New International Reader's Version

John 1

The Word Became a Human Being

1In the beginning, the Word was already there. The Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. All things were made through him. Nothing that has been made was made without him. Life was in him, and that life was the light for all people. The light shines in the darkness. But the darkness has not overcome the light.

There was a man sent from God. His name was John. He came to be a witness about that light. He was a witness so that all people might believe. John himself was not the light. He came only as a witness to the light.

The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. 10 The Word was in the world. And the world was made through him. But the world did not recognize him. 11 He came to what was his own. But his own people did not accept him. 12 Some people did accept him and did believe in his name. He gave them the right to become children of God. 13 To be a child of God has nothing to do with human parents. Children of God are not born because of human choice or because a husband wants them to be born. They are born because of what God does.

14 The Word became a human being. He made his home with us. We have seen his glory. It is the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father. And the Word was full of grace and truth.

15 John was a witness about the Word. John cried out and said, “This was the one I was talking about. I said, ‘He who comes after me is more important than I am. He is more important because he existed before I was born.’ ” 16 God is full of grace. From him we have all received grace in place of the grace already given. 17 In the past, God gave us grace through the law of Moses. Now, grace and truth come to us through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has ever seen God. But the One and Only is God and is at the Father’s side. The one at the Father’s side has shown us what God is like.

John the Baptist Says That He Is Not the Messiah

19 The Jewish leaders in Jerusalem sent priests and Levites to ask John who he was. John spoke the truth to them. 20 He did not try to hide the truth. He spoke to them openly. He said, “I am not the Messiah.”

21 They asked him, “Then who are you? Are you Elijah?”

He said, “I am not.”

“Are you the Prophet we’ve been expecting?” they asked.

“No,” he answered.

22 They asked one last time, “Who are you? Give us an answer to take back to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?”

23 John replied, using the words of Isaiah the prophet. John said, “I’m the messenger who is calling out in the desert, ‘Make the way for the Lord straight.’ ” (Isaiah 40:3)

24 The Pharisees who had been sent 25 asked him, “If you are not the Messiah, why are you baptizing people? Why are you doing that if you aren’t Elijah or the Prophet we’ve been expecting?”

26 “I baptize people with water,” John replied. “But someone is standing among you whom you do not know. 27 He is the one who comes after me. I am not good enough to untie his sandals.”

28 This all happened at Bethany on the other side of the Jordan River. That was where John was baptizing.

What John Says About Jesus

29 The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him. John said, “Look! The Lamb of God! He takes away the sin of the world! 30 This is the one I was talking about. I said, ‘A man who comes after me is more important than I am. That’s because he existed before I was born.’ 31 I did not know him. But God wants to make it clear to Israel who this person is. That’s the reason I came baptizing with water.”

32 Then John told them, “I saw the Holy Spirit come down from heaven like a dove. The Spirit remained on Jesus. 33 I myself did not know him. But the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘You will see the Spirit come down and remain on someone. He is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’ 34 I have seen it happen. I am a witness that this is God’s Chosen One.”

John’s Disciples Follow Jesus

35 The next day John was there again with two of his disciples. 36 He saw Jesus walking by. John said, “Look! The Lamb of God!”

37 The two disciples heard him say this. So they followed Jesus. 38 Then Jesus turned around and saw them following. He asked, “What do you want?”

They said, “Rabbi, where are you staying?” Rabbi means Teacher.

39 “Come,” he replied. “You will see.”

So they went and saw where he was staying. They spent the rest of the day with him. It was about four o’clock in the afternoon.

40 Andrew was Simon Peter’s brother. Andrew was one of the two disciples who heard what John had said. He had also followed Jesus. 41 The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon. He told him, “We have found the Messiah.” Messiah means Christ. 42 And he brought Simon to Jesus.

Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon, son of John. You will be called Cephas.” Cephas means Peter, or Rock.

Jesus Chooses Philip and Nathanael

43 The next day Jesus decided to leave for Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, “Follow me.”

44 Philip was from the town of Bethsaida. So were Andrew and Peter. 45 Philip found Nathanael and told him, “We have found the one whom Moses wrote about in the Law. The prophets also wrote about him. He is Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.”

46 “Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?” Nathanael asked.

“Come and see,” said Philip.

47 Jesus saw Nathanael approaching. Here is what Jesus said about him. “He is a true Israelite. Nothing about him is false.”

48 “How do you know me?” Nathanael asked.

Jesus answered, “I saw you while you were still under the fig tree. I saw you there before Philip called you.”

49 Nathanael replied, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God. You are the king of Israel.”

50 Jesus said, “You believe because I told you I saw you under the fig tree. You will see greater things than that.” 51 Then he said to the disciples, “What I’m about to tell you is true. You will see heaven open. You will see the angels of God going up and coming down on the Son of Man.”

The Message

John 1

The Life-Light

11-2 The Word was first,
the Word present to God,
    God present to the Word.
The Word was God,
    in readiness for God from day one.

3-5 Everything was created through him;
    nothing—not one thing!—
    came into being without him.
What came into existence was Life,
    and the Life was Light to live by.
The Life-Light blazed out of the darkness;
    the darkness couldn’t put it out.

6-8 There once was a man, his name John, sent by God to point out the way to the Life-Light. He came to show everyone where to look, who to believe in. John was not himself the Light; he was there to show the way to the Light.

9-13 The Life-Light was the real thing:
    Every person entering Life
    he brings into Light.
He was in the world,
    the world was there through him,
    and yet the world didn’t even notice.
He came to his own people,
    but they didn’t want him.
But whoever did want him,
    who believed he was who he claimed
    and would do what he said,
He made to be their true selves,
    their child-of-God selves.
These are the God-begotten,
    not blood-begotten,
    not flesh-begotten,
    not sex-begotten.

14 The Word became flesh and blood,
    and moved into the neighborhood.
We saw the glory with our own eyes,
    the one-of-a-kind glory,
    like Father, like Son,
Generous inside and out,
    true from start to finish.

15 John pointed him out and called, “This is the One! The One I told you was coming after me but in fact was ahead of me. He has always been ahead of me, has always had the first word.”

16-18 We all live off his generous bounty,
        gift after gift after gift.
    We got the basics from Moses,
        and then this exuberant giving and receiving,
    This endless knowing and understanding—
        all this came through Jesus, the Messiah.
    No one has ever seen God,
        not so much as a glimpse.
    This one-of-a-kind God-Expression,
        who exists at the very heart of the Father,
        has made him plain as day.

Thunder in the Desert

19-20 When Jews from Jerusalem sent a group of priests and officials to ask John who he was, he was completely honest. He didn’t evade the question. He told the plain truth: “I am not the Messiah.”

21 They pressed him, “Who, then? Elijah?”

“I am not.”

“The Prophet?”

“No.”

22 Exasperated, they said, “Who, then? We need an answer for those who sent us. Tell us something—anything!—about yourself.”

23 “I’m thunder in the desert: ‘Make the road straight for God!’ I’m doing what the prophet Isaiah preached.”

24-25 Those sent to question him were from the Pharisee party. Now they had a question of their own: “If you’re neither the Messiah, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet, why do you baptize?”

26-27 John answered, “I only baptize using water. A person you don’t recognize has taken his stand in your midst. He comes after me, but he is not in second place to me. I’m not even worthy to hold his coat for him.”

28 These conversations took place in Bethany on the other side of the Jordan, where John was baptizing at the time.

The God-Revealer

29-31 The very next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and yelled out, “Here he is, God’s Passover Lamb! He forgives the sins of the world! This is the man I’ve been talking about, ‘the One who comes after me but is really ahead of me.’ I knew nothing about who he was—only this: that my task has been to get Israel ready to recognize him as the God-Revealer. That is why I came here baptizing with water, giving you a good bath and scrubbing sins from your life so you can get a fresh start with God.”

32-34 John clinched his witness with this: “I watched the Spirit, like a dove flying down out of the sky, making himself at home in him. I repeat, I know nothing about him except this: The One who authorized me to baptize with water told me, ‘The One on whom you see the Spirit come down and stay, this One will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’ That’s exactly what I saw happen, and I’m telling you, there’s no question about it: This is the Son of God.”

Come, See for Yourself

35-36 The next day John was back at his post with two disciples, who were watching. He looked up, saw Jesus walking nearby, and said, “Here he is, God’s Passover Lamb.”

37-38 The two disciples heard him and went after Jesus. Jesus looked over his shoulder and said to them, “What are you after?”

They said, “Rabbi” (which means “Teacher”), “where are you staying?”

39 He replied, “Come along and see for yourself.”

They came, saw where he was living, and ended up staying with him for the day. It was late afternoon when this happened.

40-42 Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, was one of the two who heard John’s witness and followed Jesus. The first thing he did after finding where Jesus lived was find his own brother, Simon, telling him, “We’ve found the Messiah” (that is, “Christ”). He immediately led him to Jesus.

Jesus took one look up and said, “You’re John’s son, Simon? From now on your name is Cephas” (or Peter, which means “Rock”).

43-44 The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. When he got there, he ran across Philip and said, “Come, follow me.” (Philip’s hometown was Bethsaida, the same as Andrew and Peter.)

45-46 Philip went and found Nathanael and told him, “We’ve found the One Moses wrote of in the Law, the One preached by the prophets. It’s Jesus, Joseph’s son, the one from Nazareth!” Nathanael said, “Nazareth? You’ve got to be kidding.”

But Philip said, “Come, see for yourself.”

47 When Jesus saw him coming he said, “There’s a real Israelite, not a false bone in his body.”

48 Nathanael said, “Where did you get that idea? You don’t know me.”

Jesus answered, “One day, long before Philip called you here, I saw you under the fig tree.”

49 Nathanael exclaimed, “Rabbi! You are the Son of God, the King of Israel!”

50-51 Jesus said, “You’ve become a believer simply because I say I saw you one day sitting under the fig tree? You haven’t seen anything yet! Before this is over you’re going to see heaven open and God’s angels descending to the Son of Man and ascending again.”