1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4 In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
We begin the fourth Gospel of John. John has a very specific purpose that is different than the other three gospels. John is written later in the 1st century, when false teaching was starting to creep into the church. The most major false teaching was that Jesus was not really God. He was either only a prophet not really God. Or, he looked like a human, but he was really a spirit being which was in a human body. So John's main purpose is to show that Jesus is both 100% God and 100% man. We will look for this each day as we go through the 21 chapters of John.
Today, like Genesis 1, John states that in the beginning was the "Word", and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The Greek word for this is "logos". It means the "word about God", or everything we can know about God. And we see this Word was part of Creation, co-creating with God. It says, "Through Him all things were made." Then, he ascribes two other qualities for this Word. The Word is both life, and the light of all mankind. Then the kicker is in verse 14 where it says, "then the Word became flesh and dwelt among us full of grace and truth." Later John says this one "full of grace and truth" is Jesus Christ.
So what does this tell us about Jesus? First, he was with God in the beginning, and was with God creating all things. And it says, "He was God!" If anyone would say the bible doesn't teach that Jesus is God, it doesn't get any clearer than this. If someone says, "Jesus is just a good prophet or teacher", they haven't either read or believed this verse in John 1. Importantly verse 13 says, "that whoever has believed in Jesus as the Son of God that God gave the right to become children of God." They have become "born again", or born of God.
The first four verses of John are power-packed. The rest of this book will continue to show how Jesus really is 100% God and 100% man. It will show Jesus' life in a more personal way than the other gospels, and show us the true nature of both his divinity and humanity. This kept the church from heresies that would have destroyed the basics of the Christian faith. Why? Because if Jesus wasn't God, he would have to die for himself. If he wasn't human, he could not have died.