1-2 The Word was first,
the Word present to God,
God present to the Word.
The Word was God,
in readiness for God from day one. 3-5Everything was created through him;
nothing—not one thing!—
came into being without him.
What came into existence was Life,
and the Life was Light to live by.
The Life-Light blazed out of the darkness;
the darkness couldn’t put it out.
6-8There once was a man, his name John, sent by God to point out the way to the Life-Light. He came to show everyone where to look, who to believe in. John was not himself the Light; he was there to show the way to the Light.
Holy Spirit, I know I should live a life that points to Jesus, but I am weak. Please help me to live a life that brings no glory to myself, but only gives glory to God. Please, change me so others find Jesus. Use all my time, energy, and life for whatever purpose You have for me.
9-13The Life-Light was the real thing:
Every person entering Life
he brings into Light.
He was in the world,
the world was there through him,
and yet the world didn’t even notice.
He came to his own people,
but they didn’t want him.
But whoever did want him,
who believed he was who he claimed
and would do what he said,
He made to be their true selves,
their child-of-God selves.
These are the God-begotten,
Father, have You begotten me? It is so hard to imagine. How can I have anything to do with You, I am a faithless sinner. Jesus, why would You die for me? I don’t understand it. But Your Word says I am now a child-of-God, so I am. I am a prodigal sometimes. I am a fool sometimes. But I am Your son. My Father is the all-loving creator of the universe! Father, I am afraid, for I have sinned. Do whatever it takes to make me what You want, and do the same for my family too.
14The Word became flesh and blood,
and moved into the neighborhood.
We saw the glory with our own eyes,
the one-of-a-kind glory,
like Father, like Son,
Generous inside and out,
true from start to finish.
Jesus, that is a great description. Generous inside and out, true from start to finish. I have my sins and pride that I hide, but not You. Jesus, change me so I am pure and single-hearted, generous and true through my entire being. Change me Lord. Change me.
15John pointed him out and called, “This is the One! The One I told you was coming after me but in fact was ahead of me. He has always been ahead of me, has always had the first word.”
16-18We all live off his generous bounty,
gift after gift after gift.
Jesus, I hear such extreme gratitude in John’s words, of course they are Your words. Give me that attitude of gratitude. Help me understand the depth of Your gifts to us, to me, and be truly thankful. John wrote this after a life of extreme suffering. Give me that wisdom and gratitude.
We got the basics from Moses,
and then this exuberant giving and receiving,
This endless knowing and understanding—
all this came through Jesus, the Messiah.
No one has ever seen God,
not so much as a glimpse.
This one-of-a-kind God-Expression,
who exists at the very heart of the Father,
has made him plain as day.
Jesus, You are so obvious to John, so real, so alive. Help me to know You like that. Help me to know Your ways and Your love and Your power. Help me see You – plain as day – clearly all around me.
Thunder in the Desert
19-20When Jews from Jerusalem sent a group of priests and officials to ask John who he was, he was completely honest. He didn’t evade the question. He told the plain truth: “I am not the Messiah.” 21They pressed him, “Who, then? Elijah?”
“I am not.”
22Exasperated, they said, “Who, then? We need an answer for those who sent us. Tell us something—anything!—about yourself.”
23“I’m thunder in the desert: ‘Make the road straight for God!’ I’m doing what the prophet Isaiah preached.”
24-25Those sent to question him were from the Pharisee party. Now they had a question of their own: “If you’re neither the Messiah, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet, why do you baptize?”
26-27John answered, “I only baptize using water. A person you don’t recognize has taken his stand in your midst. He comes after me, but he is not in second place to me. I’m not even worthy to hold his coat for him.”
28These conversations took place in Bethany on the other side of the Jordan, where John was baptizing at the time.
Jesus, You described John as the greatest prophet that ever lived, and yet he says he is not worthy to hold Your coat. John was so dedicated to serving You he didn’t care at all what he ate or wore. If John is so unworthy, I am so much more unworthy. You are so merciful. You love me, though I am like a bug compared to You – or worse! You are so amazing. So much love, so undeserved.
Jesus, help me to never expect people to deserve my love. I would be such a hypocrite to think that for even a minute. Help me to love the unloved. Who could be more unworthy of love than me?
29-31The very next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and yelled out, “Here he is, God’s Passover Lamb! He forgives the sins of the world! This is the man I’ve been talking about, ‘the One who comes after me but is really ahead of me.’ I knew nothing about who he was—only this: that my task has been to get Israel ready to recognize him as the God-Revealer. That is why I came here baptizing with water, giving you a good bath and scrubbing sins from your life so you can get a fresh start with God.”
Father, thank-you for the fresh start You have given me…and keep giving me minute after minute. Help me not to blow it and return to my old self. Keep me in Your hand and keep changing me. Father, bring more people to You, especially my family and friends. Help them to accept the fresh start You offer them.
32-34John clinched his witness with this: “I watched the Spirit, like a dove flying down out of the sky, making himself at home in him. I repeat, I know nothing about him except this: The One who authorized me to baptize with water told me, ‘The One on whom you see the Spirit come down and stay, this One will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’ That’s exactly what I saw happen, and I’m telling you, there’s no question about it: This is the Son of God.”
Come, See for Yourself
35-36The next day John was back at his post with two disciples, who were watching. He looked up, saw Jesus walking nearby, and said, “Here he is, God’s Passover Lamb.” 37-38The two disciples heard him and went after Jesus. Jesus looked over his shoulder and said to them, “What are you after?”
They said, “Rabbi” (which means “Teacher”), “where are you staying?”
39He replied, “Come along and see for yourself.”
They came, saw where he was living, and ended up staying with him for the day. It was late afternoon when this happened.
40-42Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, was one of the two who heard John’s witness and followed Jesus. The first thing he did after finding where Jesus lived was find his own brother, Simon, telling him, “We’ve found the Messiah” (that is, “Christ”). He immediately led him to Jesus.
Jesus took one look up and said, “You’re John’s son, Simon? From now on your name is Cephas” (or Peter, which means “Rock”).
43-44The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. When he got there, he ran across Philip and said, “Come, follow me.” (Philip’s hometown was Bethsaida, the same as Andrew and Peter.)
45-46Philip went and found Nathanael and told him, “We’ve found the One Moses wrote of in the Law, the One preached by the prophets. It’s Jesus, Joseph’s son, the one from Nazareth!” Nathanael said, “Nazareth? You’ve got to be kidding.”
But Philip said, “Come, see for yourself.”
47When Jesus saw him coming he said, “There’s a real Israelite, not a false bone in his body.”
48Nathanael said, “Where did you get that idea? You don’t know me.”
Jesus answered, “One day, long before Philip called you here, I saw you under the fig tree.”
49Nathanael exclaimed, “Rabbi! You are the Son of God, the King of Israel!”
50-51Jesus said, “You’ve become a believer simply because I say I saw you one day sitting under the fig tree? You haven’t seen anything yet! Before this is over you’re going to see heaven open and God’s angels descending to the Son of Man and ascending again.”
Jesus, all these men just quit what they were doing to follow You. I’m sure they had lives, and jobs, and wives, and friends, just like I do. They just dropped it all to be with You. Help me to see when I need to just drop everything and spend time with You. My priorities can get so messed up in the hurried pace of day-to-day life. I know You want me to work and be with my family etc., but help me to grab those moments when You do want me to be alone with You. They are a lot more often than I am doing now.