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Here, we conclude our verse by verse study of the Prologue to John's Gospel.

John 1:18 - Conclusion of the Prologue


18No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only,

who is at the Father's side, has made Him known.


To conclude his prologue, John summarizes who Jesus is, and what He came to earth to do: "No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only, who is at the Father's side, has made Him known." Jesus is "God the One and Only"; and Jesus came to earth to "make [God] known." With this concluding verse, John writes a parallel with the first verse of the prologue:

vs 1:

vs 18:

"In the beginning was the Word"

Jesus "has made [God] known"

"and the Word was with God"

"who is at the Father's side"

"and the Word was God"

"God the One and Only"

John is also here summarizing the train of thought from verse 17. In that verse, John spoke of the superiority of what Jesus brought to us to what Moses brought: "For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ" (vs. 17). In this verse, John speaks of the greater intimacy that Jesus has with God than the intimacy that Moses had with God. Until Christ, there was no one who walked the face of the earth who had a more intimate fellowship with God than Moses. We are told: "The LORD would speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks with his friend" (Ex. 33:11). However, we find that the term "face to face" is used here idiomatically, for later in the same chapter, Moses is told by God: "But . . . you cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live" (Ex. 33:20). John is alluding to this verse when he says: "No one has ever seen God." God is holy. Man in his sin cannot bear to see God in all His glory. God's glory would overwhelm sinful man, including Moses. The best of men who walked the earth before Christ, those who had the most intimate relationship with God, could never get so close to God to even lay eyes on Him. "No man hath ever seen God the Father; neither Abraham nor Moses, nor Joshua, nor David, nor Isaiah, nor Daniel. All these, however holy and good men, were still only men, and quite incapable of beholding God face to face, from very weakness. What they knew of God the Father, they knew only by report, or by special revelation, vouchsafed to them from time to time."[2]

Christ, though, being sinless, being as holy as God, can behold Him in all His glory, and in fact is (as John teaches) "at the Father's side." Christ has the closest possible relation to the Father. Until Christ came, all visions of God by men had been partial. Jesus is the only one who walked the earth who has seen God in all His glory. And more than just seeing God, Jesus is "at the Father's side". Jesus is near to the Father in position and opinion, intimate with Him, knowing His heart, at one with the Father in all His views. And so, if we listened to Moses--if we respect (for instance) what Moses brought to us in the Ten Commandments--we should listen to Jesus all the more, and respect His teachings all the more.

Moreover, while Moses in his sin could not even see God, Jesus is not only "at the Father's side", but He Himself has "made Him known." Christ goes much further than Moses ever did. Moses revealed the law of God to man, but Jesus reveals God Himself to man. "In Christ's words, and deeds, and life, and death, we learn as much concerning God the Father as our feeble minds can at present bear. His perfect wisdom,--His almighty power,--His unspeakable love to sinners,--His incomparable holiness,--His hatred of sin,--could never be represented to our eyes more clearly than we see them in Christ's life and death."[3] And so, though we cannot see God in all His glory, we can know all we need to know about God through the life and teachings of Jesus. There's enough of God in Christ for lifetime of study, for "in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form" (Col. 2:9). People seek God, they desire to know God, they want to know what God is really like, what He approves and disapproves. They need look no further than Christ, who testified: "Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, `Show us the Father'?" (John 14:9). And Christ proved these words true by being raised from the dead, and going to sit "at the Father's side."

And so thank you, Father, for sending Your Son to us, so that we may know You through Him. We praise You that we don't have to speculate from our feeble human mind what You are like. We don't have to listen to the reasonings of human philosophy that make an attempt to know who You are. We have seen You in human flesh, in Your Son Jesus Christ. May You be glorified in our lives, as we seek to do Your will in Christ Jesus, in whose name we pray these things, Amen.


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