The Incarnation Of The Word Of God.
John 1: 1 – 18.
The prologue to the Gospel of John introduced us to his use of the “Word,” invariably Christological in context. John did not reuse the word again in the same sense in his gospel. The Greek “logos” signified an expression, a message, a communication, or a revelation, and was used to refer to the Scripture or the message of Jesus (John 5:24; John 15:25). When the ‘Word’ was employed as a masculine honorific, as was the case here, it is always designated to a person, as indicative of ‘the one known as the Word.’ It is interesting that John did not utilize Jesus’ other designations, for example, the Son of God, the King of Israel, or the Lamb of God, to describe Christ’s timeless relationship with Yahweh. Instead, he chose to incorporate all His Christological titles into one term, the WORD, as the sum of His self-revelation (John 1:1-2; c.f., Heb 1:1-2). Undoubtedly, John’s intention was for his gospel to be read as an exposition of the fact that the revealed eternal Son existed in a mysterious reciprocal relationship with God, for “before the world was created, the Word already existed. He was with God, and He was the same as God.” What then are the implications of the Word as He relates to us?
The Word Is The Creator Of All Things: “All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being” (John 1:3; c.f., Col 1:15-20). The Word is God’s own cause and instrument in creation, and this implies the creature’s responsibility and accountability of the whole created order to God. Irrespective of whether our spirituality is based on a particularised inclination or is in Christ, as created beings, we will one day be accountable to our Judge for all that we are; none will be exempt.
The Word is Our Life and Light: “In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it” (John 1:4-9; c.f., John 8:12; John 11:25-26; John 14:6; Gen 1:1-5). The Word is in Himself eternal life, truth, righteousness, and light. The pun on life, light, and darkness goes way back into the Genesis narrative, and they elucidated the natures of these metaphors, leading inevitably to God’s self-revealing redemptive plan in saving man from his self-destructive darkness of moral corruption. Salvation’s significance defines that the only possible way we become a new creation is to abide in Christ (2 Cor 5:17).
The Word Challenged Our Sinfulness: “He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him” (John 1:10-13; c.f., Isaiah 65:1-7). The inconceivable reality is that man, created in His image, no longer recognized our Creator, nor desire to be obedient to Him. Our fallen nature would never have enabled us to grasp the grace of God if the Word was not crucified for our sins.
The Word Became A Human For Us: “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14). It is historically incredulous for God to diminish Himself as a man to live and die among us, yet the Word became what He never was, no less the full embodiment of God (John 10:11-18; c.f., Phil 2:5-11). The motivation for such an astounding decision was driven by unconditional love, as personified by His love declarations for Israel’s waywardness (Jer 3:6-10; Hosea 11), the depth of which we know absolutely nothing. Furthermore, it is entirely beyond our capacity to comprehend – perhaps one day within the mysterious ability of believers together (from the past, the present and the future), we may be able to grasp the love of God in Christ that surpasses knowledge (c.f., Eph 3:17-19).
The Word Revealed The Unseen God To Us: “No one has seen God at any time; the only begotten God who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him” (John 1:14-18). The Word ‘tabernacled’ or lived among us and revealed His glory (i.e., God’s ‘goodness,’ Ex 33:18-23) through His dishonourable suffering and sacrificial death (c.f., John 12:23-26). Remarkably counter-cultural! John then curiously alluded his readers to Moses’ experience of God’s holiness and hiddenness. The context is worth looking at (Ex 32:7 – 33:16): the golden calf episode compromised Aaron’s standing as God’s ‘mouthpiece,’ and Moses was interceding for the people to allay Yahweh’s anger and His threat of annihilation. The patriarch argued that the people that he brought out of Egypt belonged specifically to God and not to him! Moses led them on God’s behalf and as His steward. This sensitive delineation of responsibility is a reminder to us, especially those who shepherd their local flock, that they are just stewards of God’s people, and are accountable to God for them; members of a local congregation belong to God. Finally, with Aaron’s disqualification, Yahweh from then on represented and spoke for Himself (Ex 33:13-15). The incarnation of the Word profoundly resets human history and establishes for those who chose to follow Him an eternal glorious trajectory in the Word Himself (Eph 1:8-14).