Sunday of the Resurrection

John 1:1-17


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1:1  In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.


2  He was in the beginning with God;


3  all things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made.


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.


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


7  He came for testimony, to bear witness to the light, that all might believe through him.


8  He was not the light, but came to bear witness to the light.


9  The true light that enlightens every man was coming into the world.


10  He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world knew him not.


11  He came to his own home, and his own people received him not.


12  But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God;


13  who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.


14  And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth; we have beheld his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father.


15  (John bore witness to him, and cried, "This was he of whom I said, 'He who comes after me ranks before me, for he was before me.'")


16  And from his fulness have we all received, grace upon grace.


17  For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.

1 ΕΝ ἀρχῇ ἦν ὁ Λόγος, καὶ ὁ Λόγος ἦν πρὸς τὸν Θεόν, καὶ Θεὸς ἦν ὁ Λόγος.



2 Οὗτος ἦν ἐν ἀρχῇ πρὸς τὸν Θεόν.


3 πάντα δι᾿ αὐτοῦ ἐγένετο, καὶ χωρὶς αὐτοῦ ἐγένετο οὐδὲ ἓν ὃ γέγονεν.


4 ἐν αὐτῷ ζωὴ ἦν, καὶ ἡ ζωὴ ἦν τὸ φῶς τῶν ἀνθρώπων.


5 καὶ τὸ φῶς ἐν τῇ σκοτίᾳ φαίνει, καὶ ἡ σκοτία αὐτὸ οὐ κατέλαβεν.


6 Ἐγένετο ἄνθρωπος ἀπεσταλμένος παρὰ Θεοῦ, ὄνομα αὐτῷ Ἰωάννης·


7 οὗτος ἦλθεν εἰς μαρτυρίαν, ἵνα μαρτυρήσῃ περὶ τοῦ φωτός, ἵνα πάντες πιστεύσωσι δι᾿ αὐτοῦ.


8 οὐκ ἦν ἐκεῖνος τὸ φῶς, ἀλλ᾿ ἵνα μαρτυρήσῃ περὶ τοῦ φωτός.


9 Ἦν τὸ φῶς τὸ ἀληθινόν, ὃ φωτίζει πάντα ἄνθρωπον ἐρχόμενον εἰς τὸν κόσμον.


10 ἐν τῷ κόσμῳ ἦν, καὶ ὁ κόσμος δι᾿ αὐτοῦ ἐγένετο, καὶ ὁ κόσμος αὐτὸν οὐκ ἔγνω.


11 εἰς τὰ ἴδια ἦλθε, καὶ οἱ ἴδιοι αὐτὸν οὐ παρέλαβον.


12 ὅσοι δὲ ἔλαβον αὐτόν, ἔδωκεν αὐτοῖς ἐξουσίαν τέκνα Θεοῦ γενέσθαι, τοῖς πιστεύουσιν εἰς τὸ ὄνομα αὐτοῦ,


13 οἳ οὐκ ἐξ αἱμάτων, οὐδὲ ἐκ θελήματος σαρκός, οὐδὲ ἐκ θελήματος ἀνδρός, ἀλλ᾿ ἐκ Θεοῦ ἐγεννήθησαν.


14 Καὶ ὁ Λόγος σὰρξ ἐγένετο καὶ ἐσκήνωσεν ἐν ἡμῖν, καὶ ἐθεασάμεθα τὴν δόξαν αὐτοῦ, δόξαν ὡς μονογενοῦς παρὰ πατρός, πλήρης χάριτος καὶ ἀληθείας.



15 Ἰωάννης μαρτυρεῖ περὶ αὐτοῦ καὶ κέκραγε λέγων· οὗτος ἦν ὃν εἶπον, ὁ ὀπίσω μου ἐρχόμενος ἔμπροσθέν μου γέγονεν, ὅτι πρῶτός μου ἦν.


16 Καὶ ἐκ τοῦ πληρώματος αὐτοῦ ἡμεῖς πάντες ἐλάβομεν, καὶ χάριν ἀντὶ χάριτος·


17 ὅτι ὁ νόμος διὰ Μωϋσέως ἐδόθη, ἡ χάρις καὶ ἡ ἀλήθεια διὰ Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ ἐγένετο.


Larger Thought Unit

As this is the introduction of John’s gospel, there is no larger ‘thought unit” per se.  It is, the least to say, striking that, on the feast of feasts, the Orthodox Church reads not one of the many accounts of Christ’s resurrection, but rather an introduction to the gospel according to John.  Suffice it to say that any introduction to any piece of literature contains in a concise form the entire content of the book.  The introduction itself must be read and understood within the background of the prophetic and wisdom traditions of ancient Israel, and not with an assumed philosophical background in mind.



With Christ’s resurrection starts the preaching of the gospel by his disciples who were sent out for this mission. The Old Testament has its roots in the divine ‘prophetic’ utterance that transforms the chaos into an orderly creation.  This utterance through the prophets promised the New Jerusalem out of the debris and exiles of the punished Judah  Indeed, the verb baraused in Gen 1:1 is the same one that occurs frequently in Is 40-55 in reference to God’s salvation of his people. So also here in the New Testament we are told that ‘in the beginning’ was the ‘word’ of the apostolic preaching that brought the light of knowledge and of life to the entire world.  Yet, it was not received by the majority of Gentiles and Jews. However, the few who received it were granted to be God’s children who will inherit to join him in his abode, the heavenly Jerusalem.


This message is divine in its origin since it was from God and thus ‘divine’ just as God is divine (1:1). However, it is preached through a human agency: “There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.” John, as his name indicates in the Hebrew yohannan, carries God’s message of ‘grace’ to the world. His mission is to introduce God’s ‘divine’ messenger, Jesus, by explaining the Law of Moses, representative of the entire Old Testament. However, it is the messiah Jesus who is the true channel for divine grace (1:17) in that he is, according to John’s testimony, the lamb spoken of in Is 53. In this sense Jesus, as the lamb of Is 53, is the ‘unique’ (i.e., one of a kind) messenger of God who carries the ‘unique’ word of God, which is the scriptures of both the Old and the New Testament—the ‘one’ word of God.


Whenever God’s children congregate around the ‘tent’ of the divine testimony, which contains his ‘word’ (1:14; ἐσκήνωσεν [pitched the tent] is from the same root as skhnh. [tent]), they realize that they are actually members of God’s congregation established around his ‘word’ that carries and reveals to us his messiah. This is clearly an anti-temple statement. Indeed, the true heavenly temple is actually defined by ‘the tent of testimony’: “After this I looked, and the temple of the tent of witness in heaven was opened” (Rev 15:5). In the same way, at the Eucharistic service of the sacrificial lamb, we gather around the gospel book, which is Christ for us as we assert during the Little Entrance hymn. This centrality of the scriptural word is evident in that the gospel reading of the service of the day of Christ’s resurrection does not even refer to the resurrection, but rather to the ‘word’ that heralds it, as the Apostle taught: “Now if Christ is preached (heralded) that he was raised (RSV has ‘as raised’ for the original ὅτιἐγήγερται) from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead?” (1 Cor 15:12)


Further resource

Paul Nadim Tarazi, New Testament Introduction, Vol.3: Johannine Writings, St Vladimir’s Seminary Press, Crestwood, NY, 2004; pp.131-45.


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