Sermon: In the Beginning was the Word (Part 2) John 1:1-5

John Banner website_edited-1

 In the Beginning was the Word (Part 2)

John 1:1-5

Primary Truth Taught- All life is to be found in Jesus Christ.

Today, I want us to discover even more of who Jesus Christ is. Last time we saw Him as God the Son, eternally with the Father. We learned that He was in existence before anything was created and that all things were created through Him.

Before we begin today to consider verses 4-5 let’s look to another passage quickly that shows us again that Jesus is very God of very God.

John 17:1–5 (ESV)

17 When Jesus had spoken these words, he lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you, since you have given him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do. And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed.

What Jesus is asking the Father for, in this passage, is to grant Him the eternal glory He had before the world was created. We’ll see as we go through John’s Gospel that Jesus is pure deity and nothing less. Because He is God when He speaks, His words produce life.

Human Need Met

This passage explains a vital truth, namely, that only in Jesus Christ is eternal life to be found. He alone is the Creator of physical life and He alone also is the Creator of spiritual life.

John 1:1–5 (ESV)

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

  1. All Things Were Made Through Him

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.

Here, we should see this as physical creation. Much like we saw last time, The Word of God or as we know Him, the Son of God created all things.

Now, I don’t want to repreach last week’s text but it is important to lay a basic foundation so that we can completely understand the rest of John’s Gospel.

All life is found in Jesus Christ. We see in these first verses that He is the author of creation. We learned last week that the Son of God created all things and without Him nothing was created. We also learned that the Son of God maintains all things from Hebrews 1:1-4. Not only did the Son create it but also He keeps it going by the power of God.

The Son of God is responsible for creating and maintaining physical life.

The first words from God were…

Genesis 1:3 (ESV)

And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.

So, out of the deep dead darkness God speaks and light appears. His first creative act is bringing forth light.

The difference between a Christian and an atheist is that an atheist believes the material universe appeared out some cosmic event and then life appeared from a material universe much later. We believe that life existed in God before material existed. The Bible teaches that God created everything and then as He made it gave it life. So, life precedes matter because God precedes creation, not the other way around.[1]

  1. Eternal Life is Found in Him

In him was life

John 3:16 (ESV)

16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

Much like the darkness that engulfed the dead universe before creation, so too darkness was found in each and every dead heart prior to the work of God in new creation. We must not loose sight of John’s intention to connect original creation in Genesis 1 to the creation of new eternal life in Jesus Christ in salvation.

Every person ever born enters this word as a beautiful baby enslaved in spiritual death. Every person needs spiritual life. The reality is no one can give himself or herself this life. When someone is spiritually dead spiritual things are not an option for him or her. Much like when someone is physically dead physical life is not an option. A dead person cannot do anything except remain dead.

Ephesians 2:1–10 (ESV)

And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

John sets up for us in verses 1-3 the fact that Jesus is the author of creation and now in verses 4-5 he shows us that He is the author of the new creation called salvation.

John uses darkness to picture deadness and light to picture life. He does this as he compares initial creation in Genesis 1 to the new creation brought about in Jesus Christ. So he can say that when Jesus came into the world a light shone in the darkness.

So, as it were, when God speaks into the human heart He creates life within the formerly dead heart. When God speaks and creates true life within the heart salvation occurs.

  1. Eternal Light is Found in Him

In him was life, and the life was the light of men.

Jesus Christ came into the world bringing light with Him.

Isaiah 9:2 (ESV)

   The people who walked in darkness

have seen a great light;

       those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness,

on them has light shone.

Who is the Light? Jesus is.

It’s as if God says let there be light then light appears within the heart.

When Jesus came to this world He brought light and life with Him. I think that’s the point John is stressing. He brought eternal life for all whom God awakens from their deadness.

Light reveals or illuminates so we can see.   We walk into a dark room and turn on the light in order to see. Quite literally, Jesus entered this dark world and turned on the light. He brought light into the world as He spoke truth and taught the people.

Believing God’s message of eternal life brings life to the dead sinner. This is what Jesus came to accomplish.

John 5:24 (ESV)

24 Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.

Notice the result of not believing…

John 5:37–40 (ESV)

37 And the Father who sent me has himself borne witness about me. His voice you have never heard, his form you have never seen, 38 and you do not have his word abiding in you, for you do not believe the one whom he has sent. 39 You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, 40 yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life.

Believing or having faith in the message or words of Jesus brings one eternal life. Having the illuminating light shine upon the heart brings life.

That’s why time and time again Jesus called Himself the Light of the World…

John 9:5 (ESV)

As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”

Then in another passage in John, Jesus connects the dots for us…
John 8:12 (ESV)

12 Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

Walking in darkness is when one does not follow Jesus because following Him is walking in the light and this light gives eternal life.

1 John 5:11–12 (ESV)

11 And this is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. 12 Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.

So we see, without any doubt that eternal life is found in no one else but in Jesus Christ.

  1. Darkness Cannot Grasp the Light

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

Here depending on your version we have the idea that there is a violent battle between darkness and light.

KJV, NASB- Comprehend/understood

NIV, ESV- Overcome

katelaben in the Greek literally means overcame. But really given the context the word is much like our English word grasp.[2]

You can grasp something and overpower it…overcame it

You can grasp an idea and comprehend it.

So the scholarship is split down the middle. That’s why some translations say one thing and others another.

The light of life shines in the darkness of death and…

Like with any Bible mystery the answer usually surfaces if we simply keep reading. In John 1:11-13 I think we have the answer as to what the end of verse 5 means.

John 1:9–13 (ESV)

The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. 11 He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. 12 But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.

katelaben in the context means…comprehend or understand.

Here’s the reality…Darkness cannot grasp the Light. When someone is spiritually dead they cannot comprehend or understand the light. It takes a special work of God to give the true light, which enters into the dead heart and life results.

The reality is this: Light shines and illuminates the darkness. Some are brought to life by God and run toward the light for salvation. The rest of the world whom God leaves to themselves much rather prefer the darkness…
John 3:19–20 (ESV)

19 And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. 20 For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed.


As we recognize that there is darkness in this world through the sin of mankind, we’re left with an eternal dilemma. Our natural tendencies will lead us deeper and deeper into darkness. If left to ourselves we will drift toward the darkness because we realize down deep that darkness hides our sin (or so we think). This is exactly why Adam and Eve tried to hide from God after their sin.

This is why when your driving down the highway and a State Patrolman passes you; you tense up a little even if you’ve done nothing wrong. There is sin that you want to keep hidden.

When Jesus came to earth 2000 years ago He came as the Light. He exposes our sin and He deals with our sin. Our natural tendency is to run from the light because in the illuminating light of Christ our sins are exposed.

God is calling us not to run from Jesus but to run toward Him in repentance and faith.

Are there areas of your life where sin still prevails? Are there places in your heart where wickedness still lurks?

Will you not turn them over to Christ today? Will you not ask Jesus to shine His light into your heart and expose and then forgive your sin as you seek to repent?

1 John 1:5–10 (ESV)

This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.


In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

All life is to be found in Jesus Christ.

Children’s Homework

Next time we’ll be covering verses 1:6-9 which refers to someone else sent by God. Who is this man? Looking to other places in the Bible, what can you tell me about him?

Declaration of Grace

In the mercy and grace of Almighty God, Jesus Christ was given to die for us, and for His sake God forgives us all our sins. To those who believe in Jesus Christ He gives the power to become the children of God and gives to them the Holy Spirit. May the Lord, who has begun this good work in us, bring it to completion in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen


[1] John Piper Sermon on John 1:1-5

[2] John Piper

%d bloggers like this: