“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning.”John 1:1-2
Have you ever had one of those moments when a friend tells you they are going to watch your favorite movie or read one of your favorite books and you just wish you could experience it all over again for the first time? But, alas, that would be impossible. You know the twists and turns and ins and outs.
Well, John’s gospel manages to pull off the impossible! He begins the good news with three of the most famous words ever written. If you look back at Genesis 1:1, the very first sentence of the Bible begins with “In the beginning…” Anyone who knew the Bible, would assume that they knew what was coming next: “God created the heavens and the earth.” But John, gives the world a giant plot twist in his very first sentence. In a rare moment, we get to re-experience something familiar in a totally new way. John tells us there was more to the story in the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth.
The Word Was There Too
Did you notice anything interesting about the word Word? It’s capitalized. It’s a proper noun. And then in verse 2 the Word is called a He. Have you figured it out? The Word is Jesus.
Here’s how we know. John tells us plainly a few paragraphs later:
“The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”John 1:14
Now that we have made this connection that Jesus is the Word. Go ahead and re-read the first two verses of John, but substitute “the Word” with “Jesus”. (Go ahead, I’ll wait.)
Did you catch that? John isn’t easing us into this. In the very first sentence he tells us what he believes: Jesus was God. John believed this and he wants you to agree.
So why doesn’t he say it more plainly? Why do we have to discover that Jesus is the Word 14 verses later? Because referring to Jesus as the Word reveals something about Jesus that we need to know before we can agree with John.
The New Testament, and thus, the Gospel of John was written in common Greek. Even though the Latin-speaking Roman empire ruled the western world, Greek was the common language. In Greek, Word is logos. It’s the word that we get logo from. I’m sure that if I showed you a swoosh you’d know it was a Nike Logo. We know that a box with a smile that looks like an arrow came from Amazon. Logos are symbols that have the power to sum up something much bigger and more complicated with just one image.
Jesus is the logo of God
We can’t see God. Like, I literally believe that if I saw a God who can create a universe and life and make people like me, my head might explode. God loves us and wants to save us – and he doesn’t want to explode our heads. In fact, he wants us to see him. So he sent Jesus. His logo. A perfect representation of everything that God is but in human form – in a form that we could actually process.
This is what John wanted his readers to know from the very start. Jesus is all of God in flesh, dwelling among us. In Jesus we get to see what we could never see before: the glory of God as displayed by His one and only Son, full of grace and truth.
This is the greatest miracle the world has ever seen. It is the most humble act of mercy possible. It’s what we (are supposed to) celebrate at Christmas. We live on a planet that has been visited by its creator. And we come to know and believe that when we come to know and believe in Jesus.
The rest of John’s gospel is his Holy Spirit guided attempt to persuade us that Jesus was God in the flesh and to show us what we’re like when we’re visited by God. (Spoiler alert: it’s not pretty.) When you read the gospel of John for yourself and as you continue with this Bible study, you are reading about what God would do if he were a person. And it’s the most beautiful, powerful, and life changing thing ever written. Even if you aren’t fully convinced that Jesus is God, to truly understand John you have to read it with this in mind: