The Word


Nov 26, 2021

The New Testament contains four independent testimonies to the Lord Jesus Christ. While they obviously contain much material that is similar, they each provide a unique perspective on the life of Jesus to emphasise different aspects of His person and work. Each of these evangelists begins their testimony in a different place. Mark begins where most people would have first had contact with Him: in His public ministry of teaching and healing. Matthew recognises the importance of connecting Jesus to God’s Old Testament promises and provides the genealogy of Jesus to show that He is the fulfilment of the promises God made to Abraham and David (Matthew 1:1). Luke wants us to know that some were anticipating redemption in Jerusalem (Luke 2:38) and emphasises the announcements made first to the parents of John the Baptist and then to Mary that the time had arrived for God to bring salvation.

But the Gospel of John takes a radically different approach in introducing Jesus. His Gospel opens with these remarkable words:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. 4 In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.

John 1:1-5

Jewish readers would hear those opening words and their minds would immediately recall the opening words of the Bible:

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth… 3 Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light.

Genesis 1:1,3

Devout Jews knew from their Scriptures that God and God alone was responsible for creating the heavens and the earth:

Thus says the LORD, your Redeemer,
And He who formed you from the womb:
“I am the LORD, who makes all things,
Who stretches out the heavens all alone,
Who spreads abroad the earth by Myself.

Isaiah 44:24

They also knew that He did so simply by speaking them into existence:

By the word of the LORD the heavens were made,
And all the host of them by the breath of His mouth.

Psalm 33:6

John agrees, telling us that everything was created by the Word of God; but then he tells us that “the Word was with God and the Word was God.” This “Word” is not an abstract force but a person: “All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.”

At first glance, these opening words of John’s Gospel might seem to be contradictory statements. How is it possible for the Word to be with God (and therefore distinct from Him) and yet to be God? It is because of passages like this that Christians are convinced that the God of the Bible is one God who eternally exists in three distinct Persons who relate to one another and who do the same things, things that only God can do. While some say that the doctrine of the Trinity was a fourth-century development and based on Greek philosophy, John’s Gospel was written in the late first-century and fragments of his Gospel have been found from the early second-century. Christianity is emphatically monotheistic (the belief that there is only one God) but also emphatically Trinitarian (the belief that the one God exists in three distinct persons). That is why Christians baptise followers of Jesus Christ in “the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,” (Matthew 28:18-20). And while God is one, we discover that the Father gave His only begotten Son (John 3:16); the Son prays to His Father (John 14:16-18); and the Father sends the Holy Spirit in the name of the Son (John 14:26).

John goes on to explain that this eternal Word who created the world and gave life to everything in it, became truly human when He was then born into the world He had created:

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.

John 1:14

But sadly, the Jewish people, who had been entrusted with the Scriptures that foretold the coming of God’s Son, not only didn’t recognise Him; they rejected Him. Yet now the gospel is freely offered to all who will acknowledge and receive the Lord Jesus:

He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. 11 He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him. 12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: 13 who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

John 1:10-13

So right at the outset of his Gospel, John is presenting the uniqueness of Jesus as the Word of God. Before the first actions recorded by Scripture, before the moment of Creation, before time began, the Word already was with God and is described by John as the Creator of everything. This same truth was taught by the apostle Paul:

For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. 17 And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist.

Colossians 1:16-17

The author of Hebrews likewise writes:

God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, 2 has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds.

Hebrews 1:1-2

However, the Bible not only looks backwards to Creation in describing Jesus as “the Word;” it also looks forward to the Second Coming of Jesus when He will judge this world. Jesus said that “the Father judges no one, but has committed all judgment to the Son,” (John 5:22). The last book of the Bible prophesies God’s judgment on this Christ-rejecting world. The wrath of God and of the Lamb (Revelation 6:15-17) will be poured out and the judgments of those days will be so severe that people “will desire to die, [but] death will flee from them,” (Revelation 9:6). These judgments will last seven years and at the end of these years of unparalleled suffering (Matthew 24:21), Jesus will return to earth to take back that which is rightfully His and establish His kingdom on earth.

Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. 12 His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. He had a name written that no one knew except Himself. 13 He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. 14 And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses. 15 Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. 16 And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.

Revelation 19:11-16

The Word of God is not only your Creator; He is also your Judge. But He wants to be your Saviour! And today is the day of salvation!

He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.

John 3:36


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