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This topic is collecting teaching suggestions for John 1:1-18.

John1 is the wonderful "Genesis" (beginning) Poem about the pre-existence and creative power of the Word, ...and its embodiment in Jesus Christ. 

We don't have a lot of content on this story because most Rotation Model Sunday Schools tend not teach John 1. Rather, they tend to focus on the more kid-friendly stories of Christ's birth in the other Gospels.

That said, let's post some resources!

 You will find some references to John 1 in the Isaiah lesson topics --particularly where they share ideas about God's "light" coming into the world.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.

There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. He himself was not the light, but he came to testify to the light. The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.

10 He was in the world, and the world came into being through him; yet the world did not know him. 11 He came to what was his own, and his own people did not accept him. 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 or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God.

14 And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth. 15 (John testified to him and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks ahead of me because he was before me.’”) 16 From his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. 17 The law indeed was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has ever seen God. It is God the only Son, who is close to the Father’s heart, who has made him known.  (NRSV)

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Here's a really neat 8-minute film about how the coming of the Messiah fits into God's story of redemption from Creation to Abraham to the Prophets to Jesus.

"The Beginning" (2010) was produced by the same folks who created the Jesus Film. It starts with a high-quality visualization of the Creation Story then moves into the story of Abraham's near-sacrifice of Isaac as a way of laying the groundwork for the coming sacrifice of the promised Messiah.

The language is kid-friendly. It's free and can either be viewed online in HD, or downloaded as an MP4 video and played on any DVD player or computer. Did I mention its free? Below is the version posted on YouTube. Be sure to view or download the high-def version from the Jesus Film website. 

"Prophets promises," including those from Isaiah, are featured in the film. John 1:1-18 is not used but is very much in the prophetic tradition of Isaiah --announcing God's coming into the world and what God will do, and using the metaphors of LIGHT.

 The film asks, "who was the Messiah?"  "Did his life fulfill what was predicted of him?" "Was Jesus more than a prophet?"  John 1 answers those questions.

Lesson Idea: 

After viewing the Beginning film once, go back to about the 6-minute mark where Isaiah is talking and the birth of Jesus is just about to be shown. Turn off the sound and play the video as a student reads John 1:1-18 aloud. 

Don't read it too fast.

Most of our kids are just beginning to learn Jesus' story is part of God's "Great Story Arc" --a story of redemption stretching from Creation to the Cross. This short film makes that connection. Advent was not an isolated event. It was a promise that began with the creation of light, and fulfilled by the coming of The Light at Advent.

The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light;
those who lived in a land of deep darkness—
on them light has shined.
Isaiah 9:2

John 1:1-18 has been called John's Genesis Story

In the beginning was the Word,
and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 
He was with God in the beginning. 
...In him was life, and that life was the light to all people.
The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

Quick Outline

  • The opening minutes begin with the Creation story and scenes from Genesis.
  • Minutes 2:50 to 5:10 are a great visual summary of the story of Abraham and Issac and an explanation of how their story fits into God's redemptive theme.
  • Minutes 5:43 to 7:10 visualize and explain the predictions of various prophets about the coming of the Messiah. Isaiah is featured.
  • The 8-minute video ends with a nod to the Jesus film. At 7:44 the narrator says, "An actor portrays Jesus..." In that respect, the clip serves as an introduction to the Jesus, but doesn't have to be used that way, especially if you stop just before that narration at 7:44.
Last edited by Neil MacQueen

The Gospel of John movie (Visual Bible) is a "word for word" dramatization of John's Gospel, so of course, it has John 1:1-18 in it.  The translation is the New Living Translation.

Here's the dramatic opening of that movie from a preview clip of it on YouTube. We get to see John the Baptist speak the lines attributed to him in John 1:15, which is cool. The end of John's Genesis-Word Poem, verse 18, is spoken at the 4:15 mark. After that, the Pharisees appear and ask John if he is the Messiah.  

This child's beautiful watercolor is a great art project idea. "Illustrate Jesus in the Beginning."

Her interpretation is also startling in its literal-ness.  Is it proper to think of Jesus as existing in his earthly form at the Beginning? Probably not. If you're 12, you are ready for more mature thoughts.

What I might have encouraged twelve-year-old Clarissa to do was imagine THE WORD.  What does the WORD look like, move, do, and say?   According to Isaiah and John it looks like LIGHT.  Jesus' body came from the earth. It did not float down from heaven "because that's where his body was in the beginning." Yet this is what Clarissa's lovely painting subtly suggests. It is these kinds of teaching moments I look forward to --working with kids as they are able, to grow and mature in their conception of the Godhead. I want them to know that the loving face of Jesus we imagine is the heart of God.

Still amusing to see Jesus ordering the planets around. 


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