The gospel of John starts in verses 1-5 by taking us back to remind us that Jesus, the Father and Holy Spirit have always been in existence together. It’s become particularly significant to me that Jesus, the Word, was “In the beginning” and that “all things came into being by Him”. Genesis 1:26 “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness;” Jesus didn’t just begin existence when He was born. He is God, has always existed, and chose to become fully man.
As I read John chapter 1, I highlighted words that Jesus spoke and looked closely at the context of when He used the word believe. I found believe in three places in the first chapter, verse 7, 12 and 50. I’m going to briefly highlight the first two verses and spend more time on Jesus’ interactions with people. Here is a link to John 1: https://www.bible.com/bible/100/jhn.1.nasb
Before Jesus comes onto the scene we are introduced to John the Baptist 1:6-7, “a man, sent from God…for a witness, that he might bear witness of the light, the all might believe through him”. This is not the same man who authored the book of John. Luke 1 tells about John the Baptist from conception to birth and Matthew 3 gives further detail about his ministry, if you want to learn more about him and his parents. John was telling people that Jesus was coming and had a firm conviction of who Jesus was.
John 1:12 tells us, “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name”. We are told who we become when we believe in Jesus.
Jesus is all-knowing, so when Simon first meets Him, he need not introduce himself. Jesus already knows him, “You are Simon the son of John; you shall be called Cepahs (Peter)” 1:42. If I put myself in Simon’s sandals, I can imagine that he felt Jesus look straight into his heart and was known for the first time without having to say a word. The same is true for us. Jesus knows us; the good and bad, and loves us so much that He left heaven and lived on earth so He could be the “Lamb of God” 1:36, the Sacrifice for our sins that have separated us from a perfect God.
What is it like to walk into a room and be known? Can you think of a time when you felt known or at least recognized? There is significance to us when someone knows our name. Think about all the places we go where people wear name tags. Try addressing the person by name while you are checking out at the grocery store or ordering your food at a restaurant. Does the person react to hearing his/her name used? We can make this small gesture a habit by showing people that they are known. It doesn’t compare to believing you are known and have been known by the One who created everything, since the start of time. Jesus knows you.
We encounter the word believe gain in John 1:50 in the context of Jesus talking to a man named Nathanael. Earlier, Jesus called Philip and said to him, “Follow Me” 1:43. This made such an impact on his life that Philip went and found Nathanael to tell him, “We have found Him of whom Moses in the Law and also the Prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph” 1:45. All the details prophesied about in the Old Testament about the coming Savior were lived out by Jesus. Nathanael was an Israelite, so he would know what was written about the coming King of Israel. As you read the account of Nathanael meeting Jesus for the first time in John 1:45-51, ponder what was it that made Nathanael a believer? Can you fathom being seen by Jesus not just right where you are in your current circumstances, but from the beginning of creation? Jesus sees you.
From the start of time, Jesus existed and He knew you. He sees you now and loves you deeply. He invites you to believe this is true about Him and to become God’s child.