Monday, March 25, 2013

And the Word was God!

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

Genesis 1:1 starts with the moment of creation, “In the beginning”, and moves forward to the creation of humanity.  John 1:1 starts with creation and contemplates eternity past. The fact that the Word was with God suggests a face-to-face relationship.  In the ancient world, it was important that persons of equal station be on the same level, or face-to-face, when sitting across from one another.  Thus the word “with” indicates a personal relationship, but also implies equal status. The Word, Jesus Christ Himself, is an active Person in communication with the Father (1 John 1:2).  Moreover, the Word was God.  The word order in Greek shows that the Word was “God,” not “a god.”  This is a straightforward declaration of Christ’s deity, since John uses Word to refer to Jesus.  The Word was of the very quality of God, while still retaining His personal distinction from the Father.
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Word Focus: the Word - (Gk. ho logos) (John 1:1; 1 John 1:1; Rev. 19:13) G3056: This Greek word was used to speak of the principle of the universe, even the creative energy that generated the universe. The term logos may also have some connection with the Old Testament presentation of Wisdom as a personification or attribute of God (Prov. 8).  In both the Jewish conception and the Greek, the Logos was associated with the idea of beginnings—the world began through the origination and instrumentality of the Word (Gen. 1:3).  John may have had these ideas in mind, but more likely he used this word in a new way to identify the Son of God as divine.  He is the image of the invisible God (Col. 1:15), the express image of God’s substance (Heb. 1:3).  In the Godhead, the Son functions as the Revealer of God and is God in reality.

What does John mean by the Word?  The Word was a term used by theologians and philosophers, both Jews and Creeks, in many different ways.  In Hebrew Scripture, the Word was an agent of creation (Psalm 33:6), the source of God’s message to His people through the prophets (Hosea 1:2), and God’s law, His standard of holiness (Psalm 119:11).  In Creek philosophy, the Word was the principle of reason that governed the world, or the thought still in the mind, while in Hebrew thought, the Word was another expression of God.  John’s description shows clearly that he is speaking of Jesus (John 1:14) – a human being he knew and loved, but at the same time the Creator of the universe, the ultimate revelation of God, the living picture of God’s holiness, the One in whom “all things hold together” (Colossians 1:17),  To Jewish readers, “the Word was God” was blasphemous.  To Creek readers, “the Word became flesh” (John 1:14) was unthinkable.  To John, this new understanding of the Word was gospel, the Good News of Jesus Christ.

What Jesus taught and what He did  are tied inseparably to who He is.  John shows Jesus as fully human and fully God.  Although Jesus took upon Himself full humanity and lived as a man, He never ceased to be the eternal God who has always existed, the Creator and Sustainer of all things, and the source of eternal life.  This is the truth about Jesus, and the foundation of all truth.  If we cannot or do not believe this basic truth, we will not have enough faith to trust our eternal destiny to Him.  That is why John wrote this Gospel – to build faith and confidence in Jesus Christ so that we may believe that He truly was and is the Son of God (John 20:30, 31).

John wrote to believers everywhere, both Jews and non-Jews (Gentiles).  As one of Jesus’ twelve disciples, John was an eyewitness, so his story is accurate.  His book is not a biography (like the book of Luke); it is a thematic presentation of Jesus’ life.  Many in John’s original audience had a Greek background.  Greek culture encouraged worship of many mythological gods, whose supernatural characteristics were as important to Creeks as genealogies were to Jews.  John shows that Jesus is not only different from but superior to these gods of mythology.

John 1:1 is probably the strongest passage in the New Testament for declaring the deity of Jesus Christ. Because of this many who deny this biblical doctrine, especially cultists, have attempted to undercut it by arguing that this passage only teaches that Jesus is “a god” and so not fully Deity. This confused position falls on at least two grounds.  Such a view is polytheistic, the belief in more than one god. Second, it betrays a misunderstanding of Greek grammar.  Verse 1 of the first chapter of John reads, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” The last portion of John 1:1 is the major point of contention.  It reads in the Greek theos en ho logos, or literally, “the Word was God.” God, or Theos, occurs in this verse without the Greek article ho, so that some have contended that the lack of the article in the Greek text should cause the statement to be translated “the Word was a god.” The best understanding for the translation, however, as recognized by Greek scholars, is that since Theos is a predicate and precedes the noun logos and a verb, it is natural for it to occur here without the article.  Greek scholars are agreed that the verse should be translated as it regularly is in modern and ancient translations, clearly affirming that Jesus is indeed God.

He was in the beginning with God.  All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.  (John 1:2-3)

Neither the Person of Christ, nor His Sonship, came into being at a point in time.   Rather, the Father and the Son have always been in loving fellowship with one another.  All things were made through Him: God the Father created the world (Gen. 1:1) through God the Son (Col. 1:16; Heb. 1:2).  All creation was made through Him.  Thus He is the Creator God.

When God created, He made something from nothing.  Because we are created beings, we have no basis for pride.  Remember that you exist only because God made you, and you have special gifts only because God gave them to you.  With God you are something valuable and unique; apart from God you are nothing, and if you try to live without Him, you will be abandoning the purpose for which you were made.

In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.  And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.  (John 1:4-5)

Note that life is not said to have been created; life existed in Christ (John 5:26; 6:57; 10:10; 11:25; 14:6; 17:3; 20:31).  Humans are dependent on God for life.  Our existence, spiritually and physically, depends on God’s sustaining power.  In contrast, the Son has life in Himself from all eternity. The life, Jesus Christ, is also the light of men.  This image conveys the concept of revelation.  As the light, Jesus Christ reveals both sin and God to humans (Ps. 36:9).  Later in this Gospel, Christ declares Himself to be both the life (John 11:25) and the light (John 8:12).  Death and darkness flee when the life and light enter.  The dead are raised and the blind receive their sight, both physically and spiritually.

Christ entered this dark world to give it spiritual light (Isa. 9:2).  The word translated comprehend can mean (1) to take hold of; (2) to overpower; or (3) to understand. Therefore, this verse may mean that darkness did not positively take hold of or understand the light, or that darkness did not negatively overcome the light.  Both statements are true.  Humans did not appropriate or understand the light, nor did they overtake or overpower it.  Although Satan and his forces resist the light, they cannot thwart its power.  In short, Jesus is life and light; those who accept Him are “sons of light” (John 12:35, 36). As the creation of light was the beginning of the original creation (Gen. 1:3), so when believers receive the light, they become part of the new creation (2 Cor. 4:3–6).

In Jesus’ light, we see ourselves as we really are (sinners in need of a Savior).  When we follow Jesus, the true Light, we can avoid walking blindly and falling into sin.  He lights the path ahead of us so we can see how to live.  He removes the darkness of sin from our lives.  

Do you ever feel that your life is too complex for God to understand?  Remember, God created the entire universe, and nothing is too difficult for Him.  God created you; He is alive today, and His love is bigger than any problem you may face.  Have you allowed the light of Christ to shine into your life?  Let Christ guide your life, and you’ll never need to stumble in darkness.

Father God, it is my prayer that all who reads this will allow the light of Your Son to shine in them.  Lord thank You for dying on the cross for me a sinner.  Thank you for all the blessings that You have given me and may I never forget the price You paid for my free gift of Salvation.  I pray this all in Jesus’ name.   Amen.

References: NKJV Holy Bible, Life Application Bible (NIV), the Nelson Study Bible.


Donald Fishgrab said...

Thank you Lloyd for a great explanation. So many who claim to be Christians question whether Jesus is in fact God, or whether he was the creator, as the Bible says. Those points are crucial to whether we believe or not, as you stated.

Carole said...

I am so thankful that the Word became flesh in the person of Jesus Christ - thanks for the wonderful post and praise God for the eternal hope we have through Him and His constant presence:-)

T-Childs said...

Really good post, very uplifting and helpful. I hope to see more posts of this calibre.

mushroom said...

What Jesus taught and what He did are tied inseparably to who He is.

A very good point that is often overlooked. As His hearers at the time often noted, He did not teach like anyone else, but as one having authority.

Hope your Resurrection Sunday is a blessed one.