As we begin 2011, we will be looking at the Gosepl of John each day, with a daily written short thought, a commentary by Calvin and a little bit of media extra.
Introduction to John: The Gospel of John does not in itself give its date or its writer F.C. Bauer dated the Gospel of John as 175 AD. But then in 1934 the Rylands fragment of John was discovered in Egypt- and it dates to 125 AD. Most would date the gospel around 90 AD. The earliest testimony (Ireneaus d. ca 200 who claims he got the information from Polycarp who learned from the apostles). Universally in the early church (east and west) this gospel is called "The Gospel of John."
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning.
(Rylands fragment dated to 125 AD. John 18:31-33)
Thoughts: The Gospel of John indicates that God reveals Himself to us through Jesus. He breaks the silence as "The Word." He penetrates the darkness as "the light." As we begin a new year with a new study, it is fitting to note that Jesus is the great Beginner. In coming to earth, the Creator gives a second chance to His creatures. The One who gave birth to the world comes to enable us to be born again. The Beginner comes to give us a new beginning.
Prayer: As I begin a new year and a new study Lord, begin a new work in me. Make me a new creation.
John Calvin abridged: Here John speaks of the eternal speech of God that became flesh (1 Tim. 4:16). The design is to show that the restoration of human beings must be by the Son of God who had originally breathed life into every creature. So we do not withdraw from the only God when we worship Christ, and life is restored by the one who issued it in the first place. God was never without his eternal wisdom and speech and so the Father was never without His Son. Justly Augustine says that this “beginning” has no beginning. Here we have eternal generation. Here it is mentioned that the Son has a distinct personality from the Father in that he mentions that the Speech was always with God, if he did not have some distinction from the Father. When John says the “Speech was God” it eliminates all right to say that the Son did not have eternal essence.