1In the beginning the Word already was.#1:1. In other words, the Word existed from eternity past. The concept of the Word means more than letters making up a word: it is the divine mind, the expression of God, the active aspect of divinity that speaks into existence as in Genesis 1:1. The Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2In the beginning he was with God. 3Everything came into being through him; nothing came into being without him. 4In him was life, the life that was the light of everyone. 5The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not extinguished it.#1:5. The word in the original can also mean “overpowered” or “understood.”
6God sent a man named John. 7He came as a witness to explain about the light so that everyone might believe through him. 8He himself was not the light, but he came to witness to the light.
9The true light was coming into the world to give light to everyone. 10He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world didn't know who he was.#1:10. Or “didn't recognize him.” 11He came to his own people, but they didn't accept him.#1:11. Or “He came to his own home but his own people did not welcome him.” 12But to all those who accepted him and trusted in him, he gave the right to become God's children. 13These are the children born not in the usual way, not as the result of human desire or a father's decision, but born of God. 14The Word became human and lived among us, and we saw his glory, the glory of the Father's one and only#1:14. Literally, “only begotten.” This refers to position and uniqueness rather than birth. Son, full of grace and truth.
15John gave his testimony about him, shouting out to the people, “This is the one I was telling you about when I said, ‘The one who is coming after me is more important than me, for before I ever existed he already was.’” 16We have all been recipients of his generous nature, one gracious gift after another. 17The law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18While no one has ever seen God, God the one and only, who is close to the Father, has shown us what God is like.#1:18. Or “has made him known.”
19This is what John publicly stated when the Jewish leaders sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, “Who are you?” 20John declared plainly and clearly without hesitation, “I am not the Messiah.”
21“So then, who are you?” they asked. “Elijah?”
“No, I'm not,” he answered.
“Are you the Prophet?”#1:21. In Jewish thought a special prophet was expected before the End.
“No,” he replied.
22“Well, who are you, then?” they asked. “We have to give an answer to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?”
23“I am a voice calling in the desert, ‘Make the Lord's way straight!’” he said, using the words of the prophet Isaiah.#1:23. Quoting Isaiah 40:3.
24The priests and Levites#1:24. “Priests and Levites”: implied from verse 19. sent by the Pharisees 25asked him, “Why then are you baptizing, if you're not the Messiah, or Elijah, or the Prophet?”
26John replied, “I baptize with water, but standing among you is someone you don't know. 27He is coming after me, but I am not even worthy to untie his sandals.” 28This all happened in Bethany beyond the Jordan, where John was baptizing.
29The next day John saw Jesus approaching him, and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! 30This is the one I was talking about when I said, ‘A man who is coming after me is more important than me, for before I ever existed he already was.’ 31I didn't know myself who he was, but I came baptizing with water so that he could be revealed to Israel.”
32John gave his evidence about him, saying, “I saw the Spirit descend from heaven like a dove and rest upon him. 33I wouldn't have known him except he who sent me to baptize with water had told me, ‘The one you see the Spirit descend to and rest upon, he is the one who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ 34I saw it happen and I declare that this is the Son of God.”
35The next day John was standing there with two of his disciples. 36He saw Jesus passing by, and said, “Look! This is the Lamb of God!” 37When the two disciples heard what he said they went and followed Jesus.
38Jesus turned round and saw them following him. “What are you looking for?” he asked them.
“Rabbi (which means ‘Teacher’), where are you staying?” they asked in reply.
39“Come and see,” he told them. So they went with him and saw where he was staying. It was about four p.m., and they spent the rest of the day with him.
40Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter, was one of these two disciples who had heard what John said and followed Jesus. 41He went at once to find his brother Simon and told him, “We've found the Messiah!” (which means “Christ”).#1:41. Christ means “the Anointed One.” 42He took him to Jesus. Looking directly at Simon, Jesus said, “You are Simon, son of John. But now you will be called Cephas,” (which means “Peter”).#1:42. Cephas and Peter both mean “rock” or “stone.”
43The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. Jesus found Philip there, and told him, “Follow me.” 44Philip was from Bethsaida, the same town that Andrew and Peter came from.
45Philip found Nathanael and told him, “We've found the one that Moses wrote about in the law and that the prophets did too—Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.”
46“From Nazareth? Can anything good come from there?” Nathanael wondered.
“Just come and see,” Philip replied.
47As Jesus saw Nathanael approaching, he said about him, “Look, here's a true Israelite! There's nothing false about him.”
48“How do you know who I am?” Nathanael asked.
“I saw you there under the fig tree, before Philip called you,” Jesus replied.
49“Rabbi, you are the Son of God, the king of Israel!” Nathaniel exclaimed.
50“You believe this just because I told you I saw you under the fig tree?” Jesus replied. “You'll get to see much more than that!” 51Then Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, you will all see heaven open, and the angels of God going up and down on the Son of man.”#1:51. Referring to Jacob's experience in Genesis 28:12, with the term “Son of man” replacing the word “ladder.”