He spoke, and galaxies whirled into place, stars burned the heavens, and planets began orbiting their suns—words of awesome, unlimited, unleashed power. He spoke again, and the waters and lands were filled with plants and creatures, running, swimming, growing, and multiplying—words of animating, breathing, pulsing life. Again he spoke, and man and woman were formed, thinking, speaking, and loving—words of personal and creative glory. Eternal, infinite, unlimited—he was, is, and always will be the Maker and Lord of all that exists.
And then he came in the flesh to a speck in the universe called planet Earth. The mighty Creator became a part of the creation, limited by time and space and susceptible to aging, sickness, and death. But love propelled him, and so he came to rescue and save those who were lost and to give them the gift of eternity. He is the Word; he is Jesus, the Messiah.
John discloses Jesus’ identity with his very first words, “In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God. He existed in the beginning with God” (1:1, 2);
Each of the Gospel writers chose a different starting point for their accounts of the life of Jesus. Matthew began with Abraham, showing how Jesus came from Abraham’s family and was the fulfillment of God’s promise to Abraham. Mark skipped most of the preliminaries and moved right to the action, beginning with the ministry of John the Baptist. Luke began with a review of his research method and rooted Jesus’ life in the wider historical events of his time. But John presented the largest perspective of all, describing Jesus as the very source of everything we understand as beginning.
“In the beginning the Word.. John 1:1
What does John mean by “the Word”? Theologians and philosophers, both Jews and Greeks, used the term word in a variety of ways. The Greek term is logos. In the Hebrew language of the Old Testament, “the Word” is described as an agent of creation (Psalm 33:6), the source of God’s message to his people through the prophets (Hebrews 1:1-3
The Greeks used “the Word” logos to convey the rational principle that governed the universe, even the creative energy that generated the universe.
In both the Jewish and Greek conceptions, logos conveyed the idea of beginnings—the world began through the Word (see Genesis 1:3ff., where the expression “God said” occurs repeatedly).
John is unique in his powerful presentation of Jesus as the great Creator-God of the universe. His massive vision of Christ has been used countless times to open the eyes of unbelievers to who Jesus is and the way of redemption.
This Gospel’s continuing effect on Christians is equally profound because in John’s account believers find an ongoing source for expanding their concept of the Savior’s greatness. I hope that each time we return to John’s Gospel, Christ will be a little bigger—something like Lucy’s experience with the lion Aslan (the Christ symbol in C. S. Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia) as she again gazed into his large, wise face.
“Welcome, child,” he said.
“Aslan,” said Lucy, “you’re bigger.”
“That is because you are older, little one,” answered he.
“Not because you are?”
“I am not. But every year you grow, you will find me bigger.”
As we work our way through the wonders of John’s writings this Holiday season, may we will find Christ bigger!
John continues…”Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. (John 1:2-3)
In verses 4-13 the metaphor of Christ as light stresses the revelation, rejection, and reception of his love as it came to the world.
In clearest terms, Christ is described as light: “In him was life; and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness” (John 1:4-5).
The thought of our Lord being spiritual light gives us a heartening insight into his loving attempt to reach the world. Where light goes, darkness is dispelled, revealing the true nature of life. No place with the slightest crack can withhold its presence. “The light shines in the darkness.” Literally, this means it shines continually in the darkness, meaning that Christ is continually bombarding every corner of our hearts of darkness through the work of his Holy Spirit in nature, conscience, and the Scriptures.
Whether you are with or without Christ, meditate upon Christ being light, and you will better understand how much he loves you.
But how was our Lord’s loving light received?
Sadly, the majority of mankind rejected the light. Verse 5 concludes, “…but the darkness has not understood it.” Or as some translations more accurately read, the darkness did not “overpower” it. The light met with tremendous resistance. Verses 10-11 round out the description in terms that are tragically absurd as we bear in mind the immense description of Christ that has gone before: “He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him.”
Think of it! The One who said, “Let there be light,” the One who clothed his light in a human body so that he might bring light to all, the One who set aside a special people for himself to be a light to the nations, was rejected!
And though many reject him, some respond.
Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God—children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God. (John 1:12-13)
To believe” parallels “receive” as another aspect of our relationship with Christ. It leaves no doubt that we need to make a conscious personal response. Receiving and believing indicate informed awareness, not blind or empty faith. Receiving and believing have a personal object—Jesus Christ. The object of our faith is not a system, tradition, or organization. When we receive and believe in Jesus Christ, he gives us the privilege of becoming children of God.
Apparently John never got over it because when he was an old man he wrote, “How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” (1 John 3:1). This should be the refrain of our lives if we have believed in him.
Oh, the greatness of Christ and his love. Receive it now if you have not done so before.