John 1:1-18 is the prologue of the gospel of John, nine sermons have been preached, just one sermon for two verses in average.
1. 福音概述An overview of Gospel of John
2. 太初有道In the beginning was the Word
3. 三位一体On the Christian doctrine of Trinity
4. 生命之源Life is in Him
5. 生命之光The Light of Life
6. 施洗约翰The identity and the mission of John the Baptist
7. 神的儿女How to become children of God
8. 道成肉身The Word became flesh
9. 恩典真理Full of Grace and Truth
You may have noticed, there are two themes in the prologue: the person of Jesus Christ and the testimony of John the Baptist.
In this great prologue, apostle John declared Jesus Christ’s Deity: His preexistence as the Word, His coexistence with God, and His self-existence as God.
Jesus Christ was the eternal Word, He is God Himself and the Creator of the universe, He is the origin of life and the true light of the world. Amazingly, the Word became flesh and made His dwelling among man, full of grace and truth. He is the only begotten Son of God tabernacled among man and made God known to the world.
As profound and far-reaching as it is, the prologue stresses the nature and person of Jesus Christ. He is the Christ, the Creator, the Life, the true Light, the Son of God, you will have eternal life by believing in Him.
This is how Apostle John states his purpose by the end of the book:
“But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in His Name.” （John 20:31）
Yet to our surprise, the prologue mentioned John the Baptist two times, both look like parenthesis in the middle of this wonderful passage, for John the Baptist was one of the most important witness for Jesus Christ.
John 1:1-18 was the theological prologue of the gospel（约翰福音的序言）, from John 1:19 and following（耶稣基督的生平事迹）, apostle John starts the historical narrative of the life, signs, wonders, and teaching of Jesus Christ, beginning with John the Baptist’s testimony.
In John 1:19-28, we will see the characters of John the Baptist the servant of the Lord: John’s honesty, John’s humility, John’s testimony. （约翰的忠诚）、（约翰的谦卑）、（约翰的见证））
A. John’s Uniqueness （约翰的背景）
Since the last prophet Malachi of Old Testament, God did not speak to His people for 400 years, when John the Baptist came to the scene of preaching and baptizing, he was immediately recognized by the people of Israel to be the man of God.
If someone is considered to be the prophet of God, he must have certain credibility acceptable to the people.
What was John’s credibility?
1. John was an extraordinary man, his origin was from the priest line of Aaron, the priest was revered and honored by people. （祭司家世）
2. He was sent from God directly (John 1:6), John was set apart by God for a specific purpose to be the forerunner of the Messiah. （从神而来）
3. His life was prophesied in the Old Testament as the messenger to prepare the way of the Lord (Mal 3:1; Isa 40:3). Almost all the servants of God in the Bible were called out by God in the middle of their earthly life, but John the Baptist was prophesied in the Old Testament long ago before his birth. （旧约预言）
4. His birth was a miraculous, for his mother Elizabeth was barren, and both of his parents were very old and past the child-bearing age when he was conceived. （神迹出生）
5. His birth was foretold by an angel (Luke 1:11-17). （天使预告）
6. John was also very unique for his lifestyle, he lived in the wilderness, wearing the garment of camel’s hair, and eating the locusts and wild honey. （生活独特）
7. His message was powerful and he performed with higher authority. （能力权柄）
Indeed, he has such a privilege more than anyone else in the human history except for Jesus Christ.
“There came a man who was sent from God; his name was John.”（John 1:6）
“‘See, I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before Me.’… says the LORD Almighty.”（Mal 3:1）
“But the angel said to him: "Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to give him the name John.” （Luke 1:13）
B. John’s Honesty（约翰的忠诚）（John 1:19-23）
John’s preaching and baptism had drawn the huge crowd from all walks of life, he warned them sternly to flee from the wrath of God by repenting from their sins, from the self-righteous Pharisees and the disreputable soldiers no one was spared.
“People went out to him from Jerusalem and all Judea and the whole region of the Jordan, confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River.” （Matt 3:5-6）
It was a long expectation that the Messiah would come to overthrow the Roman conquerors and deliver the Israel nation from the bondage. When John the Baptist appeared to the scene and produced a phenomenal following along the Jorden, it could not escape the notice of the religious leaders. Could this one possibly be the anticipating Messiah?
The Jewish leaders sent a delegation of priests and Levites to him to make the inquiry.
“Now this was John's testimony when the Jews of Jerusalem sent priests and Levites to ask him who he was. He did not fail to confess, but confessed freely, "I am not the Christ." They asked him, "Then who are you? Are you Elijah?" He said, "I am not." "Are you the Prophet?" He answered, "No."” （John 1:19-21）
“约翰所作的见证，记在下面。犹太人从耶路撒冷差祭司和利未人到约翰那里，问他说，‘你是谁？ ’ 他就明说，并不隐瞒。明说，‘我不是基督。’ 他们又问他说，‘这样你是谁呢？是以利亚吗？’他说，‘我不是。’ ‘是那先知吗？’他回答说，‘不是。’” （约1:19-21）
They asked him, “Who are you?” Σὺ τίς εἶ?
The Greek grammar put the word “you” in the front position of emphasis, it literally reads: “You who are?”
The question behind this question is: Are you the Messiah?
The gospel of Luke gives a clue on the thoughts of the Jews: “The people were waiting expectantly and were all wondering in their hearts if John might possibly be the Christ.”（Luke 3:15）
“He did not fail to confess, but confessed freely, ‘I am not the Messiah.’” (John 1:20)
Interestingly, John the Baptist also answered in an emphasis way: “I am NOT the Messiah!”
Ἐγὼ οὐκ εἰμὶ ὁ Χριστός.
In the gospel of John, Jesus Christ claimed several statements concerning the identity of Himself—the I AM statements: (I am) Ἐγὼ εἰμὶ;
But now John the Baptist said: (I am Not) Ἐγὼ οὐκ εἰμὶ.