In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. 4 In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it. — John 1:1-5.
John confronts us with Jesus’ deity in eternity. John wants us to stand in awe of Jesus as God and as the One who reveals the unseen God to us, just as a word reveals an unseen thought.
John shows us that — Jesus Christ is the eternal Word, the Creator of everything, who reveals the life and light of God to this dark world.
THE WORD: HIS RELATIONSHIP TO GOD (vv.1-2)
In the first century, the Gnostics were denying the deity of Christ. They were the ancient counterparts to the modern, liberal skeptics. John’s gospel account, as well as his epistles, are an answer to such infidelity.
The Son is God’s expression of Himself. Later, the Word is identified as the One who “became flesh and dwelt among us” (v.14). The Word explained God to us.
There are three things which we learn in the first two verses about the Person Who became Jesus of Nazareth.
1. He was in the beginning with God. The Bible does not say He had a beginning, but that He already existed “in the beginning.”
2. He was “with God.” He was in fellowship with the Father. The Scriptures show that He was equal with God, but “did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of man.” (Philippians 2:6,7).
3. We see that “the word was God.” He possesses the characteristics of God, such as His eternal nature, His identity, His purpose, and His mind. While Jesus certainly subjected Himself to human limitations during His incarnation (Hebrews 2:17,18; 4:14-16; Philippians 2:8), He did not become a different person. Even as He walked on earth, He was still the eternal One (deity) (John 5:18; 8:56-59; 11:30-33; 20:28). Any doctrine that makes one feel uncomfortable addressing Jesus as “My Lord and my God” is not a Biblical doctrine whether it comes from a liberal modernist, a member of a cult or even a misguided brother or sister in Christ!
THE LIFE: HIS RELATIONSHIP TO CREATION (vv.3-4a)
One of the most used phrases in the Genesis account of creation is, “And God said…” When God spoke, it became so. In the creation, we witness the power, majesty and wisdom of God. The creative force which acted to bring all things into existence was a living being. He is called “the Word” and He is eternal, He is with God and He is God.
The One we came to know as Jesus was the active Person in creation. The Genesis account makes it clear that there is a plurality of Persons that are included in the one God we worship. The Bible says, “Then God said, ‘Let us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness….” (Genesis 1:26). The Word carried out this purpose of the mind of God.
It is true that the concept of a plurality of Persons as one God is difficult to understand. It is difficult to comprehend all the facets of our infinite eternal God. However, if the Bible can speak of the mystery of a man and woman “becoming one flesh” (Genesis 2:24) then it can also speak of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit as being “one God.”
Although our finite minds cannot comprehend the mystery of the triune God, Scripture is clear that God is one God who exists in three distinct persons. Each person is fully God and yet He is not three Gods, but one God (see Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology [Zondervan, 1994], pp. 226-258).
There are several passages which speak of the Son’s role in creation. God “created all things through Jesus Christ.” (Ephesians 3:9-11). Again, speaking of the Son; “For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist,” (Colossians 1:16-17) and “has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds,” (Hebrews 1:2).
These passages plainly show that the Word of God (the Son) is the source of all creation. Nothing has come into being apart from Him. This means that the Son Himself is eternal, for He couldn’t have created Himself! He is the source of life. No created living thing exists apart from Him.
THE LIGHT: HIS RELATIONSHIP TO MAN (vv.4b-5)
The phrase “and the life was the light of men” is in the Greek imperfect tense. This means that “the life” began to be “the light of men” in the past and continues to be so in the present time. The Son of God is the source and essence of life itself. When lost in darkness and death, the best place to look for redemption is the source of all life (Jesus, the Son) and not the source of death (Satan, the adversary). “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23).
Even as the Son first gave physical life to the creatures of the world, and just as He continues to “uphold all things by the word of His power” (Hebrews 1:3), He offers spiritual life to the spiritually dead and eternal life to those who live by faith. In the darkness of suffering and sin, as evil and wickedness continues to have such a cruel impact on our existence in this world, it would seem as if people would be flocking to the light that has come into the world. But that is not the case!
“And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.” — Darkness is opposed to the truth. Many have closed their hearts and minds to the light. They choose to ignore it, neglect it, or even oppose it. Many have come to “love darkness” and “hate the light” because “their deeds were evil” (John 3:19-21). The final result of this kind of rebellion is eternal darkness; a final separation from the light. But this also means a final separation from all that is good; from love, joy and peace. It means never ending sorrow, tears and pain.
So John’s point in this opening stunning description of Jesus Christ is to tell us that He is the eternal Word, the Creator of everything, and that He reveals the life and light of God to this dark world. To know God, look to Jesus, the eternal Word of God!