Introductory Note - The Gospel of John is here placed first in order for the following reasons:-
(1) This Gospel is specially the Doctrinal Record of our Lord's life. The Great Teacher has here elaborated the thought and purpose of God concerning His plan of salvation by a Gift; and upon this basis have been formulated and propagated the doctrines of the Christian faith. This record should therefore precede the Historical Narratives. All those passages which I put between brackes [-] are comments of the Evangelist upon his narrative, made in his old age, when he translated it into Greek from his original Hebrew for the Greek churches.
(2) There is ample reason for believing that the Gospel of John was written at an earlier date than those of the other three Evangelists. For a discussion on this subject the reader is referred to "What Think Ye of The Gospels?" by the Rev. J. J. Halcombe (Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark), and Bishop Westcott's "St. John's Gospel."
The WORD existed in the beginning, and the WORD was with God, and the Word was God. He was present with God at the beginning. All came into existence by means of Him; and nothing came into existence apart from Him. What orginated in Him was Life; and the Life was the Light of Mankind. That Light shines in the darkness; but the darkness did not absorb it.
A man came, sent from God; his name was John. He came for witness, in order that he might give evidence concerning that Light, so that all might believe through him. He was not himself the Light; his mission was to give evidence concerning that Light. The real Light was that which enlightens every man coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was created by means of Him; yet the world did not recognise Him.
He came to His own home; but His own family did not welcome Him. But whosoever welcomed Him, believing in His power, He bestowed upon them the right to become children of God. They were not begotten from blood, nor from natural desire, nor yet from the design of man; but from God Himself.
And the WORD became incarnate, and encamped among us—and we gazed upon His majesty, such majesty as that of a Father's only Son—full of beneficnce and truth.
[John gave evidence concerning Him proclaiming:
"This was the One concerning Whom I said, 'He Who follows me takes rank above me; because He existed before me.'"]
So out of His fulness we were all supplied, with gift heaped upon gift. Although the Law was given through Moses; the true gift came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever yet seen God; He has been made known by the only Son,1 Who exists in union with the Father.
Now, this is the evidence given by John, when the Judeans of Jerusalem sent priests and Levites in order that they might ask him,
"Who are You?" Without attempting to deny it, he frankly stated, "I am no the Messiah." "What then?" asked they. Are you Elijah?"2 He replied, "I am not." "Then are you the Prophet?"3 "No, he replied. They therefore asked him, "What are you? Tell us, in order that we may give an answer to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?"
He replied: "I am but a voice proclaiming in the desert, 'Make read the highway for the Lord,' as was foretold by the prophet Isaiah."4
Now the deputation had been sent by the Pharisees. They therefore asked him:
"Why do you then baptize, if you are not the Messiah, nor Elijah, nor yet the Prophet?"
In reply, John said to them:
"I baptize in water; but among you is standing One Whome you know not—He Who follows me. His shoes I am not even worthy to unfasten."
This interview took place in Bethany on the other side of the Jordan, where John was then baptizing.
On the following day he saw Jesus coming towards him, and exclaimed:
"See the Lamb of God, Who takes away the sin of the world! This was the One about Whom I said, 'There follows me a Man Who takes rank above me, since He was in existence before me.' I did not myself know Him; but I cam baptizing in water, in order that He might be manifested to Israel."
John also gave further evidence, saying:
"I saw the Spirit descending from heaven in the likeness of a dove, and alighting upon Him. Yet I should not myself have known Him; but He Who sent me to baptize in water, He said to me, 'Upon Whomsoever you see the Spirit descending and alighting, He is the Baptizer in Holy Spirit." And I have myself seen, and have given my evidence that this is the Son of God."
Again, on the day after that, John was standing along with two of his disciples; and watching Jesus walking, he exclaimed:
"See! There is the Lamb of God!"
The two disciples, hearing him speak in this way, followed Jesus. Jesus, turning round, and observing them following, asked them:
"What do you seek?"
In reply, they asked: "Rabbi [which, when translated, means Teacher], where are you staying?"
"Come, and you shall see," He said. They accordingly went and saw where He was staying, and remained with Him for the rest of that day; it was then about four o'clock in the afternoon.
Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter, was one of the two who heard the remark of John, and followed Him. He first of all sought out his own brother Simon, and told him:
"We have found the Messiah," [which, when translated, means, in Greek, the Christ]. Andrew then took Simon to Jesus. Jesus, looking at him, said: "You are Simon, the son of John: you shall be called Kephas" [which, when translated, means a Stone, or Peter].
At a subsequent time Jesus desired to return to Galilee; and, meeting Philip on the way, He said to him:
Now Philip belonged to Bethsaida, the native town of Andrew and Peter. Philip sought out Nathanael, and said to him:
"The One to Whom Moses referred in the law, and of Whom the Prophets also wrote, we have found in Jesus, the son of Joseph, Who came from Nazareth."
Nathanael, however, asked;
"Is it possible that anything good can come out of Nazareth?"
"Come and see," replied Philip.
Jesus, seeing Nathanael coming towards Him, remarked about him:
"Here is an Israelite indeed, in whom there is no duplicity."
"What do You know concerning me?" asked Nathanael.
"Before ever Philip called you," replied Jesus, "while you were under the fig-tree, I saw you."
"Teacher!" Nathanael answered Him, "You are the Son of God; You are King of Israel."
"Do you really believe," asked Jesus, "because I said I had seen you beneath the fig-tree? You will see far more than that. Most assuredly I tell you," He added, "you shall see the heaven open, and the messengers of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man."5