Study Guide

Gospel of John Chapter 1

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Chapter 1

Make Way for Jesus

  • In the beginning, there's Jesus.
  • Jesus is God's word. He's always been with God and always will be. Word. (Sorry, we had to.)
  • Everything in the world is made through this guy. He's the light that shines in the darkness, and the darkness can't do anything to stop him. So, yeah, he's a pretty big deal.
  • John the Baptist is around, too, but he's just been sent by God to tell everyone about the light (i.e., Jesus). Hey, there has to be a messenger, right?
  • Side note: for those of you who might be thinking that John is the light sent from God, John's gospel wants you to know that he is not. The light is Jesus, and people are about to get hit with that info—hard.
  • Yes, it's true Jesus is already here, living in the world, but the people of the world don't know about him—yet. Some of them don't like or won't accept him either, but the ones who do accept him will be VIPs in God's book. That's a pretty good incentive, wouldn't you say?
  • If that weren't enough, we're told that Jesus is also everything God says and thinks in human form. He lives among us and we get to see how glorious he is. He will show us all God's grace and truth. Well, then.
  • Again, John the Baptist stresses to everyone that Jesus is the important one we should be paying attention to. John is not the light. Thanks John, we got it the first time.
  • Why does Jesus rank above John? Because he's eternal and divine. Oh, got it.
  • Moses might have given the people their laws, but Jesus will show all of us what God is really about. Sorry, Moses—at least you got to talk to that burning bush.
  • By the way, no person has ever seen God, except those who have seen Jesus. Yep, that's right. Jesus = God.
  • It's actually God who brought Jesus into the world.

John the Baptist Does His Thing

  • John the Baptist is in Bethany, baptizing people by the Jordan River.
  • The religious authorities there ask him who on earth he is. They're pretty nosy. It's kind of their thing.
  • John quickly explains that he is not the messiah or one of the big-time Jewish prophets. Just for some added street cred, John quotes Isaiah.
    Turns out, he's just there to announce the coming of the Lord. NBD.
  • The religious authorities want to know why John is baptizing people by the Jordan River if he isn't really important enough to be doing so.
  • Okay, baptism police…
  • John's answer? He's only baptizing people with water, but Jesus is going to do a whole lot more. In fact, Jesus is going to be so much more amazing than John, that John won't even be fit to stoop down and untie his shoes.
  • John might have a bit of a self-esteem problem.

Lost and Found

  • The next day, John sees Jesus walking around and tells everyone: There! That's the guy I've been talking about!
  • Vindicated.
  • John explains that he saw a spirit come down to Jesus like a dove. God powers activate! Form of a dove!
  • John didn't even know who Jesus was before this. But when he saw it, he remembered that God had told him that the person to whom the spirit comes is the messiah—the one he had been looking for.
  • Oh, God also told him that this person is the Son of God. 
  • That's a pretty informative dove.

Jesus Gathers His Entourage

  • Another day passes, and John is standing around again with some of his disciples.
  • He sees Jesus walk by and again tells his disciples that Jesus is the VIP sent by God.
  • Two of John's disciples decide that maybe they've been following the wrong guy, so they go to see what this Jesus person is all about. It couldn't hurt, right? Spoiler alert: It could.
  • When Jesus asks them what they want from him, they call him "Teacher" and ask where he's staying. Jesus tells them to come and see his place. The two guys follow him back home and stay with him for the day.
  • One of the guys who stays with Jesus is Andrew, the brother of someone named Simon. On an unrelated note, Shmoop is totally over the fact that, growing up, everyone always thought of us in relation to our brother. We swear.
  • After meeting with Jesus, Andrew goes to find his brother and tells him that he has found the messiah. Well, that didn't take much convincing.
  • Andrew takes Simon to meet Jesus and Jesus gives him a new name, Peter, which means "Rock." We didn't know Jesus was such a huge fan of wrestling. And children's movies.
  • The next day, Jesus decides to head to Galilee. There, he meets a guy named Philip and invites him to join their group. Philip then tries to recruit a friend named Nathanael. Things are moving quickly.
  • When Phillip tells him that Jesus is from Nazareth, Nathanael is skeptical, but Philip asks him to come see for himself.
  • Jesus plays the creeper and says a few things that reveal that Jesus already knows who Nathanael is. Nathanael is majorly confused, but Jesus tells him that he saw him under a fig tree. Apparently, this is proof enough for Nathanael, and he decides Jesus is the messiah. That was easy.
  • Jesus jokes with him: if he believes based just on the fig tree story, he's about to get schooled with amazing things. 
  • Oh, you want an example? Well, for one, heaven will open up and all the angels will come down to hang with Jesus. So there's that.

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