The Incarnational Prequel

John 1: 1 – 18.

The Christological use of ‘word’ in the prologue to the Gospel of John sets it apart from its subsequent use in the narrative, as well as the other Gospels. Whereas the Greek ‘logos’ is commonly used as the reason or the rational principle expressed in words and things, argument, or justification, it appears to be articulated by John in the context of a visible expression of God’s most profound thought encompassing His nature and self-disclosed titles in his Gospel. His immediate pronouncements of the deity of Jesus Christ, together with the mystery of the Trinity, implied that John expected his readers to examine what he had reported in his subsequent chronicle in that light. How then does Jesus Christ as the Word of God, impact us?

The Gospel’s initial account introduced us to the dogma of creation – the Word is the Creator of all things: the Word was with God… the Word was God… the Word was at the beginning with God…and all things came into being through the Word (John 1:1-3). As John developed this theme, Jesus – God’s self-expression, yet differentiated from Him – is identified as the eternal Word (c.f., John 20:30-31; Col 1:15-20; Heb 1:1-14). Simply put, God called into being the universe through Christ. Hence, all creation intrinsically is accountable to Jesus, with the trickle effect of our spirituality as believers being irrevocably centred in our Creator, the author of eternal Life, who is the Light of truth and righteousness (John 1:4-9; c.f., John 3:19-21; John 8:12; John 14:6), and simultaneously, God’s redemptive agent. But, when the Word incarnated into this world to reconcile man back to God due to the Fall, the advent of sin, humanity categorically rejected Him (c.f., John 3:16-17). However, those who received and believed Jesus Christ, irrespective of the rectitude of the individual, will be spiritually born anew by God’s Holy Spirit (John 1:10-13; c.f., John 3:1-8). This new birth is initiated only by God on the basis of Christ’s finished work on the cross (Acts 4:8-12).

The Word, our Creator-Saviour, incarnated God into human history, becoming one of us, being fully God, yet completely man, God with us, the eternal message of Christ-mas; astoundingly revealing God to us (John 1:14-18). Especially for believers, the reality of God’s presence with us has significant implications (c.f., Col 1:26-27). It ought to radically and substantially impact all our relationships and our dealings in this worldly interregnum (Heb 13:5-8). The consciousness of living before God’s face through each day is the intentional cultivation of His Presence, as we seek to obey Him and reflect His testimony, to be read by all around us (2Cor 3:2-3). John further emphasized that as a result of the comprehensiveness of the divine revelation in Jesus, redeemed humanity received His special grace, instead of a grace (John 1:15-16), thereby facilitating our accountability to the will of our glorious God, and anchoring us in His covenant grace (‘chesed’ or at times translated ‘love’) and revealed truth (‘emeth’ or sometimes rendered ‘faithfulness’). No one has seen God and lives (Ex 33:20), but the One who was with God and by His side, He has made Him known to us through His life on Earth. (John 1:18; c.f., Ex 34:5). The incarnation made possible man’s reconciliation with God through the sacrifice of the Word, who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him (2Cor 5:20-21).