The Gospel of John

J. N. Darby.

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(Notes and Comments Vol. 6.)

John  1

It is not the offices of the Lord that the Gospel of John so much unfolds, but His Sonship of the Father, and of man associated with that which He really was. The Word was with God, and was God. All the historical matter is ministration of the exhibition of this great, leading, central truth, the hinge of heaven and earth as its centre in truth and dispensation. For I must add here, also, that the association of our Lord with the Jews as the dispensed form and purposed revelation of this character is also, in its place, brought in here, with all the development of truth of which prophecy gives the formal accomplishment or display.

This chapter accordingly presents us, as a sort of introduction, so to speak, with the Person of Jesus, in its existence, incarnation, and all the various relationships in which it stood to God and man, centring in its revelation to us (the only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, declaring Him), adding the form and character of the dispensation.

Is there not something in the frame of John's spirit, and his communion with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ, which peculiarly fitted him to tarry, as said the Lord Christ, till He came? And may we not learn what peculiarly holds its ground against the subtlety of disorganising heresy and antinomianism (which separate from the love and communion of God) from the exhibition we have of the mind that was in him?

- 1-3. There would seem to be more meaning in pros ton Theon ("with God") than merely apud (nigh), expressed by para Theo. I know of no case of pros ton being used merely in this sense. The most analogous passage is "that eternal life, which was with the Father," but there is ending in included in this word pros, and communicative association. It stood there in the presence of, and associated (vitally) with God. Also "in the beginning" means in existence prior to time; we find Him in essential, eternal existence. Everything else had a beginning, a cause commencing it, but He "was in the beginning." Therefore it is said, "The devil sinneth from," not in, "the beginning." The comment on Theos (God) here is idle, and proves only the ignorance of the commentators. Every affirmation of nature or quality concerning an object is without the article, and the object or subject matter affirmed of with it. Had it been ho Theos, it would have made ho Logos (the Word) exclusively God, and denied the Deity of the Father and the Spirit.

2 We have here, also, the most solemn statement, as of the eternal existence, so of the personality of the Word. He was the Mediator of creation as well as redemption. God could do nothing towards the creature but by mediation. And there was another reason, and that was, that the whole scheme was to manifest the Son, and in and through Him the other two Persons; and therefore all things were created by Him and for Him (to the end of verse 3).

- 4, 5. Then we have the full development of Him concerning whom these things were, and who was revealed in them. Then what He was amongst men (for "as in Adam, so in Christ"; for this Sonship was above the dispensation of Judaism, and so this gospel presents Him). He was "in the beginning" (en arkee). And now in man was death and knowledge entered into the world by sin; but knowledge without the power of truth is darkness and confusion. But the Lord was the power of knowledge in all those things as to which knowledge had come in. "In him was life," not merely here as manifested, but to be manifested, as compare 1 John 1:2. Light was the perfect rectitude of divine conversation in which this life, being of power, formed and exhibited itself through all that was scattered in darkness and confusion in the knowledge of that which had not the power. Therefore, "He that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life." So, "The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set me free from the law of sin and death." The life, that which was in the Son Himself, therefore was the light of men. He was, therefore, antecedent to all dispensation, morally as well as actually the light of men, such as they were. But there was another point, their intelligence of this light; hence another truth: "The light appears in darkness," for in light, so to speak, there is no appearance of light, "and the darkness" (now the fact) "comprehended it not." Hence the whole need of dispensation, and the ground of specialty of grace; I do not say the cause.

- 6. There was a man who had a mission from God whose name was John. He came not to be but "for a witness concerning the light, that all might believe." Hence John's mission, though of dispensation in its exercise, in one sense was universal in its character, or rather subject. Repentance is light in darkness, or darkness seeing the light. But still, in its exercise, it was confined, but "That was the true light which, coming into the world, lighteth every man." Such was the character of Christ's (the Word's) manifestation. So, therefore, it was "in the world."

3 We come now to the personal facts, for the moral is here brought into fact, as drawn from fact before, "In the beginning." The divisions of subjects are: verses 1-5, original truths; verses 5-14, display of them abstractly considered in dispensations; verse 14, the truths resumed in the actuality of dispensation. Though I think the Persons are implied, yet the expression is, I think, characteristic: hos monogenous para patros (as of an only begotten with a father). We might translate it in English, conveying these two things: "as firstborn with his father."

- 7. Note also an omitted circumstance, that no testimony was competent, that is, because of man's darkness, to lead or influence the human soul, for there was not only light but testimony concerning the light, see chapter 5:32, and following verses.

- 10. Most wonderful sentence! Yet the simple history of the whole matter, and when we consider the statement of His character which went before, what do we learn of the world! But all was divided between these two: "He was in the world" (let the world remember it, the world which "was made by him," for we have it here not in abstract but in fact), and "the world knew him not." It was pitch darkness, and the light of God gained no entrance, found no single chord of response which could know that it was light; but farther dispensations had been arranged by which, as entering in by the door in a way appointed of God, owned of them, every tie of personal interest should be awakened and fulfilled. "He came unto his own," for our Lord was the Son of David and King born of the Jews, and "His own received him not," adding rebellion and folly. The light that was in them was darkness, and how great therefore was it! "But as many": it is general, but applies specifically to the Jews. Here we find the characteristic fruit of the mission in grace from His office. "As many as received him, to them gave he right to be children of God." It was the position and title in which He placed them. Thus called from the darkness, He gave them authority to be and walk in this character, what none ever had before, for even Moses was faithful as a servant in all God's house, but now He "as Son over his house" (but the time of that is simply the millennial day).

4  - 12, 13. This word tekna Theou (children of God) is John's delight, and is of vast importance. See 1 John 3:1, and following verses; compare also Romans 8:14, 16, 17. "Children" (tekna) is, I take it, the family name towards God; sons (huioi) the prescriptive character in which we stand to the world. This speaks, then, of the familiar blessedness of their relation towards God, not their dignity merely toward man; and in truth they were born, they did really derive their life from God; it was by no act towards Him. "Of his own will begat he us by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures." So Peter. There is much contained in this assertion. Here, then, we have the whole result of the manifestation of the Word simply considered in its efficiency as of God, as before of its independent existence, and the result of its outward manifestation.

- 14. Here we come to the whole method and order of this glorious blessing and truth. Having spoken of those as made sons of God, he now speaks of the great root and source of sonship, Christ come in the flesh; for here we have it not as of light merely, and therefore damnatory of darkness, but what it was, and now in fulness of communicated grace to those who received Him, who were made partakers of the same sonship, "sometimes darkness, but now light in the Lord."

This was from the will of God; before, what He was in Himself, and as representing God in character; now what He was in grace, replenishing human nature with His fulness as Son of God, and making others partakers in the same: "The Word became flesh." As the other was the essential character, so this is the revelation of the mesne; yet also the way of glory, for "he that hath seen me hath seen the Father also." Christ is the consummation of glory, but it is the Father's glory, while it is His therefore as "an only begotten with a father" ("with" used as we saw it before). Here He is not known; His manifestation, His dwelling among us, was the question; but this is what the glory was. Further, I note this is as manifested, that is, as man, for He was manifested in the flesh. Nor do I see that in this character He is spoken of as Son save as known in the flesh. He is spoken of previously as the Word, etc.; now as Son. Now, though He have this title by inheritance, which none else have, yet is the manifestation of Him as Son of God in and as man, that man by adoption into unity with Him might know they were sons, and thus their adoption into sonship, and reception of the fulness secured.*

{*I read this over, fearing lest there might in human expressions be any colour for that approach to Sabellianism which is not uncommon in connection with the term Son, which I believe to destroy the basis of all truth, but if taken simply it is free from this danger (I hate the heresy, and would guard against the fibre of its roots), and I think takes the truth out of the hands of the heretics Still the manifestation of Him is as "an only begotten with a father"; and what is still stronger as to the fact, "the only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father" The confusion is in not seeing He is Son in creation as well as in redemption, and the order of both, and that He redeemed as Son what He created as Son.}

5  - 15. In that which was now necessary, then, to be declared, lest by humiliation that which was to be declared might be concealed, we have the great harbinger of the light at once brought forward to testify, "This is he of whom I said," etc.

- 16, 17. For indeed it is out of His fulness we have all received (these the words of the second John commenting on the force of the statement of the former, connected with his own to which that bore testimony) and that not vaguely, or as grace commonly understood, but by being the fulness available in man, and exhibiting itself according to the purpose of God in all the circumstances in which the Son of God was to be placed, we adopted (and as Firstborn, and Only Begotten, having it in Himself, for "all fulness was pleased to dwell in him") into unity with Him. "Grace upon grace," grace corresponding to every grace in Him, for it is His grace in a man, and ours in Him by union into it; for the law was given as a transferable thing to those who received, or to whom it was made known by Moses. But grace and truth were by Jesus Christ, or the Anointed.

- 18. In connection with this, and in superiority over the law, which was indeed the perfect testimony of His will in testimony in law, there is another thing: "No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son," the subject now in treatment, "who is in the bosom of the Father," that is His place, "He hath declared him." The Word, then, was made flesh; that is the declaration of the fact by the Spirit. Then we have the aspect of faith concerning this, and the testimony of John (that is, the Spirit as residing in him) concerning it as the height of the Jewish dispensation, for indeed in principle he was the restorer of all things. We have then faith so apprehending and declaring Him, capacity to understand what the experience of the apostle, in the power and testimony of the Holy Ghost, declares of His fulness, for here was the grand difference of the dispensation. But further, this was the declaration. What? That of which we have received portion - blessed be God! - of God, even the Father. "Lord," said one, "shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us." This, then, in all its fulness, thus fully spoken of, He is, as become flesh, and so revealed to faith, the only begotten Son; therefore so the apostle speaks in Ephesians 3:16-19, etc.

6  - 19. We have now the testimony of John, and that associated in matter with what we have before had of the Lord, but therein the discovery of the place he held towards Christ and Israel; for in giving honour to Jesus he manifested his own place. Christ was to come among the Jews, and here testified to as the Lord amongst them. He answers their expectations: Christ, the Prophet, that is, like to Moses or Elias. If a person has a direct office from God, it may be as much a matter of faithfulness to affirm what he is (and a test of truth, too, for he commits himself to God's making good his assertion) as to disavow what he is not. He acts, not for or from himself, but from God, in obedience.

We have here the first assertion made good in the circumstances. "He was not that light, but came to bear witness of the light," and, "The light shineth in darkness, and the darkness comprehended it not"; and the incipient development of "His own received him not." This addressed to the Jews; testimony to them of John's ministry among them, and of the Lord in that.

- 27. The order of manifestation is not always the order of glory; so we may say of the first and second Adam (compare verse 15).

- 28. Was not all this not only after our Lord's baptism, but also on His return from the wilderness after His temptation? It would appear so, as I see at present plainly from comparison of the accounts in the gospels. But this was as apprehended and felt by John so apprised by the Spirit of who He was, or the outgoings of the Spirit in him. So we see it in the Psalms. It is a recognition of Him as such, not properly a testimony. Verse 32 is the testimony on which this is founded, but it is still the prophetic Spirit.

7  - 29. Here is John's prophetic testimony to Him generally, identifying the Person all through these testimonies as the One who "was before me." His specific office he states in verse 31. Personally, he did not know Him. He was pointed out prophetically to him, and by him; and so he spake; but there was no difference in this in John from the rest. We see the difference of the prophetic Spirit and the gift of the Holy Ghost, and how the least also in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he, though "of those born of women there hath not arisen a greater than John Baptist." Observe here also the prophetic testimony reaches out to His generic character: "Who taketh away the sin of the world."

- 32. We have another definite testimony to a distinct point - the Sonship of Jesus; and this by the testimony given of all adopted sons; also the Spirit of God sent down upon them: "Ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus"; and, "Because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into our hearts." So because He was the beloved Son (we also loved as He) the Spirit was sent upon Him, token to John that He was so. Here we see the importance of seeing His Sonship in the flesh. If we look at it simply in His divinity all this is lost, and our interest and union in it, though it be also by our being made partakers of the divine nature that we have indeed this portion and union which He had by virtue of being such. Dispensatorily I believe also the Sonship was associated with the Jewish people, for "Israel is my first-born," and, "I have called my Son out of Egypt"; but as "Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world" we know that Gentiles are brought in to be fellow-heirs by the gospel, and receive the promise of the Spirit by faith. In this we have the two great characteristic testimonies as to the Lord Jesus Christ. First (though "He was before me," the same Person here testified of), "The Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world," subject and passive as come in the flesh on account of sin, His work in the flesh; as in Person the Displayer of the Father's glory. This is Jesus. Secondly, as actively, and constituted, the Baptiser with the Holy Ghost, manifested the Son of God, not only by the testimony of the Father, declared to us also as revealed to Him (for Christ must declare it as known to Himself), but also to John, the enquirer into the meaning of the Spirit of Christ in him, by the descent of the Holy Ghost, so we, as partakers with Him.

8 From verse 19 to 34 therefore we have the testimony of the prophetic messenger to the Jews on requisition officially, and the open testimony to those that had ears to hear, upon seeing Him coming, as drawn out by that which He was in Himself (blessed be His name!) as come in the flesh. Happy he who could say, though even but prophetically, yet faithfully: "I have seen, and bear witness, that this is the Son of God"! This his joy was fulfilled. May we not say, though most unworthy and infinitely less faithful, Happier yet they who have His words: "That your joy may be full"? The same Spirit in measure that He had, branches of the vine, knowing Him reconciling the world, yet what return of faithfulness and love?

- 35. Here again we have the apprehension of John, that is, the Spirit drawn out by seeing Jesus. It is not so properly a testimony publicly as the pouring forth the mind of the Spirit as acted upon by the manifestation of Jesus, which all, from the Father downwards, unite, taught of God in one common fulness (and to us unspeakableness of delight), to recognise and delight in. The Spirit must, so to speak, relieve itself of its testimony. It is too its office.

- 36. "And looking upon Jesus as he walked." He was looking on Him walking about, and says, "Behold the Lamb of God!" Oh! the thoughts of the Spirit concerning Jesus thus manifested! "Behold the Lamb of God!" And this it is acts on the mind of others; not the mere necessary testimony by which the world may be condemned, but the outgoings of apprehensions by which the saints are affected, and the fire kindled. And this is its subject; this is the way they are affected. It is not merely (fruitful afterwards), "This is he that baptiseth," "and I saw, and bare record," but, "Behold the Lamb of God!" And here the world derides Him, showing its pride and enmity against love. The chance word of feeling may have more efficacy than the necessary testimony of truth. No doubt the presence of the disciples called it out, for when we value we love to bear witness to our value. Oh! that there were this thought of Jesus ever!

- 37-40. "The disciples heard him speaking" (blessed words!) and they followed Him, and said, "Rabbi." They sought to abide with Him, at least to know where He abode. But He tells not only, but says, "Come and see." The whole circumstances of the scene are full of interest. Here is the testimony which the ministry of repentance must always bear: "Behold the Lamb of God!" Repentance dwells ever in the wilderness, but in the leadings of God Jesus is manifested to it, and it owns Jesus the Lamb of God, and the abode of the disciple of repentance is with Him. Yet there is an actual simplicity in the whole which is very remarkable, for these were the first disciples that were led to Jesus. This "What seek ye?" marks no haughtiness, as it were, of purpose in our Lord's first presenting Himself, though conscious willingness to receive to Himself, for the Spirit now dwelt in Him fully as manifested to office; and we have noticed a manifested development of progress in relationship towards the existing body, His opposition to whom was drawn out by their manifested enmity against the grace and truth of which He was the real depositary.

9 This progress is peculiarly exhibited in this Gospel of John. Its simple and unassuming opening is here stated, though its full manifestation in the uprising of the authority of His mind is exhibited in all the gospels, as detailed in facts conversant about the closing of the Lord's ministry with and amongst them; and their deliberate enmity accordingly is marked, and so shown in this gospel, progressively, and the results apparently strange; for, after all, whatever was due, and so owned of God and Himself too, the place of His willing acquiescence, though fully felt trial and strangeness, was in fact to yield then to the evil opposed, it was (but into this, save that it was for His glorious triumph, and the letting in of rich blessings, we cannot enter) "their" - oh! a strange word! - "hour, and power of darkness." But, I say, the humbleness of purpose, the unsectarian spirit (though I dread the abuse that may be made of this word) in which our holy, patient, Servant-Lord undertook the work, or fell, as it were, into it, His acts were as of necessity imposed. I speak of this as manifested for our example. Oh, that we may be kept always in some measure, at the least, in the meekness of the same spirit! Oh! teach Thy servant, Lord, always to be the least, and the last, serving Thee only in boldness, and valuing the secret of Thy love in the everlasting sight of the Father's love above all, all the nothingness valuable only as Thy service. Keep Thy servant to this! for it is a promise and blessing: "His servants shall serve him" (John 12:26) which study; while we turn now to the passage on which we are reading and noting. I look upon it, then, as of main interests, as being the transfer from John Baptist's ministry to the Lord's, and the manner further of the Lord's first entrance upon His, after which, I think, thus is confirmed His return from the temptation, from which, we may call to mind, He came in the fulness of the Spirit. Observe how this here shows itself, and how restrained, in how apparently restrained a manner (which note). Let us guard against want of energy, but know the Spirit is a Spirit of wisdom, and sometimes shows itself in quietness, not always in manifested energetic power upon man, that is, as exhibited to the mind of man; but withal, "What I have spoken in secret," etc. It does not apply to the duty of testimony or service without, but service within, discipleship, where Christ is known in His body. In this the Spirit of Christ must lead us. It is known as the Son of God, He is felt and understood to be the Lamb.

10  - 41. The development of the natural flow of circumstances and the divine knowledge is very interesting. But we must remark that they were as fully of God, and in the power of God, as the full manifestation of Jesus; that is, they were as fully from and of it. So faith recognises, and God recognises the faith.

- 43. This was His first journey into Galilee, His going into Galilee after the temptation; the first public call the Lord made.

- 47. There is no guile in a prejudice or doubt imposed by apparently or supposedly right institutions or instructions. There may be hatred of the thing to be revealed, but not even in the sight of God a doubt as to testimony about His Son Himself unrevealed. The channel of testimony may be the subject of prejudice arising in the weakness of man from a healthful state of mind, for the devil can deceive this and abuse it.

- 48. Here we see how the circumstances were through the sight of God, and how His mind, unseen, went through the circumstances. We saw the circumstances before, and the knowledge shown of the Person divinely afterwards; then the direct acting of the Lord without circumstance, and that leading to association of circumstances, and now in and through these circumstances, apparently independent, the same thread of God's mind acting as when these were never sent at all, but the action direct. So it is; and this is a very blessed revelation.

11  - 49. Though of universal power, yet in dispensation I still find this expression connected with the Jews, and all this intercourse as yet, though revealing the Christ, the Lamb of God, is Jewish in its substance and adaptation. I am not aware, save in Daniel 3:25, of the term being used in the Old Testament.

- 51. "From henceforth." Now that the Son of Man is upon earth, the object of divine favour and love, the ground of intercourse between heaven and earth (though special) is restored, set on foot. It is exceedingly interesting to dwell on the occasion of the ministry of angels. It at once arises from exaltation, inheritance, and depression. They are the servants (to God) towards the Heir in His humiliation. Similarly we see in Jacob, and here in the true Jacob, rightly called Jacob, and loved of old. But this is a glorious truth, this renewal of intercourse, and the place in which Jesus now stood in Person. In this we have the place of sons. It is impossible to open this out at large here.

I cannot help thinking that there is a reason for putting "ascending" first; though I am not sure as ministers and messengers of God in the earth. They ascend in respect, as it were, of the things to be reported of His providential care, and the object on which they are made to descend, as the object of this care is the Son of Man. - NOTE, it is as Son of Man that He is the object of this care, thus pointed out.

There is more in this that will lead to interesting subjects of divine revelation and enquiry, if we compare the descent of the Holy Ghost upon the Lord, and this of the ascent and descent of the angels of God upon the Son of Man. It has a positive force in this sentence, and also a most important associated force; for though true of the Son of Man, it is true of Him as so designated. He was not now declared to be "the Son of God with power." There is sufficient in this to lead to the clues of thought, but oh! where shall we find the expression of that full, that wondrous fulness drawn out by the Son of God come in flesh, and the relationship into which all things are brought by it? But we must close here.


12 There is this very important principle in the Gospel of John not, I think, noticed; and that is, that it takes up the existence of the Word as God, and draws dispensation (and union of glory for the Church) from this; giving, though coming after, preferred before, for it was before even the creation, and the source, therefore, even of its blessing. "In the beginning God created." Of that creation Judaism was the highest dispensed form, if good could have been in the creature. And they had therefore the sabbaths given to them as sign of covenant. But the creation was spoiled by sin, by man; nor could man enter in any way thus into the rest of God. But here it is brought that even when and therefore antecedent to creation itself, "In the beginning was the Word," was One existing who was God, the source and power and substance of dispensation, not depending on, though bringing in, creation; but, hanging on union with the Creator, the dispensation of this by the incarnation (amongst the Jews, yet paramount to it all) is what John's gospel brings forth and develops. This gives it its amazing importance. Hence our hope is in resurrection, our rest in union by it, paramount to creation and creation-rest. Union is the secret of it all.


Note, in the first chapter of John there is also this important division: there is, first, the manifestation of God in the Word; light, life, fulness, and the glory of the Only Begotten of a Father. The Son has revealed Him whom none had seen. He is not immediately called the Christ, though named so by John the Evangelist. John the baptist says he is not, but refers them to the glory of Christ's Person as before him. This is transitional. Secondly, there is what Christ as Man is before God in efficacy for man: Lamb of God, baptiser with the Holy Ghost, and Son of God; that is, as anointed Man here, though much more than that also, the anointing is the evidence and power (compare Romans 1). Lastly, is the reception or discovery of Him by those who become His disciples. They receive Him as the Christ who fulfils Moses and the Prophets. But they would see more than this, the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man. This relates, not only to His reception then, but to His twofold character as relates to the earth: Heir of promises, as Son of David among the Jews, and of God's counsels as regards man; Son of Man as entitled according to these counsels.


13 There are some details to note in John 1. The great general principles are (as heretofore noted) down to the end of verse 13; but then some details: Christ's Person, verses 1-5; only that when stated to be light, and the light of men as life, it met darkness, which did not comprehend it. This is still nature and principle, but necessarily historical. Verses 6-9 is then historical, but (v. 9) the light formally comes into the world (not promises or Jews or ways), but, though nature and principles, historical. Then we get the darkness, the state of the world and Jews; and it passes from abstract principle (light), to personal activity; light come into the world, as chapters 8 and 9, and elsewhere, afterwards; but it was He who created it, and it did not know Him (autos auton). He came to what was His own (the Jews), and they did not receive Him. Here we have the state of all men, the world, and the Jews. Then we get some receiving Him; but these were a called-out set, they born of God. It was a new thing, or state; of God in grace. We get the truth in all its principles; as to the nature of things, divine or darkness, old and new. The work and gift come in then historically.


In John 1, from verse 14, we have first the Word made flesh; Himself come, and dwelling amongst us, "full of grace and truth"; and His glory seen as Man, as "an only begotten with a Father"; "and of his fulness have all we received"; grace and truth come by Him. Then we have God, whom one has seen at any time, declared by "the only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father." His work, in its full and present effect, comes after (vv. 29-34); but then marked out also as Son of God down here, by the anointing and sealing of the Holy Ghost.


14  - 33. Baptising with the Holy Ghost is never, that I am aware, used of an individual; nor is Christ baptised. He is anointed of God, and sealed of God the Father. Now the body of disciples were baptised in Pentecost, and all by one Spirit baptised into one body. It was power embracing in one all. But the individual is anointed and sealed of God, as established by Him in Christ; sealed for the day of redemption; marked out surely by God; has the anointing of the Holy One.

Note, here, that the general reception of the Holy Ghost by the converts in Samaria is before the manifestation of the wickedness of Simon's heart. Here the above remark becomes important.

Note, first, the abstract nature and intrinsic glory of Christ as the Word; next, His communicative fulness in connection with saints, and revealing character. Then testimony of John to what He comes as to Israel, the Lord; and then what He is for Christians, or in a Christian point of view (I do not say the Church, for it is personally); Lamb of God in view of the world; baptiser with the Holy Ghost; and the Son of God sealed on earth.

Then begins the process of calling, by John, by Christ, which closes with the Residue of Israel owning Him Son of God, King of Israel. All this on earth, and in Israel. Christ in Person was the sole and adequate object of all the care of God. This recognition by Israel brings in the wedding, and the Jews' purifying turned into the wine of joy, and judgment of purification for God's house. Hence the third day of chapter 2 would date clearly from chapter 1:35 and 43. Remark, too, the setting aside of Judaism (chap. 1:13), and the ministration meanwhile till judgment and assurance of ultimate blessing, from verse 35 to the end. But it is as Son of Man as well as Messiah.

There is another point to remark. First, all is general, dependent on His Person to the end of verse 18 (compare verses 7 and 31); from verse 19, dispensational acting in respect of Israel, as accomplishing the prophecies, is entered upon, though the personal glory from eternity is maintained. Hence verses 29-34 give the character of evangelical power (vv. 29, 33,34), while the present service whereby the accomplishment of these ways commenced is given, verse 31. But verses 29-34 is a next day, having the mixed character of the result and the present service. Verses 19-23 are purely in respect of Israel.


15  - 35, 36, begin again, or go on, rather, with this. He who was the Lord, preceded by John Baptist as His herald, becomes Lamb of God, a suffering One (Messiah) in Israel. It is not here "Who taketh away the sin of the world," for I judge that "Lamb of God" is a title of suffering Messiah in Israel (therefore exalted also). Hence the believers in John's testimony go to Him as Messiah (v. 41). Then, I doubt not, verses 35-42 give the Residue, specially at Christ's coming, verses 43-51 those attached to Christ in the power of His second. Christ has a Nazarean character, but can enlighten whatever be the prejudices of the upright; and here He has the characters of Son of God, King of Israel, Son of Man; given as a whole because of Christ's Person; are in connection with Israel. It is to be remembered that it is henceforth (v. 51).


I remark in John's gospel, chapter 1, all the glory of Christ's Person set forth in a remarkable manner, from His divinity WHO IS to His millennial glory among the Jews as Son of Man; and this very methodically. First, the chapter (as we have often noticed) begins before the beginning of Genesis; that is, not with creation, but with the existence of Jesus always. In the beginning He was. Then what He is abstractedly in Himself is given: the Word, the expression of divine wisdom and divine power. By the Word of the Lord the heavens were of old. He upholds all things by the Word of His power. Christ is the wisdom of God and the power of God. He was with God, and He was God. In Him was life also; "and the life was the light of men." John is introduced here as generally bearing witness to Christ as the Light. We have then what Christ is; not abstractedly, but as incarnate: "The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us"; His glory as of the Only Begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. Thus He becomes the communicative source of grace to men, in relation as Son with the Father.

16 Then we have specially what the Lord is as regards the Church, or as effecting His work: the Lamb of God. He that baptiseth with the Holy Ghost Himself a Man baptised with it,* and thus witnessed to be the Son of God. Hereon He becomes a witness and a gatherer. Then He is presented to us as Messiah, Son of God and King of Israel; and the angels ascending and descending upon Him as Son of Man; thus closing with His millennial glory.

{*But see first note on page 14. - (Ed.)}

It seems to me that the following chapter shows the Church's part rather in that glory, or the principles of it, at least. The third day evidently gives some meaning. It was not the third day of the preceding, for He had passed into Galilee. Three days were elapsed withal in the former chapter: John's testimony, the Church, and the millennium. For Christ, however, it was the third day; but I see then, on the full display, in a threefold way, of the personal glory of Christ (or four-fold rather): abstract, personal, ecclesiastical and millennial (if I may so call them).

Note, there is this additional circumstance in the first of John's gospel: not only is Nathanael presented as the Remnant in the latter day, but as rejecting Jesus as come from Nazareth in Galilee; that is, under the prejudices of Israel as having so rejected Him, but then received into blessing as the Remnant.