Alright, so let’s start from the beginning. If you have your bible, lets turn to John chapter 1.
Probably one of the most well-known passages among Christians (and one of the most confusing among non-Christians) is John 1:1-5. So, in order to break this down, lets start by defining what “the Word” is. Wayne Grudem, a respected writer of systematic theology writes:
“It is clear that John is speaking of the Son of God (Jesus Christ) here, because in verse 14 he says, ‘And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth; we have beheld his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father’.”
So from this exposition of the text, we can conclude that John here is referring to Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Now that we have a clear definition for “the Word,” we can now re-read this passage with a more comprehensive understanding of what John was trying to convey. We see that John presents Jesus as an eternal, preexisting, and now incarnate Word. John writes: “In the beginning was the Word,” meaning that Jesus Christ existed at the beginning of time; “and the Word was with God,” emphasizing the fact that Jesus walked with the Lord in his preexistent existence; and that “the Word was God,” which affirms that Jesus was also the same God who created the universe in the beginning (which is evidence that Jesus was 100% man and 100% God, just like my mother is 100% my mom and 100% a woman).
Now, I know what you’re thinking (I think). You’re probably wondering why Jesus Christ, a human being made of flesh and bones, would be described in an ancient Greek text as “the Word” (an intangible or incorporeal word) or in Greek, logos. WELL, in the Greek, the word logos conveys the notion of divine self-expression or speech and actually has a rich Old Testament background. In other words, it’s one of the best ways to describe Jesus Christ in all his immaculate, divine existence. Let’s continue.
So looking at verse 6 of chapter 1, there is the mentioning of John–namely John the Baptist. John the Baptist (who is also mentioned later in verses 19-35) was Jesus’ forerunner; John is often noted as the man who prepared the way for Jesus, and in verse 7 & 8, the Bible tells us that he was a witness: “He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him. He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light.”
Following this proclamation of John’s biblical role is a description of Jesus’ role. Jesus is referred to as “the light” or the “true light.” Verses 9-13 are amazingly succinct and powerful in their description of Jesus and His role on the earth, and peoples’ reaction to Him. This part is so good, you could essentially make an entire sermon out of these 4 verses. I think an understanding of these verses could summarize the entire Gospel message to anyone willing to listen. So here we go, pay attention:
– First, this passage introduces the proper response to Jesus where scripture says that Jesus “enlightens everyone” (v. 9a). He is the “true light,” and when we believe in Him and His love for us, we are living out the proper purpose for our lives–we access an enlightenment that only a closeness with our all-knowing, unconditionally loving God can give us.
– Secondly, verse 10 acknowledges that Jesus is the Creator: “the world was made through him.” This description shows us Jesus’ divine nature, that even though he humbled himself and came into this world, he was still absolutely divine. He created this world!
– Thirdly, the Bible describes how the world has denied our Lord and Savior. In verse 10, John writes that “the world did not know him” and he goes on to say in verse 11 that, “his own people did not receive him.” *sigh* This is the total depravity of man, that we would deny our own Savior, the God who created us and loved us so much that he would send his son to die on the cross for us. Yet we continue to deny Christ, and reject him daily. We are His people, and yet we deny his presence in our lives; every time we sin and call attention to our own selfish desires, we’re rebelling against him and rejecting Him. Fortunately, we have hope (my favorite part)..
– “But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.” (John 1:12-13) Wow. This is the hope of the Gospel spelled out in plain English for all who might hear the word of the Lord and be saved. This is the hope that, even though we once rejected and denied Christ, even though we rebelled against our loving God, he has still given us the right to become children of God! And all we have to do is receive him, believe in his name, and we will be transformed into men and women born of God! How amazing and merciful is this God!
Frank, hey man. I know all this might seem overwhelming, and if you have any questions, feel free to ask (you know my number). This was a lot to cover in 13 verses, but can you sort of see the richness of the Word of God? I didn’t even include everything from those verses and we already have so much to learn from! If you have time, I just want to challenge you to think about John 1:9-13 this next week. Just try to think about what it really means, and how hope becomes a common denominator for everything in life once you receive Christ and his love for us. Verses 9-13 is the quintessential Gospel message, one that has changed my life and that I pray will one day change yours. Until next time. And as always, I’ll be praying for you brother.