Prologue: Christ, the Eternal Word
1In the beginning the Word already existed.
The Word was with God,
and the Word was God.
2He existed in the beginning with God.
3God created everything through him,
and nothing was created except through him.
4The Word gave life to everything that was created,
and his life brought light to everyone.
5The light shines in the darkness,
and the darkness can never extinguish it.
6God sent a man, John the Baptist, 7to tell about the light so that everyone might believe because of his testimony. 8John himself was not the light; he was simply a witness to tell about the light. 9The one who is the true light, who gives light to everyone, was coming into the world.
10He came into the very world he created, but the world didn’t recognize him. 11He came to his own people, and even they rejected him. 12But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God. 13They are reborn—not with a physical birth resulting from human passion or plan, but a birth that comes from God.
14So the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son.
15John testified about him when he shouted to the crowds, “This is the one I was talking about when I said, ‘Someone is coming after me who is far greater than I am, for he existed long before me.’”
16From his abundance we have all received one gracious blessing after another. 17For the law was given through Moses, but God’s unfailing love and faithfulness came through Jesus Christ. 18No one has ever seen God. But the unique One, who is himself God, is near to the Father’s heart. He has revealed God to us.
The Testimony of John the Baptist
19This was John’s testimony when the Jewish leaders sent priests and Temple assistants from Jerusalem to ask John, “Who are you?” 20He came right out and said, “I am not the Messiah.”
21“Well then, who are you?” they asked. “Are you Elijah?”
“No,” he replied.
“Are you the Prophet we are expecting?”
22“Then who are you? We need an answer for those who sent us. What do you have to say about yourself?”
23John replied in the words of the prophet Isaiah:
“I am a voice shouting in the wilderness,
‘Clear the way for the lord’s coming!’”
24Then the Pharisees who had been sent 25asked him, “If you aren’t the Messiah or Elijah or the Prophet, what right do you have to baptize?”
26John told them, “I baptize with water, but right here in the crowd is someone you do not recognize.27Though his ministry follows mine, I’m not even worthy to be his slave and untie the straps of his sandal.”
28This encounter took place in Bethany, an area east of the Jordan River, where John was baptizing.
Jesus, the Lamb of God
29The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! 30He is the one I was talking about when I said, ‘A man is coming after me who is far greater than I am, for he existed long before me.’ 31I did not recognize him as the Messiah, but I have been baptizing with water so that he might be revealed to Israel.”
32Then John testified, “I saw the Holy Spirit descending like a dove from heaven and resting upon him. 33I didn’t know he was the one, but when God sent me to baptize with water, he told me, ‘The one on whom you see the Spirit descend and rest is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’ 34I saw this happen to Jesus, so I testify that he is the Chosen One of God.”
The First Disciples
35The following day John was again standing with two of his disciples. 36As Jesus walked by, John looked at him and declared, “Look! There is the Lamb of God!” 37When John’s two disciples heard this, they followed Jesus.
38Jesus looked around and saw them following. “What do you want?” he asked them.
They replied, “Rabbi” (which means “Teacher”), “where are you staying?”
39“Come and see,” he said. It was about four o’clock in the afternoon when they went with him to the place where he was staying, and they remained with him the rest of the day.
40Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, was one of these men who heard what John said and then followed Jesus.41Andrew went to find his brother, Simon, and told him, “We have found the Messiah” (which means “Christ”).
42Then Andrew brought Simon to meet Jesus. Looking intently at Simon, Jesus said, “Your name is Simon, son of John—but you will be called Cephas” (which means “Peter”).
43The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, “Come, follow me.” 44Philip was from Bethsaida, Andrew and Peter’s hometown.
45Philip went to look for Nathanael and told him, “We have found the very person Moses and the prophets wrote about! His name is Jesus, the son of Joseph from Nazareth.”
46“Nazareth!” exclaimed Nathanael. “Can anything good come from Nazareth?”
“Come and see for yourself,” Philip replied.
47As they approached, Jesus said, “Now here is a genuine son of Israel—a man of complete integrity.”
48“How do you know about me?” Nathanael asked.
Jesus replied, “I could see you under the fig tree before Philip found you.”
49Then Nathanael exclaimed, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God—the King of Israel!”
50Jesus asked him, “Do you believe this just because I told you I had seen you under the fig tree? You will see greater things than this.” 51Then he said, “I tell you the truth, you will all see heaven open and the angels of God going up and down on the Son of Man, the one who is the stairway between heaven and earth.”
The NEW LIVING TRANSLATION (NLT)