John 1:4
In Him was life, and that life was the light of men.
Christ a Living SaviourJohn 1:4
Christ LivingJohn 1:4
Christ the Life and Light of Individual MenW. H. H. Murray.John 1:4
Christ the Life and Light of MenH. Melvill, B. D.John 1:4
Christ the Life and Light of MenW. Denton, M. A.John 1:4
Christ the Light and Life of Nature and of GraceH. Melvill, B. D.John 1:4
Christ the Pre-Eminent and Illuminating LifeD. Thomas, D. D.John 1:4
Christ the Universal LightH. W. Beecher.John 1:4
Christ was the Light and Life of MenC. G. Tittman, D. D.John 1:4
Christians the Reflectors of This LightD. Thomas, D. D.John 1:4
Christ's Influence as the Light and Life Most Productive To-DayH. W. Beecher.John 1:4
Christ's Influence in Relation to Human CooperationH. W. Beecher.John 1:4
Christ's Influence Known by its FruitsH. W. Beecher.John 1:4
Christ's Life She Light of MenC. H. Parkhurst, D. D.John 1:4
God's Living LightW. H. Jackson.John 1:4
God's Self-Revelation Through LifeNewman Smyth.John 1:4
Life in ChristJ. Culross, D. D.John 1:4
Life in ChristW. H. Jackson.John 1:4
Life in ChristHomiletic MagazineJohn 1:4
The Difference Between Life and LightLange.John 1:4
The Joy of LivingW. H. H. Murray.John 1:4
The Life a Light of MenLange.John 1:4
The Life and Light of MenR. A. Redford, M. A.John 1:4
The Life and the LightH. Allen, D. D.John 1:4
The Life that Gives Light to MenD. Young John 1:4
The Light of LifeHomiletic MagazineJohn 1:4
A Notable ConversionJ. J. Van Oosterzee, D. D.John 1:1-5
Christ and GodD. Thomas, D. D.John 1:1-5
Christ is GodJohn 1:1-5
Christ the True GodJohn 1:1-5
Christ the Word of GodJ. Cumming, D. D.John 1:1-5
Controversy About ChristBp.Ryle.John 1:1-5
God not SolitaryJ. Cynddylan Jones, D. D.John 1:1-5
On BooksCharles Kingsley, M. A.John 1:1-5
Practical ReflectionsBp. Ryle.John 1:1-5
The Deity of Christ an Impossible InventionCanon Liddon.John 1:1-5
The Divine Father and SonArrowsmith.John 1:1-5
The Divinity of Christ Revealed in the Gospel of JohnDr. Pentecost.John 1:1-5
The Heavenly Analogy of the Connection of Speech with ReasonDean Goulburn.John 1:1-5
The Nature of Christ Perfectly Similar and Equal to that of the Eternal FatherJ. F. Denham.John 1:1-5
The Origin of the Term Logos, or WordT. Whitelaw, D. D.John 1:1-5
The Relation of This Revelation with that of Genesis 1J. Culross, D. D.John 1:1-5
The Resemblance Between the Written and the Personal WordDean Goulburn.John 1:1-5
The Term Word Applicable to ChristG. Steward.John 1:1-5
The WordJ. Cynddylan Jones, D. D.John 1:1-5
The WordW. Denton, M. A., Beaux Amis.John 1:1-5
The Word Made FleshW. Perkins.John 1:1-5
The Word of Scripture Concerning the BeginningLange., Lange.John 1:1-5
What is Gained by Defending the Eternal Pre-Existence of Jesus ChristJ. Cynddylan Jones, D. D.John 1:1-5

In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth: so runs the first verse of the Book of Genesis. "In the beginning was the Word:" so runs the first verse in the Gospel of John. This resemblance prompts us to look for other resemblances. "God said, Let there be light: and there was light:" so runs the third verse of the Book of Genesis. And then we perceive that John, correspondingly, would lead his readers to think of the greatest of all lights which come from God. He speaks of the Word that he may tell us of the Life in it, and of the Life that he may tell us of the Light in it. The Word is a living and light giving one. What are sun, moon, and stars, and all lamps compared with this light? John is speaking here for the eye of the heart.

I. THE DARKNESS THIS LIGHT IS MEANT TO ILLUMINATE. Be thankful for the lights forming part of the physical creation. There is sunlight even when there is not sunshine. Be thankful for the higher lights of civilization. Also the increasing light coming with every new discovery and invention. Each new generation finds the world better to live in, in many respects, Magnify what light you have outside of Christ; then you will better understand how small it is compared with what he has to give. For a while we may not at all feel the need of Christ's light. But the world becomes gloomy and cheerless enough to many who once reckoned it constantly radiant with brightness. The world very soon puzzles and perplexes those who are thoroughly in earnest. Life is such a short and broken thing to many. The longest life is like a candle; it burns and burns till it burns down to the socket, but it burns none the less; and then what is there left to show? God has noticed whatever darkness there may be in your heart. "God is light, and in him there is no darkness at all;" and he wants us to be the same - wants to lead us into the light of constant peace, joy, and purity.

II. THE REASON THIS LIGHT IS SO POWERFUL TO TAKE THE DARKNESS AWAY. The light that God sends is a life. What power often dwells in a word - a true and fitting word, coming from the heart, giving just the information and encouragement needed! But then the kindest and wisest human speakers cannot be always present. And so God has a word for us in a life that can never pass away. Think of the power in his life; of the things he did, and did in such a way as to show he could do a great deal more. Think of the goodness of his life - goodness whereby he did good, and goodness whereby he resisted temptation. Think of the joy abounding in his life, even in the midst of straits and sufferings. Think of the confidence he carried through everything, never doubting whence he had come or what he could do. Think especially of the Resurrection, and life in heaven. It is from a world of life and light that this luminous life shines down upon us.

III. HOW THIS LIGHT BECOMES AVAILABLE TO US. He who told his disciples to shine, does his very best to shine himself. But then we must open our eyes to see this light. Lamps are nothing save as men are willing to use them. It is light we have to seek for: the darkness comes without seeking. Let Jesus shine in our hearts for spiritual blessings corresponding to those natural ones which come through ordinary lights. Let us aim to look back from the safety and fulness of the perfect day, saying, "Christ has indeed been a Light to me." - Y.

In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.
Where Christianity is not, there are darkness and death; where Christianity is, there are light and life. Myriads of men testify that some Divine power in Christianity has made them new creatures. These are facts of Christian history, present results of Christian experience. We are not the apologists of a discredited or doubtful cause; we press the arguments on those who oppose. Christianity is a fact that must be accounted for. One branch of the argument is the practical influence of Christ, His fitness and fulness as the life and light of men.


1. It is one of those profound and pregnant statements characteristic of the Christian writings, and especially of St. John. How is it that these simple chroniclers attained to ideas more spiritual, profound, and luminous than those of the greatest philosophers? Whence these conceptions of Christ, so unique, that no other was ever imagined like Him, and yet so congruous and vital that men confess and worship Him?

2. Not only profoundness, but peculiarity of meaning in this conception of Christ and His work. It might have been written yesterday, in the light of Christian history, so exact and adequate is the representation of the peculiar facts and influence of Christ's work.(1) It roots all the religious powers of Christianity in the person of Christ. The way of life not taught by, but life was in Him. Not that His words gave light, but His life.(2) The life and light of all men are in Him. Not merely that He lived, but was the fountain whence every stream of life flows; and all the light that shines about our lives and illumines our souls, bringing the life and knowledge of God.(3) The life was the source of the light. In the world's darkness, He, the living Mediator, stands an incarnate, luminous manifestation of God; so that whoever looks on Him sees wondrous revelations. Just as all things upon the earth's surface are physically enlightened when it turns towards the sun, so are all men spiritually enlightened as they turn towards Him.

II. WHAT LIGHT THE LIFE OF CHRIST THROWS ON THE GREAT PROBLEMS OF LIFE AND DESTINY. We speculate on these problems, and call ourselves theologians; we try to resolve them by practical experiments, and call ourselves moralists. But how perplexed the theology; how uncertain the morality! What human thought has thrown any light upon them? In Christ the only solution of them lies.

1. Has God given us a supernatural revelation of His character and will? It is sufficient to point to Christ. The life is its own light. It is the greatest miracle of history. The impression of perfect goodness is produced by every word and manifested feeling; perfect holiness blends with perfect tenderness into an excellency which has neither defect nor excess. Christ's innocence, contrary to ours, was marked by no ignorance. Virtues almost incongruous blend in Him — greatness and gentleness, holiness and pity, strength and sympathy. He is nobler than the greatest man, tenderer than the gentlest woman. He commands not only the homage of the good, but of the wise. His intellectual character is as great as His moral. The very conception of His kingdom is a miracle — a spiritual, holy, catholic kingdom of God, the consummation of which should be the conversion and service of a whole world. Does not this marvellous life solve the problem of Divine manifestation? Who could have invented it? With it before us, to ask for proofs of the truth of Christianity is as reasonable as to ask at noonday for astronomical proofs of the sun.

2. Men are perplexed with the question of human sin. Wherever they are found they are conscious of wrong-doing. Philosophers and poets of all ages recognize it and lament over it; and the religious problem of every age in the face of it is, "How Shall a man be just with God?" What human philosophy has furnished a solution? What can appease my awakened conscience, the memory of a guilty life? Not a mere general assurance of God's mercy. I recognize something beside mercy, even an inflexible righteousness. And just in proportion as I believe in that, my hope is disabled. It is only when Christ is offered as the Mediator between a holy God and sinful men that light is thrown on the problem. When He is recognized as having been offered as a propitiation for human guilt, then God is seen to be just, and the justifier of the ungodly. His salvation respects every requirement of the Divine government, and satisfies every demand of our moral nature. How can this salvation be a personal experience? In Christ is the answer. The same cross which honours the Divine law attracts human hearts, and through Him I receive the atonement.

3. Next comes the problem of human character; its degradation, unholiness, selfishness, and shame. What hope is there for man's moral future? Apart from Christ, none. In Him is the only regenerating power to be found.(1) Through Him we receive the great teaching and gift of the Holy Spirit. With the teaching of holiness, comes a Divine power to enable it. Man wanted moral light, but moral life also. Quickened from death in trespasses and sins, he has the power of spiritual vision given him; he sees the blessed light. But(2) he has in Christ the ideal of holiness, and after what a perfect and noble life he has to strive. This model we may imitate, and be ever approaching that peerless example.(3) Christ in His sympathetic brotherhood encourages us not to despair at failure and gives us grace which strengthens.

4. There is the problem of human sorrow. But suffering is relieved from its anathema, exalted into sacrifice, converted into a gospel, and made the minister of the noblest perfection in the human life of Christ.

5. There is the problem of death. But Christ has brought life and immortality to light. Even death becomes a gospel to immortal men; the transition from this darkness to that light, this sinfulness to that holiness, this sorrow to that blessedness.

(H. Allen, D. D.)

I. THE SUBLIME DECLARATION. In its ultimate origin all life is mysterious. It must rest on an eternal life. The Divine life the only true life. "In Him life was." In us dependent, continually becoming. The text a contradiction if employed of a mere man. The life in Christ was the life of the Spirit. Reason leads us to the conception of a continually ascending life, vegetable, animal, rational. Revelation adds the spiritual — the life of inspired men, of fellowship with God, of angels of Christ who had the Spirit without measure. His was the life of God — perfect purity, ceaseless activity, infinite love.

II. THE PROCLAMATION. The life was the light of men.

1. In paradise. Man walked in it and saw God face to face.

2. Then followed a long period during which the light shone on chosen men, places, institutions. Light in the midst of gross darkness. The heathen world was full of evil. Some light shined here and there.

3. When the fulness of time came the life was the light of men. Power, gladness, graciousness, adaptation, acceptability of the gospel represented in the analogy of light in darkness. Light calls out energies, helps growth, reveals faces, turns bloom to fruit, and fruit to perfection. Life and light intimately blended.

4. What was wanted then is wanted now; light of men as well as of man; in communities, nations, individual heart and conscience. Light in the household — among dark anxieties, sorrows, desolation. Light in the prospects of mankind — a bright future the outcome of the light of Jesus. Light on the sepulchre — not now a mere sombre monument of fallen pride, but affection's memorial written in the language of hope. The life will reappear, and we shall appear with Him and be like Him, and so be ourselves that life and light of men.

(R. A. Redford, M. A.)

I. IN HIM WAS LIFE. God is self-existent. Every being but He had a beginning. Every other being, therefore, must have been created. All life which had a commencement must be derived and not inherent. Christ's life was un-derived and inherent. Therefore He was Divine.

II. THE LIFE WAS THE LIGHT OF MEN. John does not declare it to be the life of men; which would be true. Every tribe of animated existence draws its life from God: But man placed above beasts and birds. The difference consists in deriving life from the Word and having the life which was in Him as our enlivening, illuminating principle in us. This light is that which enables man to walk in a wholly different region from the beasts which perish, penetrating the wonders and scanning the boundaries of the universe, while other creatures are limited to a single and insignificant province. This light is the soul: reason, judgment, conscience. If this soul be eclipsed man is morally and spiritually blind. It is a fine testimony to this light when we find it described as the life which was from all eternity in the Word. It gives a majesty to reason and a dignity to conscience when a man realizes that these are part of the life of his Creator. The man who debases them debases no earthborn or perishable thing. The Word endowed human nature with His own life; hanging up in its chambers a lamp, and continually feeding the flame with the flashings of His own eternity. Shall this lamp be substituted now that it has been fractured, its light dimmed, for the Word Himself? Or shall we boast ourselves free from all need of Him just because there glows in us a principle derived from Him? The strangest spectacle is that of a man taking reason and rejecting Christ as his guide, fancying that in directing himself by the shining of his own spirit he shows himself independent of Christ. Man shows his ignorance of creation in putting scorn on redemption. He draws from the Word those very energies by which he would prove himself independent of the Word. The intellectual capacities were Christ's shinings into the uncorrupted, even as our pardon, and renewal, and acceptance into the depraved and ruined. What gave virtue to His sacrifice was that the Self-existent died, and that which gave this worth was emphatically our light. Reason still burns brightly, conscience is not quenched, and immortality is assured because the Word who never had a beginning consented to be born; the Word who never can end consented to die.

(H. Melvill, B. D.)

I. He is ESSENTIALLY LIFE — the Living One, as opposed to dying men.

II. He is the EXEMPLARY LIFE; for all things exist in the Word, which is the idea of all things living.

III. He is the CAUSE AND SOURCE OF NATURAL LIFE to all; the Maker of all things, from whom life has been communicated to all things living; and He is also the sustainer of that life which at the first He imparted; both the giver and the preserver of life to all.

IV. He is the CAUSE AND SOURCE OF SUPERNATURAL LIFE; the grace and the glory of all God's faithful children; commencing this life by the communication of His grace, and so bestowing upon men faith, hope, and charity; perfecting this life by the communication of His glory, in which we shall enjoy the beatific vision of God.

(W. Denton, M. A.)

I have seen one out of whom had gone all heavenly resemblance, and in whom all rudeness, coarseness, profanity, worldly lusts were incarnate. There was no pressure that inclined him downward, to which he did not yield. Had his soul been of stone, it could not have been less responsive to the Divine solicitations. There was not a function in him which was not petrified on its heavenward side; there was not a capacity in him that did not, so far as righteous action goes, lie dead. Well, mark now; one night, while he was lying on his bed, the Lord, in the shadow of the darkness — not violently, but still as the stillness around and above his bed, more dreadful, perhaps, because of the stillness; perhaps more gentle because of it — drew near to this dead soul; breathed on it once, gently took its hand and said, Soul, arise! And that dead soul felt strange currents run through all its frame; felt the thrill of Divine life charge through its veins, until the frozen current melted, ran, became warm, began to throb, and life came into it — life to stand, to move; and that dead soul arose and stood before the Lord, and then full of rapture bowed down and worshipped. And, ever after — for I knew him well — that man lived a life that took knowledge of all God's mercies, a life as innocent as the bird's is that has no beak nor talons, and cannot wound nor strike, but can only sing; yea, as innocent as the little stream that has no deep, dark places in it, into which children can fall, unawares, and be drowned, but which runs clear and cool, shallow and safe — content to minister to the roots of flowers that fringe it, and be drunk up of thirsty cattle and labouring men. So he lived his life, I say, and in him I saw what regeneration meant: what the life that Christ said He was, meant.

(W. H. H. Murray.)

If I walk the fields of science and nature gives up one secret after another, and if I then turn to the sublimer mysteries of grace, and study the amazing record of the winning back of this earth from the bondage of corruption, they are not different beings to whom the different investigations prove me debtor. Whilst led by reason across the spreadings of space, and enabled by intellect to take the span and the altitude of the architecture of God, I owe all to the Word just as truly as when I feel myself strengthened to east off evil. As a rational being I owe everything to the Word; as a redeemed being I owe everything to the Word. His the intelligence by which I may count the stars; His the atonement through which I may be furnished for life. His the memory in which I can treasure truth and the righteousness in which I may come before God. His the judgment by which I can weigh conflicting propositions as well as the intercession by which I can be sheltered from wrath. His the imagination by which I can wander through immensity; His the purchasing of the inheritance for outshining all I can conceive. If, then, because of redemption I adore the Word made flesh, shall I not, because endowed with reason, magnify the Word as the Self-existent? If as a redeemed creature I give thanks to the Word that He humbled Himself and became obedient unto the death of the Cross, shall not I as a rational creature pour forth this grateful tribute to the Word: "In Him was life, and the life was the light of men"?

(H. Melvill, B. D.)

Never was there a time when there was so much of Christ in the world as now, because the human race was never so largely in a condition to accept the Divine activity, and to be rendered productive by it. As the sun never had such harvests as now, so there never were such harvests of the Sun of Righteousness. As there is more raised in the State of Illinois in a year now than there was in ten thousand years before the prairies were brought into a state of cultivation, so the products of morality and spirituality are more abundant than they ever were before. In proportion as the minds of men are cleared and rendered susceptible to the activity of the Divine mind, human inspiration is increased individual by individual, family by family, nation by nation.

(H. W. Beecher.)

I. In the SON OF GOD.





I. In man: consciousness.

II. FOR man: the works of God as the signs and words of God.

III. RESPECTING man: Christ the light of the life.


in that He delivered men from ignorance, unbelief, and vice, and from the ruin and misery which are their invariable attendants; and brought them to the knowledge of Divine things, to faith and holiness, and to that temporal and eternal happiness with which these are inseparably connected. This change He effected —

I. BY HIS DOCTRINE, which is of Divine efficacy, not only for enlightening, but for purifying and transforming the soul, and imparting consolation and happiness.

II. BY HIS INCARNATION, LIFE AND DEATH. For these were the clearest revelation of God, the benevolence of His nature, and His paternal love to men, of the Saviour, and His great and glorious work, of the dignity of man, and the certainty of a state of immortal existence beyond death and the grave.

III. BY HIS EXAMPLE. The example —

1. Of His holiness, which gave evidence and efficiency to His doctrine.

2. Of His "sufferings, and the glory that should follow," in which He is our pattern (2 Timothy 2:11; Romans 8:17, 29).

IV. BY HIS INSTITUTIONS. Shedding down the Holy Ghost upon the apostles, instituting baptism, the Lord's Supper, the Christian ministry, public worship, and other religious exercises, which are the most effectual means for banishing ignorance, and unbelief, impiety, and misery from the earth, and for the diffusion and establishment of knowledge and faith, virtue and genuine happiness among men. Thus extensive is the signification, whilst the primary idea is that of felicity, to which He leads men in many ways.

(C. G. Tittman, D. D.)

It was not the wisdom of Christ's words, nor the splendour of His works that filled those three years and a half with great event; it was He, the life that was in Him; and with all that was stimulating in His discourses, startling in His works of wonder, and harrowing in His sufferings, the life that was in Him would be quite as likely to issue in effects that would be healing, when its creeping forth was a quiet and stealthy one, just as it is the light, not the lightning that best fills the earth with radiance; not the hurricane, but the gentle breath out of the south that stirs air and sea and standing corn into most healthful play, and not the deluge but the rain that drops upon the furrows with most of fertility.

(C. H. Parkhurst, D. D.)

To know the scope of the Word, we begin with life in its lowest and simplest forms, as it is seen in the Arctic moss or the ooze brought up from the sea-depths by the Challenger. Even in such lower forms the physiologist cannot tell us what life is, nor the microscopist, nor the chemist, nor the wisest philosopher. They can tell us the signs of it, and the laws according to which it is continued or extinguished; but that is about all. From the lowest and simplest we pass upwards, through one order of being after another, till we come to man, in whom life reveals itself so much more marvellously, in sense, intellect, emotion, conscience, will. We mark how different a thing it is in different cases: to the unlettered peasant and the man of profound and various culture; to the playful child and the grey-haired saint, ready to enter the perfect kingdom of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Ghost. In this passage the term "life " is not to be restricted to any single province, wide or narrow, "physical," "moral," "spiritual," or "eternal," but is to be taken in the whole breadth of its significance. Besides the marvel and mystery of life in its nature and infinitely various forms, there is also its immensity of volume — all that is, all that has been, in air, and earth, and sea. As an illustration of the impossibility of dealing with this aspect of the ease, a single fact may be selected from the microscopic researches of Ehrenberg: one cubic inch of the hardened clay called tripoli he found to contain between forty and fifty thousand millions of the silicious fossil shells of infusoria. In presence of such a fact our minds are utterly helpless to conceive the extent of life even in this little globe that we inhabit. All the life of creation, so vast in its sum, so wonderful and glorious, from the life that lasts only a summer evening to that of the archangel who bows before the eternal throne . — all that life, the Evangelist tells us, "was in Him." He is the Fount whence it has all proceeded. Being in Him, the outcome was a necessity. If there is life in the vine, it comes out in branch, and leaf, and grape cluster. So with the life that was in the Word: it has come out in the vast and varied life of creation. Because in Him was life, therefore this is a living world, and not a mere material and ponderable ball, or a world of automatons, destitute of understanding and volition. All the life of which we have any knowledge is the out-blossoming and fruiting of the life that was in Him.

(J. Culross, D. D.)

There is a project for turning the great desert of North-Western Africa into an inland sea by cutting through the bank which separates its vast depressed surface from the Atlantic; so that large existing populations may be reached, and new towns and fertile country may fringe the then obliterated wilderness of death with smiling contentment and prosperity. It may be but a scientific romance. But it points to the holy privilege and blessed service of the Christian Church. Our Master says: "Speak the words of this life. Cut through the bank of ignorance and prejudice and worldliness and sin, and admit upon the vast spiritual deadness of the world, the rolling tide of a pure and immortal life, that souls and churches and nations may spring up in the freshness of gospel life, and wear the everlasting beauty of Him who has redeemed them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God. And lo! I am with you alway, even unto the end."

(W. H. Jackson.)

I. THIS SCRIPTURE OPENS UP TO US GOD'S LIVING WAY OF MAKING HIMSELF KNOWN TO US. The Bible is the record and interpretation of a way of creation and life, which leads from the promise of the beginning on and on, with a purpose never given up, and toward a goal never lost from sight, and against all human gravitation downward from its high intent until it completes its course in that one sinless life through which God shines — the true light. God has been present as a living power in man's life, as the educating and redemptive power in Israel, as the grace and truth of life in Jesus Christ.

II. THIS SCRIPTURE DISCLOSES GOD'S WAY OF ILLUMINING OUR LIVES. Christ entering into human life is its light. He lights up all our history. Other lights of human kindling illumine but portions of our life, and all go out in death. But there is no phase of our nature, no need of our common humanity, no possibility of our love and hope which His life does not purify and irradiate. God with us in our life is alone adequate to human nature. Shall I not trust myself to the life which meets at every point my life? The real gospel thus is God's life through Christ touching our life and making it new. It has Divine right in the midst of the business of the world. It cannot, without disloyalty, be divorced from common life, sundered from its vital relation to the trade, the politics, and the conduct of men. Jesus Christ brought the kingdom of heaven down to the streets of Capernaum, and what the Church wants is to bring His life through the relations of society around the whole circumference of human life.

III. ONLY THROUGH LIVES IN REAL SYMPATHY WITH GOD AND CHRIST ARE WE TO RECEIVE THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD. Not that the mystery of God in Christ is not to be the subject of theological inquiry, but that we are to learn Christian truth, first and best of all in the school where Jesus came to teach it — the school of real life. Our best light always is the kindling of the life into truth. Through life to knowledge is the Christian way. As God has come home to man through the life of Christ, so are we to draw near unto God through the Christian life. If we will live Christ-like lives doubt not that God will reveal His truth and His goodness through them.

(Newman Smyth.)

I. All men desire to live. Life, if it be healthy, is joyful. All lives created of God are happy, for He is happy.

II. This instinct to live is EVIDENCE OF OUR DIVINE ORIGIN AND QUALITY. However stained and defiled, the image within us is not wholly forgetful of its origin. Within us lingers a sentiment which forbids life to despair of itself. Hence out of the fulness and joyfulness of life springs the conception of immortality.

III. We know that all life is of God, that of the bee, the bird, the dog, and other wonderful and fine expressions of life. But finer and more wonderful THE LIFE WHICH HE BREATHES INTO THE SPIRIT OF FALLEN MAN. The new birth is the waking up of dormant faculties, the resurrection of buried powers. Then power comes to the man, spiritual, soul power. The man's life becomes Divine in its harmonies. He begins to grow.


V. ALL LIFE HATES DEATH. We sympathize with the falling leaf, weep over the dying friend, in spite of all the natural and spiritual knowledge which recognizes in death the gate of life. But what must God feel as He beholds the death of the soul.

VI. THE JOY OF LIVING IS FOUND IN THE PURE AND PROPER GOVERNMENT OF THE LIFE. The life of Christ, therefore, or growth into a life like to the one He lived, is a growth into joy.

VII. ALL HUMAN LIVES THAT ARE NOT SELF-DESTRUCTIVE ARE GROWING TOWARDS HAPPINESS. The old aches cannot always last, or the old pains for ever sting us. So there is a hand somewhere that shall take all weakness up, and wipe all tears away.

(W. H. H. Murray.)

There are three words around which we may group our thoughts of Christ.

I. MAN. These words touch and lay bare the distinctive necessity of man's nature. When that nature awakes to the true knowledge of itself it becomes conscious of needing the direction and sustenance of a higher life. We do not attain satisfaction when we seek it on a level with the animal creation, although we belong to it. Nothing is plainer than man's need of God. He must have relation to the inexhaustible and changeless; and if he is to receive a light that can shine on the problems of his own being, that light must be a life.

II. REVELATION. The text reveals the distinctive provision of Christianity. God is the creator of this deep necessity, and He has made it not to mock it, but to satisfy it. "God hath given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son." Christ is exhibited not as some gorgeous pageant to be admired, nor as a carefully filled museum to be wondered at; He is a new communication from the Eternal Father. And the design of the Christian faith is not grasped by us, nor its provision enjoyed until we see all its avenues leading up to the disclosure that our Lord came to give life. The unique life has established itself as the light of men, wise to guide and safe to follow. The distinctive need of man is met by the distinctive power of Christ.

III. USEFULNESS. These words provide us with a Divine test of the value of all churches and Christian work. As the life is men's light, so "holding forth the Word of Life" is the Christian's duty. To this test we must bring our schools, societies, literature, methods, principles. None of them are good unless they serve His purpose, as lamp-stands from which the life of Christ can shine more widely and brightly upon the hearts of men.

(W. H. Jackson.)

Homiletic Magazine.

1. This is true in the widest sense.

2. He is Creator, not by delegation, but as Principle.

3. This claim He vindicated in His miracles.


1. This is the one rational explanation of His death.

2. Redemption is by price.

3. Redemption is also by power.


1. There is no true human life apart from God.

2. This true human life we forfeited by sin.

3. But we recover it in Christ.

(Homiletic Magazine.)

Homiletic Magazine.

1. For life is a resisting force.(1) Inanimate things are submissive to the forces of nature. Thus a stone is obedient, without resistance, to the law of gravitation.(2) But things of life resist the mechanical forces. Thus even a blade of grass pushes its way upwards through the resisting soil, in the direction opposite to that of gravitation. As we ascend in the scale of life, these resistances become more remarkable. The eagle darts sun-ward, in every stroke of its pinion resisting and triumphing over the force of gravitation.(3) Men who are spiritually dead are like the stone or the feather, under the control of worldly fashion and sinful influences. They are "carried captive by the devil at his will."(4) Men who are spiritually alive resist and vanquish these influences. To do this the more effectually they avail them. selves, by prayer, of the promised help of God. So, like the eagles, they mount sun-ward (cf. Isaiah 40:31). Thus spiritual life is its own evidence.

2. Life is an appropriating force.(1) A living animal seizes the vegetables around it and appropriates them as food for its nourishment. A dead animal is a prey to the chemistry of nature.(2) Life is an appropriation, even in the vegetable form. The root of the plant performs functions analagous to those of the animal stomach, absorbing from the soil, digesting, and elaborating the juice which nourish its stem and branches. The leaves perform functions analogous to the twigs.(3) The Christian will avail himself of the means of grace, public, domestic, private. He is not in them, like the formalist, a mere observer of what is passing. He is in them as feeder.

3. Life is a propagating force.(1) Let a stone be buried, and after thousands of years it will be found as it was. Witness the Nineveh marbles. Let an acorn be buried; it will germinate and develop into an oak.(2) So the germ of religious life unfolds into the maturity of Christian manhood. It exerts a propagating influence upon the spirits of other men.(3) The waste of life in nature is enormous. So is the waste of spiritual life in the Church. The failure of the propagating energies of spritual life is serious.


1. Life touches everything into beauty.(1) During winter the face of nature is dreary.(2) But what beauty is comparable to that of holiness which springs from spiritual life? The beauty of the saint is the reflection of the image of God. It is seen in the integrity that cannot be bribed. It is seen in the magnanimity of sacrifice. It is seen in the tenderness of kindly sympathy.

2. Life illuminates the chambers of the tomb.(1) It prevents not the dissolution of the body. The saintliest die.(2) But while spiritual life prevents not physical dissolution, it modifies death into sleep. The Christian "sleeps in Jesus." The sleeper expects an awakening.(3) The labourer sleeps expecting not only to awake, but to awake refreshed. So does the Christian worker. No more weariness.

3. Life is the germ of immortality.(1) The spiritual life here is the power of an endless life hereafter. The principle is even more than the promise of immortality.(2) Hence "the kingdom of heaven is within you." "The heaven of heavens is love."(3) Christ is eternal life. Having Him, we have eternal life (cf. John 3:16; John 5:24; John 11:25; John 14:6; John 1:1, 2; John 5:11, 12, 20).

(Homiletic Magazine.)

I. HIS LIFE WAS PRE-EMINENT. "In Him was life."

1. "In Him was life" without beginning. Life in all other existences had a commencement.

2. "In Him was life" without dependence.

3. "In Him was life" without limitation. All other life has its limits, not so with His. His is without limit —

(1)As to kind. In His life were the germs and archetypes of all other life, material and spiritual.

(2)As to amount. All other life is circumscribed.

(3)As to communicativeness.

(4)As to duration.

II. HIS LIFE WAS ILLUMINATING. "And the life was the light of men." Christ's life, whatever its variety and fulness, had all a moral character, for He was a moral Being. There are several things taught here concerning His life as light:

1. That His life was "the light of men."

2. That this light was heralded by the Baptist.

3. That this light become available by faith.

4. That this light is the true light of "every man"

(D. Thomas, D. D.)

There is a little church on a lonely hill-side where they had neither gas nor lamps, and yet on darkest nights they hold Divine service. Each worshipper, coming a great distance from village or moorland home, brings with him a taper and lights it from the one supplied and carried by the minister of the little church. The building is thronged, and the scene is said to be "most brilliant!" Let each one of our lives be but a little taper — lighted from the life of Christ, and carrying His flame — and we shall help to fill this great temple of human need and human sin with the light of the knowledge of the glory of God. The life of Christ will be the new sunshine of the world. "Men shall be blessed in Him; all nations shall call Him blessed"; universal man shall receive "God's Living Light."

(D. Thomas, D. D.)

A missionary in China stated that on one occasion a number of persons who were hearing him, mostly women, manifested the greatest astonishment when he told them that the God he worshipped and wished them to worship was a living God. Uttering an exclamation peculiar to themselves when much surprised, they said, "The foreigner's God is better than ours — ours has no life."

The sun does not shine for a few trees and flowers, but for the wide world's joy. The lonely pine on the mountain top waves its sombre boughs and cries," Thou art my sun." And the little meadow violet lifts its cup of blue, and whispers with its perfumed breath, " Thou art my sun." And the grain in a thousand fields rustles in the wind, and makes answer, "Thou art my sun."

(H. W. Beecher.)

A Smyrna native agent came across a Turk from some town in the interior, who showed considerable acquaintance with the Christian Scriptures. He said he had long studied the gospel, and had once nearly got into trouble through it. He was called before the authorities for reading Christian books, but before judgment was passed upon him he begged to be allowed to ask a question. Permission having been granted, he said, "I am travelling; I come to a part where the road branches off in two ways; I look around for some direction and discover two men; one is dead, the other alive. Which of the two am I to ask for advice — the dead or the living?" "Oh, the living, of course! " all cried out. "Well," he added, "why require me to go to Mahomet, who is dead, instead of to Christ, who is alive?" "Go, go about your business!" were the words with which he was dismissed.

You cannot tell how much is done by the pure shining of His light and the emission of this life, and how much by your own receptivity, bier is it necessary. Christ fructifies and stimulates the original and moral faculties and makes them productive. If I take a plant out of a cellar where it has grown etiolated, and without chlorophyl, and put it where the light will shine upon it, and when it turns green, will you tell me what part of the green is plant and what part sun? I would say that the sun developes this chlorophyl by injecting itself, so to speak, into the leaf. So that the light and the life co-operate with the faith, the love, the receptivity of the individual who receives them.

(H. W. Beecher.)

What is the evidence that the sun is active? The fact that every root is sprouting. What is the evidence that the sun has brought summer? The fruits of summer. What is the evidence that the sun has been shedding down upon the earth its light and warmth and ripening power? The flavour of the fruit. Bring me an apple. If it is hard and acid I know that it is the product of a rainy sunless summer. Bring me another, and if it is mellow and full of sugar and aroma, I know that the sugar and aroma do not come out of the ground, but from where there was light and, heat. And I can judge of the influence, under which nations have been unfolded by the nature of the fruit they produce. Show me a nation developing coarse animation, and I will show you a nation that has not been true to the light. On the other hand, show me an individual, a family, a community that yields the products of a higher moral nature, and I will pronounce that higher moral nature to be the result of the life and light of men.

(H. W. Beecher.)

John 1:4 NIV
John 1:4 NLT
John 1:4 ESV
John 1:4 NASB
John 1:4 KJV

John 1:4 Bible Apps
John 1:4 Parallel
John 1:4 Biblia Paralela
John 1:4 Chinese Bible
John 1:4 French Bible
John 1:4 German Bible

John 1:4 Commentaries

Bible Hub
John 1:3
Top of Page
Top of Page