Tuesday, June 17, 2014

The Word is Christ—the Word is God (John 1:1)

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” (John 1:1, NASB95)

This is one of the most profound verses in all of Scripture. It makes three statements that grow in scope. The first of them was that the Word was in the beginning. Genesis 1 tells us this, after all God said and creation happened. We read over and over again, “And God said…” People of faith know this and stand on this fact that God created. But this is not what the first part of John 1:1 is saying. It is not saying that God spoke and creation happened, but that in the beginning was the Word, and this word “Word” is referring to someone or something that existed not something that was said. The word “was” tells us that this Word pre-existed the beginning. “Was” tells us that when the beginning happened that the Word was already existent. So, who or what is “the Word?”

In Revelation, at the second coming of Christ, we have a description of Him. “And I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and He who sat on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and wages war. His eyes are a flame of fire, and on His head are many diadems; and He has a name written on Him which no one knows except Himself. He is clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God.” (Revelation 19:11–13, NASB95) His name is called “The Word of God.” There are a number of other passages we could look to, and they all point to the fact, even as we will see just a few verses later in John 1, that Jesus Christ is the Word. The next thing we read in John 1:1 is that “the Word was with God.” In this statement we see the added piece that the Word is somehow separate from God being with God in the beginning. And the last piece of the verse adds that the Word who is Christ is God, and will always be God—known as God the Son being one with God the Father.

Going back to Genesis 1:1-3, knowing Jesus as the Word, we find the third person of the Trinity also mentioned as being present in the beginning with God. “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters. Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light.” (Genesis 1:1–3, NASB95) In these verses we read of God being in the beginning as pre-existent without beginning. Along with God we find His Spirit moving over the surface of the waters, establishing that the Spirit is also eternally pre-existent, Then we read that “God said,” and knowing Christ to be the Word, we see Him also pre-existent there as well, just as we read in John 1:1.

Our God was present as one God in three persons at creation, and our God is shown to be present in three persons many times throughout Scripture. One of those notable occasions is at the baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist. “In those days Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. Immediately coming up out of the water, He saw the heavens opening, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon Him; and a voice came out of the heavens: “You are My beloved Son, in You I am well-pleased.”” (Mark 1:9–11, NASB95) At the commissioning of Jesus for the purpose for which He came again our One God in three persons was present—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. This time the Son, rather than appearing as the Word was now being presented as the Lamb of God who came to take away the sins of the world. “The next day he [John the Baptist] saw Jesus coming to him and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29, NASB95)

This is what the gospels are all about, and John the apostle begins his letter by establishing first and foremost that this Lamb—the Word—was none other than God the Son become man to fulfill the will of God the Father.

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