Jesus is The Word
Jesus: The Word
Read John 1:1-17
“In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God.”
When we think of the Christmas story and the birth of Jesus, our thoughts go immediately to Matthew and Luke and the story of the Wisemen and shepherds. We turn to the passages that tell us what happened on that incredible night. However, John 1:1-17 is equally focused upon the birth of Jesus. While Matthew and Luke tell the of the event, John focuses more on the importance of the event. He begins by announcing not the birth of Jesus but the arrival of “The Word.” In this name or title, John connects the person and activity of Christ to the person and action of God.
The first thing that strikes us is the phrase “in the beginning.” These words point us back to the very beginning of time and God's creative work. When God created the universe, he spoke the world into existence. By stating that Jesus was the Word, John affirms that it was through Christ that this creative work was accomplished. This is further verified by the writer of Hebrews, “In these last days has spoken to us in His son, whom he appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world.” When John states that Jesus is the Word, he affirms his preexistence and preeminence over all creation. As the creator, his also the one who sustains the universe by the Word of his power (Hebrews 1:3). Scientists struggle to find the unifying principle of the universe. They understand quantum mechanics (the understanding of very small things), and they study general relativity (the explanation of large things). But they do not understand how the two interact. They cannot identify the unifying principles that enable quantum mechanics and general relativity to work harmoniously. They have theories (e.g., string theory) but no conclusion. However, for scripture, the ultimate unifying principle that holds and maintains the universe together is not a theory of science; it is a person of Christ.
Second, affirming that Christ is the Word also points to Christ as the divine revelation of God. In the past, God revealed himself through the words and messages of the prophets. But Christ became the fullest revelation of God to the world. He is the one who tells the character, will, and nature of God to humanity. Yet the self-disclosure of God through Christ was far greater than that of the prophets. Christ was not only the Word of God; he was God himself, come in the flesh. Christ is the “radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his nature” (Hebrews 1:3). He came to reveal the Father to us so that when we see Christ, we do not merely see a veiled image of the Father, we see the Father as well (John 14:8-10). Jesus is the ultimate self-disclosure of God.
Third, the incarnation of Christ as the Word provides the basis for reconciling humanity to God. Not only does he represent and reveal God to man, but as a man, he also represents man to God. Thus he becomes our substitute and the basis for our reconciliation.
In his description, John reminds us that the universe and our lives are not governed by indifferent laws of creation, indifferent and impersonal. Instead, the universe is governed by a personal God who sustains the universe and is deeply engaged in our lives as he became one with us. The incarnation of Christ reminds us that he is not uncaring, merely a cosmic observer who is like one of us, watching the activity of an ant hill- curious but disinterested. Christ entered into our world so that he might participate in us. Christ, as God’s self-revelation to us, points us to a God who sympathizes with our weakness and is a source of grace and helps in times of need (Hebrews 4:14-16).
The story of Christmas is a story of God becoming one of us to reveal himself to us and bring us salvation. Yet, rather than embracing him, we reject him. We scorn him just as we scorned his image that was imprinted in us. Yet there is hope. If we accept him and receive the salvation he offers, he will save us and elevate us to being his children (John 1:14). That is the story of Christmas.