God has revealed Himself in Jesus.
And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John bore witness about him, and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.’”) And from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known.
John prologue culminates into these final verses. He began at the beginning of beginnings – the time of everlasting where time really never existed – and he says, “The Word existed then.” But even more, the Word was with God and was God, so the Word has always existed. He carefully chose his words to refer to the Word with the pronoun “he” which builds our expectation of the nature of the Word. The word is a person. All things were made through him, and without him was nothing made. This person, the Word, was there when all of creation was made. Genesis records this by saying that God spoke and things were created. This was the Word that John wrote about. God’s expression. This word brings and sustains life – both physical and spiritual.
So in Him was the life of all creation. In verse 4, John progresses to say that the Word was the light of men. “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it” (1:5). The past tense should not be understood to refer to a change of state or nature. That is to say that the Word did not cease to be the light – He is continually and eternally so. Rather, the use of the past tense “was” refers to a time period that has passed.
This past time occurred some years before. It began with a man named John. “He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through Him” (1:6). He was the Harold of the Word, the light. But it was important to note, that he was not the light. “The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world” (1:9). And indeed He came. But, “the world did not know Him” – the very world that He created and sustains (1:10). Still, there was a remnant that God kept and reminded. He made them “children of God” (1:12) and they received the light when the light was here during this time period.
Finally, the prologue culminates. John makes it plain. He explains what his gospel details. The Word became flesh and dwelt among us (1:14). This Word, the One who existed before time, created all things, is the expression of God, is the life giver and sustain, and is the light of men – has come. These are the details of this period of time spoken of earlier. God, came to earth and wrapped Himself in the flesh of man to be man. He dwelt among His own created people so that we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth (1:14). The Word was the perfect expression of God’s own glorious nature. He was full of grace and truth.
And as he mentioned earlier, John bore witness about him, and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me’” (1:15). John did come and did cry out and did Harold the coming Word because the Word did in fact come.
And from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace (1:16). Grace is unmerited favor. John is describing the fullness of God (Eph. 3:19; Col. 1:19) which was received as a man to be seen, touched, and heard. Such a privilege was not earned since no one remembered Him and everyone had already replaced Him with their own gods. Yet, this is the nature of God. He is gracious. He gives when we have done nothing to earn His favor. In the Word was the fullness of God and thus, the fullness of grace revealed.
Truth was also in the Word and in fullness. That is to say that the Word lived a perfect life and spoke perfect truth. He never waivered or fell short. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through the Word (1:17). The law, the commands of God and standards for perfection, gave only a reflection of man’s shortcomings. Man, who was supposed to obey the law, always disobeyed the law. But the Word, who gave the law, kept it perfectly. The law was made to remind man of his need for a Savior outside of himself. Therefore, the law condemned man. But the Word, who kept the law perfectly and earned the glorious reward of eternity and God’s love, graciously gave His reward to those who did receive Him, those who believed.
Alas, the Word is given a name. It is Jesus who is the Christ. John identifies the Word of God, the expression of God’s fullness, as the man named Jesus. And he reminds his readers that no one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known (1:18). God has remained unseen. No one has seen Him. Yet, He decided to reveal Himself in a way that could be understood and seen. Jesus, the Word of God, came and man gazed upon Him and saw His fullness.
John’s prologue ends with this: God has revealed Himself to all of His creation in Jesus; receive and believe in Him.