The Eternal Word (a meditation on Jesus as the Word and light)

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. ~ John 1:1

The Gospel of John is set apart from the other three New Testament gospels in much of its content and focus. This in part may have been due to the fact that John wrote several decades after Matthew, Mark, and Luke, and John had a much closer relationship with Jesus (of the other three, only Matthew was also among the original twelve disciples).

In his different focus, John took a deeper look at the theology of Jesus—not just what made him the Messiah, the Savior-King; but what made him the God-Man, the unique and only One to be both fully God and fully human.

Echoing Genesis 1, John opened with the words in the beginning but instead of the next word being God, John wrote of one known as the Word. We see a hint of the doctrine of the Trinity in that the Word was both with God and himself God. While the Holy Spirit is mentioned elsewhere by John here we find a taste that great mystery of one God and three persons—co-equal and co-eternal.

Continuing to echo Genesis where we find In the beginning God created, so the Word is called the creator. “All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made” (1:3). If it exists it came to being through Jesus. Paul wrote similarly of Jesus in Colossians 1:15-16, “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible…all things were created through him and for him.”

And the echo does not end there. In Genesis 1:3, the first thing that God spoke into his physical creation was light. In John 1:4-5, John wrote of light: “In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” Words Jesus spoke later in the gospel: “I am the light of the world” (8:12).

Symbolized by physical light, this light is spiritual. This light is the glory of God shining his majesty and goodness. This light speaks of life, the hope of salvation to all who would receive Jesus and new birth through him (1:9-13). This light is security and assurance of victory through Jesus. After all, when a light comes on in a dark room, the darkness flees to the corners.

John called Jesus the Word, the divine logos (Greek: “law-gaws”), because Jesus is the one through whom God speaks (12:49-50) and about whom God speaks (5:39) so that we might hear, believe, and have eternal life (6:68-69, 20:30-31).

And we know that the Word is Jesus, God himself born to us in the flesh as a man, for John explained, “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only son from the Father, full of grace and truth” (1:14). Today through the Bible, scripture—the written word of God, we still see the glory of the God-Man who came to be our Savior-King. Through his word we believe and have life. And through his word, we long for that day we will see and dwell in the light forever with the Word face-to-face.

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This post is part of our ongoing journey through the Bible as a church.

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