Once at the temple sacrifices were required, many people travelled great distances and didn’t bring their sacrifice with them, so for their convenience they could by one there and pay exorbitant rates for these sacrifices

How did Jesus react to the sale of animals and money changers? Why?

  • The Jews referred to in v. 18 refers to the temple authorities and the Sanhedrin not all of the Jews.

What did Jesus mean when he said “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up again?”

Support Text: Exodus 12: 1-14

How does John’s understanding of Christ’s sacrifice compare with the Old Testament Passover?


  1. What descriptions does John use to introduce the person of Jesus Christ?
  2. Who was John the Baptist and what was his role and why was he important?
  3. What does the Bible mean when it refers to light? To Darkness?
  4. What do you think of when we think of Christ as the source of light and life?
  5. What was Jesus’ main agenda?
  6. How might Christ react to religious worship today?
  7. How does the Prologue function in connection with the narrative that follows?