John 1:4-5 - The Life and The Light

John 1:4-5 – The Life and Light
Diving Deeper Lesson Outline for John 1:4-5

John 1:4–5 (ESV) — 4 In him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.


John’s description of Jesus as containing life is thick in meaning.
• Jesus was the source of life at creation.
• Jesus is the source of life at redemption.

Life at 1st creation:
• We covered Jesus as creator of everything last week, but we need to look quickly in Genesis again.
• Genesis 2:7 (ESV) — 7 then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature.

Life at 2nd creation (redemption/new birth):
• John 5:21 (ESV) — 21 For as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so also the Son gives life to whom he will.
• John 5:26 (ESV) — 26 For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself.
• John 10:28 (ESV) — 28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.
• John 14:6 (ESV) — 6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
• Romans 6:23 (ESV) — 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
• 1 Corinthians 15:45 (ESV) — 45 Thus it is written, “The first man Adam became a living being”; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit.

There exists an important parallel between the life given at the 1st creation and the life given at the 2nd creation that John uncovers by alluding to Genesis.
• The Psalmist gives us a hint when he says, Psalm 119:25 (ESV) — 25 My soul clings to the dust; give me life according to your word!

Genesis tells us that man was made from what?
• Genesis 2:7 (ESV) — 7 then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature.

Why is this significant…what’s the deal with dust?
• Genesis 3:14 (ESV) — 14 The Lord God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, cursed are you above all livestock and above all beasts of the field; on your belly you shall go, and dust you shall eat all the days of your life.
• Genesis 18:27 (ESV) — 27 Abraham answered and said, “Behold, I have undertaken to speak to the Lord, I who am but dust and ashes.
• 2 Samuel 16:13 (ESV) — 13 So David and his men went on the road, while Shimei went along on the hillside opposite him and cursed as he went and threw stones at him and flung dust.
• Job 30:19 (ESV) — 19 God has cast me into the mire, and I have become like dust and ashes.
• Job 10:9 (ESV) — 9 Remember that you have made me like clay; and will you return me to the dust?

From these verses, we get a picture of dust as:
• Part of a curse; Unworthy; Method of insult; Worthless; Death and to it we will return
There was nothing of value and no life in dust.
• And yet it was from dust that God “formed the man”.

And this brings us back to Psalm 119:
• Psalm 119:25 (ESV) — 25 My soul clings to the dust; give me life according to your word!
• In spite of being “dust made alive”, the one who fears God longs for a life in the word of Jesus.
• And giving life according to “the word” is exactly what John is doing in his Gospel.

The life that Jesus gave to dust “formed into man” parallels the life of redemption.
• Why? Because even though we have “creation life” we are “sin dead”.
• Romans 5:12 (ESV) — 12 Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned—
• Romans 6:23 (ESV) — 23 For the wages of sin is death…
• Ephesians 2:1 (ESV) — 1 And you were dead in the trespasses and sins

Two verses highlight this parallel and also demonstrate how dire our circumstances are.
• Psalm 104:29 (ESV) — 29 When you hide your face, they are dismayed; when you take away their breath, they die and return to their dust.
  o No “breath of life” from God means no life because “in him was life”.
• John 11:25 (ESV) — 25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live,
  o No “belief in the life” of Jesus means no life because “in him was life”.

We are no more spiritually alive without Jesus than we are physically alive without His breath!
Our spiritual death is as lifeless and dire as our existence as dust prior to the Word's breath.


So what happened to man that we are no longer mindful our humble beginnings from dust?
• We have become self-righteous and prideful; we are in sin.

Yet, in spite of that, the psalmist says God shows compassion on us that fear Him.
• Psalm 103:13–14 (ESV) — 13 As a father shows compassion to his children, so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him. 14 For he knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust.
• And John reveals that compassion to us as Jesus being the “light of men”.

What is light of Jesus?
• If light is that which is “emitted from a luminous body” – Strongs
• Then we can ask what, then, is contained or emitted in the light of Jesus Christ and what does it illuminate?

The answer is found, of course, in the Bible and in Jesus’ own words:
• Psalm 27:1 (ESV) — 1 The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?
• Psalm 36:9 (ESV) — 9 For with you is the fountain of life; in your light do we see light.
• Psalm 119:105 (ESV) — 105 Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.
• John 8:12 (ESV) — 12 Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
• John 12:46 (ESV) — 46 I have come into the world as light, so that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness.
• 1 John 1:5 (ESV) — 5 This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.
• 2 Timothy 1:10 (ESV) — 10 and which now has been manifested through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel…
So the answer to our question, “What does Jesus light emit and what does it illuminate” is:
• It emits salvation, truth, holiness, and it illuminates or reveals darkness (sin).
• So Jesus’ light to man is that He is bringing His salvation, truth and holiness to destroy the stronghold of the darkness of sin and it consequences – spiritual death and hell.

POI – another important note on the light of Jesus.
• Revelation 21:23 (ESV) — 23 And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb.


Jesus’ light and its relationship to darkness is controversial and divisive.

First, it shows in clear and unambiguous terms the enmity between Christ and the world’s darkness.
• 1 John 5:12 (ESV) — 12 Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.
• John 8:24 (ESV) — 24 I told you that you would die in your sins, for unless you believe that I am he you will die in your sins.”

So the light of Jesus brings a “rift between faith and unbelief” – TDNT.
• The light brings life to the believer and reveals the death that we are already in as unbelievers.
• Just as there was no life in dust w/o Christ, there is no spiritual life w/o Christ!

This rift revealed by Christ’s light is one reason why the world (and Satan) seek to “overcome it” or as Phillips Translation translates it, “put it out”.
• But as we learned from Paul, the light of Christ (as contained in the Gospel) will never be put out.
• 2 Timothy 1:12 (ESV) — 12 …But I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that Day what has been entrusted to me [which as we saw from a previous lesson,was the Gospel].

Second, Jesus light reveals an objective, transcendent difference between it and the wickedness of the world’s darkness.
• Proverbs 4:19 (ESV) — 19 The way of the wicked is like deep darkness; they do not know over what they stumble.
• John 3:19 (ESV) — 19 And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil.
• Life without Christ is “deep darkness” and “evil works”.

All of us are enslaved by this darkness unless we have surrendered and believed in the salvation, truth and holiness of Christ’s light as just mentioned above.
• So where your Bible reads “comprehend” or “perceive”, this is the sense in which it is speaking.
• Jesus light is rejected by those in darkness because they love their darkness more.
• Now, John also reveals how it is that man, who is spiritually dead, can come to see, know and believe the Light.
  o More on this in future lessons.

POI – Jesus had something important to tell us about His light and the believer.
• Matthew 5:14–16 (ESV) — 14 “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.
• The believer is now the light of Christ!

To paraphrase John Piper, how is it that man, a dim candle, can be the light of Christ, a massive lightning bolt?
• Mark 16:15 (ESV) — 15 And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.
• 2 Timothy 1:10 (ESV) — 10 and which now has been manifested through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel,
• The light is the GOSPEL and we are to proclaim the GOSPEL!