The Word Became Flesh
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4 In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
What I love about this passage of scripture is how it ends – “The light shines in the darkness”. Darkness only exists because of the absence of light. This is something that any photographer needs to know well and capture well, and that is, capturing light to create the desired photo that you want. The photo below, although not a biblical photo, captures the essence of this principle perfectly. Notice how your eyes are drawn immediately to the light and colours in the photo and how the darkness is eliminated.
John’s Gospel, in how it begins, has left much theological debate over the past 2000 years. But, instead of exploring the theology of the opening verses, I’d rather focus on it with Holy Spirit lenses and that is to learn more about Jesus and the divine Word.
Verse 1 – The Divine Word
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
The opening of this verse immediately reminds of how Genesis starts with “In the beginning” This passage begins with this but also speaks of Creation in verse 3.
The records of church history have different opinions as to what is meant by “Word”. The most likely understanding, however, of “Word” is that John refers to Proverbs 8:1 “Does not wisdom call, does not understanding raise her voice?”. It is fair to reason then that the Word is an Old Testament idea of wisdom and Jesus is the personification of God’s wisdom.
The Word was “in the beginning.” “Was” this demonstrates that the Word was in a constant state of existence before the Creation. This is important for wisdom had been created shortly before the Creation.
“The Word was God”. This sentence demonstrates that the point is that the Word has God’s nature. The point of the passage is that the Word is equal with God, He is God.
The Word, then, is pre-existent, present with God, and divine. This is vital, because John says in verse 14, “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.” Therefore, the incarnation of Jesus, is not just the revelation of a divine being, but we have the revelation of God himself.
Verse 2-3 The Creating Word
2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.
The Word was in the beginning with God – He was present at the Creation.
All things were made through Him, Jesus, and without Him nothing was made. The point here is that Jesus is not a created being. The emphasis here is that Jesus was present at creation and everything was created through Him, and therefore was not a created being. Jesus is eternal and un-created, he is the Creator of all things.
Considering Jesus Christ is the Word, He was the instrument through which God created the world. Colossians 1:16 tells us “In him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or authorities – all things were created through him and for him”. You and I and all creation were created through Christ and for Christ, and this is the same person who assumed human flesh.
Verse 4-5 Life-Giving Word
4 In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
“In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.” Jesus is the One who has life, because he is the One who created life! Teachers of this era and based upon the promises of God to those who obeyed God. John says that the eternal life of which these teachers spoke of, is found in a Person, Jesus Christ.
In other parts of the Gospel of John, Jesus makes statements about the life He gives. These statements are validation of the life He gives for us, the life that only He can give. “but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” (John. 4: 14). “Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die;26 and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?” (John. 11:25-26). “Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John. 14:6).
“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” This is the best part of the passage for me, as I said earlier. But now I give a slightly different definition of light. Light allows you to see where you are going. You turn the headlights on your car at night so that you can find your way. Light a candle in the darkness and you can see your surroundings better. Jesus came and lit up the way to God; through his teaching, we can see where we are going. “Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.” (Psalm 119:105).
Another definition is that there is hope in the light. Imagine you are in dark cave, you are feeling lost and hopeless, suddenly you see the light of the tour guides torch – you’re going to have hope! Jesus brings hope into the world. Jesus came to give us hope!
Darkness cannot overcome light, it is always light overcoming darkness. We see two meanings in the use of the word light. The world cannot overcome the light even with its best (or worst) efforts – Jesus light shines two millennia later even though sceptics have tried to dim it, and, the world does not understand the hope and the faith and the light we have as Christians.
Jesus Christ is amazing. He is the Word of God. He is the divine Word, the creating Word, and the life-giving Word. Jesus did become flesh, He was fully man and fully God, Jesus truly became flesh. The divine Word became God in the flesh, the creating Word became a person, and the life-giving Word came to give us life. Because Jesus became flesh, he was able to suffer and die for us.
Take hold of the grace that came to man when Jesus assumed flesh.