by Richard Mansel
How would the Apostle John introduce Jesus to the world? This was John’s challenge as he contemplates writing the Gospel of John.
Jesus is not only John’s Savior, but his dearest friend. John is described as the “disciple whom Jesus loved” (John 21:20, NKJV). This brotherly love breathes through John’s words and the New Testament is richer for its expression. John writes of his Lord as both a man and the only begotten Son of God (John 1:14: 3:16).
His mission of love begins in earnest in the first two verses. John writes, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God” (John 1:1-2, NKJV). No more stunning introduction of Jesus could be given.
John presents here the premise of his book and then sets out to prove his amazing claims that Jesus is both human and divine. His efforts culminate with Thomas’ impassioned cry, “My Lord and My God!” (John 20:28).
An examination of these verses indicates some profound teachings about Jesus.
When John writes the “Word,” he uses the Greek word “logos,” which means to “speak or express an opinion.” /1 The “Word,” therefore, expresses God so that men can understand him. Jesus came to earth to show us the Father. He said, “He who has seen Me has seen the Father” (John 14:9). “Christ is the ‘logos’ because in Him all the purposes, plans and promises of God are brought to a final focus and an absolute realization.” /2 In Christ, God becomes real. God’s plans of salvation, redemption and the kingdom come to fruition in Jesus.
The Word was “in the beginning.” The Revised English Bible reads, “In the beginning the Word already was.” Jesus is eternal because he is the agent of creation (John 1:3; Colossians 1:15-17; Psalm 33:6).
Jesus is immune to the powers of this world and the storms of our lives. He has power over time and death so we can be assured he has the ability to guide his children through troubled times. When we are mired in the heartaches and stresses of life, we can lean on Christ and he can lead us through the storms. He is immune to the chaos of our lives. Jesus sees clearly through the clouds and rain to find the path home.
Jesus has all authority because of his deity and relationship with God (Matthew 28:18; Hebrews 2:8). “The ‘Logos’ was in, with, before and above the totality of the created world. There is no space in this world that is not limited by it. There is no more possibility of evading or escaping it; no more than of evading or escaping God Himself.” /3
The Word “was with God.” Jesus is “distinguishable from God, but never separated from Him, for He is Himself God.” /4 This is why the agonies of the Garden of Gethsemane and the cross were so painful. Jesus knew the horrors he would endure. Moreover, he knew that when he took all the sins of the world on his shoulders, his relationship would change, for a time, with his Father. Later he cried out, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” (Mark 15:34). Jesus was God but at that moment was the loneliest son in the world.
Jesus has a very special place alongside God. Jesus “opens up a window in time that we might see the eternal and unchanging love of God.” /5 Jesus is the prism that we look through to see God. And what a breathtaking image it is!
1/ A.T. Robertson, Word Pictures in the New Testament, 5:3.
2/ R.C.H. Lenski, The Interpretation of St. John’s Gospel, 30.
3/ Karl Barth, Witness to the World: A Commentary on John 1, 19.
4/ August Rissi, “The Uniqueness of Christ,” Gospel Advocate, 116 (1974): 387.
5/ William Barclay, The Gospel of John, 38.
Why is Jesus Called the Word?