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The Word (John 1:1-2) [1]

The Word (John 1:1-2) [1]

John 1.1-2: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God.”

John 1 echoes Genesis 1 with the familiar words “in the beginning”. When Moses penned Genesis, he started at the dawn of creation and wrote into history, detailing God’s creatorial work one day at a time. John starts at the same place, but instead of taking us forward into time he looks back into eternity. In the eternal past before time began there was the Word. John uses the verb “was” in the imperfect tense, conveying the thought of eternal pre-existence. It might be put like this, even though the English is unidiomatic: “in the beginning the Word was ever continually existing”.

This wonderful statement shows that the Lord Jesus is eternal in His being: He never began to exist but always was. Eternality is a divine attribute; linking this attribute to the Lord Jesus shows He is divine. Psalm 90.2 encapsulates this truth by saying “before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God.”

Later in his Gospel, John explains why he wrote: “these [things] are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name” (John 20.31). Is such a person able to give us eternal life? The answer is evident: Christ can provide eternal life because He is Himself eternal.

In using the title “the Word [Logos]”, John affirms that the Lord Jesus is the perfect expression and revelation of God.  Just as our words communicate our inner thoughts, so Christ is the manifestation of God’s mind. Only One who is Himself fully God has the capacity to comprehend and communicate everything that God is. The Word presents to us the essence of God’s thoughts as well as the highest thoughts of God.

John tells us that “the Word was with God”. That is to say, the Lord Jesus is a distinct person, yet one in essence and unity with God. The Lord Jesus was, we might say, face to face with God, not looking up to Him as though inferior or down on Him as though superior, but rather as one equal in essence yet distinct in person. The Word enjoyed a relationship with God of perfect harmony, unity and filial love. God's gracious purpose was to send His Son into this world so that creatures who had their faces turned away from Him might enter into the fellowship and love of divine persons.

He who is a distinct person in the Godhead is by no means less than God, for “the Word was God”. The Word was “as to his essence absolute deity” (Wuest), so it is not surprising that John presents Him to us as the object of faith. Because of His equality with God, He is worthy of our trust.

In verse 2 John unites the individual truths of verse 1 into a harmonious whole: the trilogy is complete. The Lord Jesus is equal in worth, glory, honour and majesty, yet remains eternally a distinct member of the Godhead, equal in rank but different in role. The Lord Jesus did not become divine at some point in time, but rather he was eternally and essentially God.

F B Hole puts it like this: “Thus we have had four things stated of the Word. His eternal Being; His distinct Personality; His essential Deity; His eternal Personality. Whatever else we may have to learn about the Word, here are four things that should bow us in lowly adoration.”[1]

Genesis 1 presented God’s work in all its artistic beauty; John 1 goes far deeper, introducing us to the very person of God. He is worthy to be worshipped not just as Creator but because of who He is.

Eternal Word, eternal Son,
The Father's constant joy,
What Thou hast done and what Thou art
Shall all our tongues employ;
Our life, our Lord, we Thee adore;
Worthy art Thou for evermore.

[1] http://www.stempublishing.com/authors/hole/NT/JOHN.html#a1

The Word (John 1:3) [2]

The Word (John 1:3) [2]

Confession (Part 2): Confess With Confidence

Confession (Part 2): Confess With Confidence