John 1:6

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.

There was a man sent from God whose name was John.

1. It was immediately connected with the appearance of the Word in the flesh.

2. It was of God. And as His mission so his name.

3. It had as its special end to testify of Christ.

4. Its aim was to bring sinners to believe in Christ. This was not merely God's intention, but his own desire. All true ministers have the same object.

5. It contemplated "all" to whom he addressed himself.


1. A current error was corrected. Men thought John the Christ. He confessed himself only the friend of the Bridegroom, the witness-bearer of the Light.

2. This correction vindicated the proper glory of Christ. All honour to the witness, but the glory of the light cannot be given to another.

3. In the marked distinction between the forerunner and Him "who coming after him was preferred before him," overweening thoughts of mere instruments, however valuable, are reproved.

4. John's honour consisted in his proclamation of his Master's glory. Nor was this honour denied him. Ministers are esteemed for their works' sake.

5. The distinction in Christ's case from John and all His ministers is that He is "the true Light which lighteth every man that cometh into the world."

(A. Beith, D. D.)


1. Ministers are not priests or mediators.

2. They are not agents into whose hands men may commit their souls, and carry on their religion by deputy.

3. They are witnesses (Acts 1:8; Acts 2:40; Acts 20:21).


1. He is the centre and source of all spiritual illumination, warmth, life, health, growth, beauty, and fertility.

2. He shines for the common benefit of mankind — for high and low, rich and poor, Jew and Greek.

3. He is free to all.


1. Christ was in the world invisibly long before He was born (Colossians 1:17). Yet He was neither known nor honoured.

2. But Christ came visibly into the world when He was born at Bethlehem and fared no better. His own rejected Him.


1. The privileges are those of children.

2. These privileges are to be possessed by faith (Galatians 3:26).

3. Are we sons of God? Have we the marks of Sonship.

4. Do we desire to be sons of God? Then we must receive Him as Saviour.

(Bp. Ryle.)

I. A special way whereby Christ shineth to the world, and helpeth the world to know Him, is the MINISTRY OF MEN; whereby —

1. He condescendeth to our weakness, who could not endure more glorious instruments.

2. Trieth our obedience and acknowledgment of His authority in the weak messengers.

3. Maketh manifest that the excellency of the power whereby they do so great things is of Him.

II. MINISTERS OF CHRIST MUST NOT RUN UNSENT, but ought to have a calling from God, either extraordinary (in extraordinary times and cases) or ordinary; as being that which will afford them matter of courage in undertaking their work, of comfort under difficulties, and of hope of success; for so John was a man sent from God; to wit, in an extraordinary way, as Christ's forerunner.

III. MINISTERS WILL IN A MOST LIVELY WAY PROCLAIM THAT GRACE OF GOD BRINGING SALVATION WHO HAVE THEMSELVES OBTAINED GRACE AND FAVOUR BY IT. And it is a sweet thing when men prove answerable to these names and titles which Scripture giveth them because of their Christian profession; for this forerunner's name was John, a name given by the angel, which signifieth one to whom the Lord had been gracious that he might actively proclaim the same to others, and a name to which John's carriage was answerable.

IV. THE CHIEF AND SPECIAL END OF A MINISTRY, is to point out Christ in His excellences and usefulness to lost men, to declare Him in His person, offices, and benefits, how He should be believed in, served or suffered for; John came to bear witness of Christ in His glorious excellency, and as He is the light of dark man, in his comforts and directions.

V. MINISTERS ARE TO PREACH CHRIST WITH PLAINNESS AND FIDELITY in not adding or diminishing with boldness and constancy.

VI. THE END AND SCOPE OF A MINISTER'S WITNESSING and preaching, is, and should be, to bring self-condemned sinners to believe in Christ; his preaching of the law and wrath is in order to that, and to bring men to see their need of Christ, and should be joined with the doctrine of the gospel; his preaching of the doctrine of sanctification and holiness should be joined with the doctrine of faith in Christ, from whom virtue floweth for that end.

(G. Hutcheson.)

I. His APPEARANCE. "There came" — suggesting origination, commencement, dependence, mutability, decay, in opposition to the Word whose creature He was (ver: 3).

II. His NATURE. "A man." Parted from the Word who was God: although honoured by the near relationship in which he stood to the Word as instrument, minister, herald, and forerunner.

III. His NAME. "Jehovah is gracious" — a fitting designation of one whose birth was a gift of grace (Luke 1:18), whose manhood was the flower and fruit of grace (Luke 1:80), and whose life work was to be a publisher of grace (Luke 1:76).


1. In its character, prophetic.

2. In its authority, Divine.

3. In its work, witness-bearing.

4. In its object, saving.


1. Negatively.

2. Positively (ver. 8).

(T. Whitelaw, D. D.)

I image to myself a man of calm, saintly look, with eyes that seemed, to pierce the invisible, moving men not by his wild gesticulations, but by the deep solemnity of his spirit, the simple, fearless truth he spoke, and his appeal to the Messianic longings and hopes which then prevailed. Withdrawn from the luxurious world, with its enervating and selfish influences, he had lived to the age of thirty among the mountains west of the Dead Sea, preparing in solitude for the brief but great work of his life. He is, however, no hermit cut off from his fellow-men and taking no interest in their affairs, but a keen observer and discerner; and at the appointed hour he steps suddenly forward, crying to the nation, "Repent," "Behold the Lamb of God!"

(J. Culross, D. D.)

The Baptist was characterized by —

I. STRENGTH. If ever there was a man unlike the little reed that gives itself to be tossed by the wind (Matthew 11:7) it was John. Your strong man is self-conscious. He has presided over the slow and painful elaboration of his character. He has looked on with satisfaction at the stiffening of his moral fibre into steel, and knows what it is worth. Humility has never been a feature of strong Jewish natures. Yet this strong man says, "He that cometh after me is stronger (ισχυρότερος) than I."

II. INDEPENDENCE. Yet like David in God's presence declaring, "I will be base in my own sight," so the Baptist exclaims, "Whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose."

III. Above all, PURITY. An effective moral teacher must in purity of manhood stand upright. Never could he have brought men to repentance if he had not himself repented. The words "generation of vipers" would have been a mere scream of impotent rage if he had not crushed the serpent in his own heart. Yet, in the presence of Jesus, that pure soul seems black like the waters of a mountain lake in the neighbourhood of the newly fallen snow. The baptism of water he knew; of the baptism of fire, searching and sifting to the marrow, he recognized the need — "I have need to be baptized of Thee."

(Bp. Alexander.)

Andrew, Cephas, Elias, Elijah, Esaias, Isaiah, Jesus, John, Jona, Jonah, Jonas, Joseph, Levites, Nathanael, Peter, Philip, Simon
Bethany Beyond Jordan, Bethsaida, Galilee, Jordan River, Nazareth
1. The divinity, humanity, office, and incarnation of Jesus Christ.
15. The testimony of John.
39. The calling of Simon and Andrew, Philip and Nathanael

Dictionary of Bible Themes
John 1:6

     5408   messenger

John 1:1-9

     1436   reality

John 1:1-18

     8474   seeing God

John 1:3-9

     2203   Christ, titles of

John 1:4-9

     4835   light, spiritual

John 1:6-7

     7740   missionaries, call

John 1:6-8

     5098   John the Baptist
     5624   witnesses, to Christ
     8496   witnessing, importance

Eversley. 1856. St. John i. 16, 17. "Of His fulness have all we received, and grace for grace. For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ." I wish you to mind particularly this word GRACE. You meet it very often in the Bible. You hear often said, The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Now, what does this word grace mean? It is really worth your while to know; for if a man or a woman has not grace, they will be very unhappy people, and very disagreeable
Charles Kingsley—All Saints' Day and Other Sermons

June 25 Morning
When he shall appear, we shall be like him; we shall see him as he is.--I JOHN 3:2. As many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.--Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises; that by these we might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. Since the beginning of the world men have not heard, nor perceived by the ear, neither hath the eye seen, O God, beside
Anonymous—Daily Light on the Daily Path

January 20 Morning
His name shall be called Wonderful.--ISA. 9:6. The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father) full of grace and truth.--Thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name. They shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.--JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins. All men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father.--God . . . hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is
Anonymous—Daily Light on the Daily Path

September 24 Evening
Ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.--II COR. 8:9. The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.--Thou are fairer than the children of men: grace is poured into thy lips.--All bare him witness, and wondered at the gracious words which proceeded out of his mouth. Ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious.--He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself.--We speak that we do know,
Anonymous—Daily Light on the Daily Path

October 21 Morning
Of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace.--JOHN 1:16. This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.--Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God. His Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things.--If children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. I and my Father are one. The Father is in me, and I in him.--My Father, and your
Anonymous—Daily Light on the Daily Path

March 12 Morning
The Lord make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee. The Lord lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.--NUM. 6:25,26. No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.--The brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person.--The god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.
Anonymous—Daily Light on the Daily Path

November 21 Evening
His dear Son.--COL. 1:13. Lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.--Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth.--The only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father. In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his son to be the propitiation for our sins.
Anonymous—Daily Light on the Daily Path

February 23 Morning
The blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel.--HEB. 12:24. Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.--The Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.--It is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins. Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me. By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
Anonymous—Daily Light on the Daily Path

April 28 Morning
Behold the Lamb of God.--JOHN 1:29. It is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins. Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me: in burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure. Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me) to do thy will, O God.--He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; he is brought as a lamb to
Anonymous—Daily Light on the Daily Path

May 29 Morning
The life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul.--LEV. 17:11. Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.--The blood of the Lamb.--The precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.--Without shedding of blood is no remission.--The blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. By his own blood he entered in once into
Anonymous—Daily Light on the Daily Path

January 16 Evening
Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter.--REV. 1:19. Holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.--That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have. And when he had thus
Anonymous—Daily Light on the Daily Path

May 19 Evening
Fellowship in the gospel.--PHI. 1:5. As the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.--That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship
Anonymous—Daily Light on the Daily Path

November 15 Morning
God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.--I COR. 1:9. Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; for he is faithful that promised.--God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.--Truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.--Rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad
Anonymous—Daily Light on the Daily Path

March 8 Morning
Thou hast cast all my sins behind thy back.--ISA. 38:17. Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage? he retaineth not his anger forever, because he delighteth in mercy. He will turn again, he will have compassion upon us; he will subdue our iniquities; and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea. For a small moment have I forsaken thee; but with great mercies will I gather thee. In a little wrath I hid my
Anonymous—Daily Light on the Daily Path

March 20 Morning
The entrance of thy words giveth light.--PSA. 119:130. This . . . is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.--God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.--The Word was God. In him was life; and the life was the light of men.--If we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another
Anonymous—Daily Light on the Daily Path

October 11 Evening
Hallowed be thy name.--MATT. 6:9. Thou shalt worship no other god: for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God. Who is like unto thee, O Lord, among the gods? who is like thee, glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders?--Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty. Worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness.--I saw . . . the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple. Above it stood the seraphims. And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy,
Anonymous—Daily Light on the Daily Path

February 26 Morning
Let us search and try our ways, and turn again to the Lord.--LAM. 3:40. Examine me, O Lord, and prove me; try my reins and my heart.--Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom.--I thought on my ways, and turned my feet unto thy testimonies. I made haste and delayed not to keep thy commandments.--Let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive
Anonymous—Daily Light on the Daily Path

May 24 Evening
I will go and return to my place, till they acknowledge their offence, and seek my face.--HOS. 5:15. Your iniquities have separated between you and your God, your sins have hid his face from you.--My beloved had withdrawn himself, and was gone: . . . I sought him, but I could not find him; I called him, but he gave me no answer.--I hid me, and was wroth, and he went on forwardly in the way of his heart. I have seen his ways, and will heal him.--Hast thou not procured this unto thyself, in that thou
Anonymous—Daily Light on the Daily Path

November 12 Morning
Godly sorrow worketh repentance not to be repented of.--II COR. 7:10. Peter remembered the word of Jesus, which said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. And he went out, and wept bitterly.--If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.--The blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. Mine iniquities have taken hold upon me, so that I am not able to look up; they are more than the hairs of my
Anonymous—Daily Light on the Daily Path

December 23 Morning
Let him take hold of my strength, that he may make peace with me.--ISA. 27:5. I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil.--There is no peace, saith the Lord, unto the wicked. In Christ Jesus ye who sometime were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. For he is our peace. It pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell: and having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself.--Christ Jesus:
Anonymous—Daily Light on the Daily Path

June 24 Evening
Master, where dwellest thou? He saith unto them, Come and see.--JOHN 1:38,39. In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.--To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne. Thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place,
Anonymous—Daily Light on the Daily Path

February 15 Morning
Who can say, I have made my heart clean?--PROV. 20:9. The Lord looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, and seek God. They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: there is none that doeth good, no, not one.--They that are in the flesh cannot please God. To will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.--We are all as an
Anonymous—Daily Light on the Daily Path

The Son of Thunder
ST. JOHN i. 1. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. We read this morning the first chapter of the Gospel according to St. John. Some of you, I am sure, must have felt, as you heard it, how grand was the very sound of the words. Some one once compared the sound of St. John's Gospel to a great church bell: simple, slow, and awful; and awful just because it is so simple and slow. The words are very short,--most of them of one syllable,--so that even a child
Charles Kingsley—Discipline and Other Sermons

'Three Tabernacles'
'The Word ... dwelt among us.'--JOHN i. 14. '... He that sitteth on the Throne shall dwell among them.'--REV. vii. 15. '... Behold, the Tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them.'--REV. xxi. 3. The word rendered 'dwelt' in these three passages, is a peculiar one. It is only found in the New Testament--in this Gospel and in the Book of Revelation. That fact constitutes one of the many subtle threads of connection between these two books, which at first sight seem so extremely unlike
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

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