There was the true Light which, coming into the world, enlightens every man.
In contrast to John’s function, which not to be the light but to give witness to the light, there is the true light. I think the reason he says “the true light” is because some people were saying things about John about which even John himself would disagree, that he was the messiah or the light.
Also, there are many messages fighting for the attention, thought, acceptance, and belief of men. There is only one true light, life from the Logos which is and is with God. This light which comes from God who is the Father of a Son and God who is the Son of a Father, is the true light.
Now in this section, we have the light coming into the world. The light, the supernatural God who created all things and is life (1:4), manifested in the everyday world of men.
In doing so, it did not simply enlighten those men who directly witnessed it. Somehow it enlightens every man.
On reflection this isn’t as strange as it might sound. If someone commits some crime and there is no retributive resistance, it shows everyone that it is possible to commit such a crime and get away with it. Maybe everyone doesn’t know this happened, but in principle everyone gets taught that this is so. This is the purpose of sometimes dense and hard-to-understand judicial decisions by the supreme court — even if very few people can grasp the issue and even fewer people are interested in following the issue, it sets the precedent for all men and in the end it affects the flow of human affairs. In the same way, the “true Light” coming into the world, even though it directly manifested to only a few, affects all because of the purity and the nature of its revelation.
The true light came into the world. It is not by any man’s prayer, or thought, or coercion towards God. this isn’t the kind of thing a man would think up. The idea of God coming into the world was God’s idea. It was God’s initiative. As we’ll see, the world didn’t even recognize Him at all when He came. So we can’t say that the art and thought of men caused God to act. God acted by His own initiative. The Gospel, the coming of Jesus Christ, is God’s idea. We completely missed it and He forged so great a salvation all on His own. It is a gift which He crafted.