At the end of his gospel, John shares his purpose. "These are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name." John tells us that Jesus' story didn't start as a baby in a manger. Jesus is God, and He has been around since before time began.
- Distinct expressions of God (Father, Son, and Spirit) existed in perfect harmony before the heavens and the Earth were created.
- God has revealed Himself to His creation in a personal form we could understand.
- The Son (Jesus) was actually the agent through whom everything was created.
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"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made."
Before our concept of any beginning, God was there "already continuing."
There was no beginning for God. That's hard for us to grasp when our minds are conditioned to think within our linear, time-bound reality.
John doesn't explain it...he just states it. In the beginning WAS the Word.
This little "was" confounds us because it clearly says that it was already in existence before any beginning began.
God is eternal and He exists outside of time. While many aspects of God are difficult for us to comprehend, we can understand some things because He's chosen to reveal them to us by expressing His nature in observable creation.
"The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork." Psalm 19:1
"For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made." Romans 1:20
To the Greeks, this observable order that showed some omnipresent wisdom was the "Logos." The logical expression of some impersonal force that ordered the universe.
To the Jews, who had the advantage of knowing about God through their forefathers Abraham, Moses and others, they understood that the manifestation of God's divine power was contained in his spoken word. After all, God simply spoke creation into existence. The Aramaic word they used for this was "Memra," and it was interchangeable with the name of God.
Both Logos and Memra mean "Word." By calling Jesus "the Word," John brings together both cultural understandings of universal power and reminds us that this power was from eternity past.
Intimate Fellowship and ONEness
The phrase "with God" speaks of (at least) two distinct entities in harmony with one another. This shows us the Word was in "face-to-face" fellowship with God. Individually separate, but in perfect "ONEness"with God.
In the next breath, John tells us that the Word was not only WITH God, but the Word WAS God. This means equally the same, or having the same identity as God. This is a mystery to us even today, but it speaks of the eternal trinity of the Father, Son and Spirit dwelling together as one in the Godhead.
In Hebrew, the Shema is a prayer that comes from Deuteronomy 6:4 that says: "Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD is one!" Interestingly, the word for God in this statement about God being one is a plural form of the word God that actually suggests three.
This is consistent with the "dialog" mentioned in Genesis 1:26 when God said "Let US make man in OUR image." God has always existed in one united identity with three distinct expressions.
All Things Means All Things
Here John tells us that everything that was ever created was created through Him. This Word or expression of God's power and authority, was the actual power expressed when God spoke creation into existence. God spoke His Word and unleashed creation through the power of His Word.
Hebrews and Colossians tell us something similar.
"Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power." Hebrews 1:1-3
"He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together." Colossians 1:15-17
A Love Letter to His Creation
As an invisible and immaterial God, we have trouble relating to God, so the Son was clothed in flesh so that He could express the Love of God (His Love) to us in a way we could understand.
The Son is the exact representation of the Father, and the power behind creation. Jesus loved His creation (us) so much that He left His position of intimacy with the Father so He could come down into His creation to redeem it.
"Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross." Philippians 2:5-8
Jesus' chief goal was not to preserve His position and remain in intimacy with the Father. He had a bigger priority. To accomplish it, He took the form of a lowly servant and humbled himself to a fragile position that would be beaten, humiliated and killed by His own creation.
Perhaps it's even more powerful knowing that Jesus decided to do all of this before he even created us. As the book of Revelation and 1 Peter both tell us, Jesus was the Lamb slain before the foundation of the world. His destiny was established before the world was established. He was willing to make us knowing the tremendous cost He would have to pay for us. Then, Jesus prayed to be returned to His former position of intimacy with the Father after He completed His work.
"I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do. And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed." John 17:4-5
There are many representations of Jesus in our modern culture, and it's important for us to know who Jesus really is. Here, in these simple verses, John shares profound truth about the real identity of Jesus.
Simply put, Jesus is God. Jesus was always God. He was in the beginning with God. He was not a man that became a God. Nor was He any less than God. He was God who became a man, remained God while He set aside His position, and returned to his position after completing the task of saving His precious creation from destruction.
Knowing where Jesus came from, how He lived and why He died is essential to our faith. His entire existence is an expression of love from God. The question is, will you receive it?