Today we began reading the Gospel of John, a most remarkable gospel. John portrays the picture of the person of our Lord and his Father’s purpose for him. On the day of Pentecost, Peter told the crowd that Jesus was “delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God” (Acts 2:23)
John begins his Gospel by telling us of this foreknowledge. Before our Lord was born, he was “the word”. How do we understand the phrase, “In the beginning was the Word”? Isaiah wrote, “as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it” (55:10,12). So the “word” is personified – God planning to provide spiritual food through His Son – a parallel to causing natural food to grow.
We understand Jesus as “the word” that was in the mind of God from the beginning. God spoke, and things happened. When Jesus was born “the word became flesh”. The Greek for “word” is logos, it has the foundation meaning of a ‘spoken word’ and is sometimes translated as “sayings” in the Gospels, especially in the KJV (see Matthew 7:24,26,28). Take note when you come to it in John 4:37,39. Recall how in Genesis 1 we read, “And God said” again and again.
The translators confuse us by using the pronoun ‘he’ for ‘the word’ in John’s opening verses. It is most helpful to read from verse 2 that “The word was in the beginning … All things were made through a word … in the word was life and the life was the light of men …”
In chapter 3 we read, “the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God” (verses 19-21).
Jesus often uses phraseology that has a symbolic meaning, as is clear in the foregoing. What is also obvious today is that people love darkness more than ever, and God’s Bible has become a forgotten book. We must do the opposite and love God’s word more than ever; may His word become flesh in us so that our Lord recognises us when he returns.