The Gospel of John starts with the very same words that are recorded for the beginning of everything – the Scripture – in the Book of Genesis. And then Lord Jesus is portrayed in a wonderful way to help us understand not only the love of God but God Himself. The relationship of the Son with the Father and with His creation is revealed in a wonderful manner which reveals the work of the Son in the entire creation process.
“In the beginning” – Apostle John uses these three words with the clear intention of establishing the role of Lord Jesus in creation of the universe. Apostle Paul repeats the same, “For in Him all things were created; things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through Him and for Him” (Colossians 1:16). In the beginning before anything was created, there was total darkness on the earth with water everywhere and the earth was unfit to produce or sustain any thing. Holy Spirit – the Spirit of God – in His omnipresence was “hovering over the waters”. All action starts with a command from God – His spoken Word, His Son the Living Word, is released by the Father and with the Holy Spirit He reveals the glory of God. The light of His glory illuminates the whole earth removing its ‘void’ state rendering it capable of joining in the process of creation.
Only after the arrival of the Word that the Holy Spirit acts and it is the same scene today as well for both act in consonance with each other as per God’s will. Earth then produces plants and herbs, fish in the waters, birds in the sky, and beasts on the earth surface. God’s spoken Word “Let there be” transforms the earth for revelation of God’s glory changes the situation, allowing the process of creation to commence. The light of His glory illuminates the earth for only on the fourth day sun, moon and stars are created by God. Lord Jesus in His prayer to the Father seeks restoration of this same glory “that I had with You before anything came into being” (John 17:5).
Prophet Isaiah is revealed the fallen state of Israel and humanity from God “I reared children and brought them up, but they have rebelled against Me” (Isaiah 1:2-3). The Prophet then witnesses God’s throne with the seraphim and the glory of God revealed in the Temple while overhearing God’s anguish filled statement, “Who should I send? Who will go from Our side?” (Isaiah 6:8). The act of redemption of mankind that was foretold by God earlier in Genesis 3 is again repeated just before the heavens are closed by God and no word comes from God for four hundred years. “On the appointed day, they will be my people and I will be merciful to them…… You will understand the difference between righteous and wicked” (Malachi 3:17-18. Then “the sun of righteousness will rise and you will get well with the light of His glory” (Malachi 4:2).
The Psalmist explains the special nature of the act of creation of mankind in Genesis, “Light is sown like seed for/on the righteous and gladness of heart for the upright” (Psalm 97:11). Hebrew word “or” translated as ‘light’ is used here as well as in Genesis 1:3-4 for light and another word “zara” meaning sow, plant or scatter seed is translated as sown in the Psalm. God made a form of dust from the earth and ‘breathed into his nostrils’ to give him life, thereby planting a part of Himself in that. Even after they disobeyed God, He did not abandon them but provided them with garments of skin. The Hebrew words ‘labash’ to clothe and ‘kotnot’ meaning garments are the same words used for clothing Aaron and his sons with priestly garments before they took up their assigned roles (Leviticus 8:7,13 & Numbers 20:28). Adam and Eve were both appointed by God as priests, leaving an opening for them to worship and stay connected to Him. We remain naked and vulnerable to everything – nature, our enemies and each other without the covering from God.
Eternal quest in man – The light that God has sown in mankind is covered but creates an eternal desire to know Him. The tower of Babel was a self effort by mankind to reach God without seeking His help and for this reason their language was confused to prevent mankind to act in unison with one accord to create a name for themselves (Genesis 6:11). After being scattered over the face of the earth man started the worship of nature – sun, moon and stars, and created beings rather than reach out to God in heaven.
Apostle John connects Lord Jesus’ coming as an act of mercy from God to redeem us from our sinful nature and restore what was lost in the Garden of Eden. This renewed relationship with God is the new birth through faith in the sacrificial atonement by the Son of God for our sins. ‘He is the light of the world and in Him is life’ and in Him the creation process of man is repeated. Believers are given a new garment of skin – the Lord Jesus – to be put on in faith and thus accept Him as our Savior, Shepherd and God (Romans 13:14). Apostle Peter had denied the Lord three times and three times he was asked by the Lord to confirm his love for Him. The Savior then covers him with His Divine light and love to give him the specific responsibility of tending to feeding His sheep (John 21:17).
Different proclamation of Lord Jesus by Apostle John – Chapter 1 of Gospel according to Apostle John has the first 18 verses as a prologue of the whole book, containing the reference to John the Baptist and LOGOS or Word. Each verse in this comprises of three elements, where the second element advances on the idea contained in the first and in like manner it is further carried forward in the third part. This prologue divides itself into seven sections, each defining a particular aspect of the LOGOS.
- LOGOS and Deity – Verse 1 – The words ‘In the beginning’ connect the whole concept with the commencement of the creation process in Genesis 1. Thus He did not come at a particular time but always was. The second is about His eternal personality – “was with God”. The Greek word “pros” translated as ‘with’ has been used elsewhere in the Scripture to assert a close relationship with one another, intermingling as equals. People of Nazareth were amazed at His sayings and attempted to link the Lord Jesus to His earthly relationship – son of Joseph, ‘His sisters are here with us’ (Mark 6:3). The third element is about His Deity “the LOGOS was God” where stress is placed on ‘the’ depicting His individuality and not on quality/qualities. The Word possessed and eternally manifested the very nature of God
- The Word and creation – Verses 2-3 – Verse 2 in this explains the place that the LOGOS shared with God since eternity past. ‘All things came into being through Him’, implies a transition from what was not to what is thus defining an event and not a process as confirmed by the use ‘aorist’ tense. Thus while LOGOS exists eternally, the material creation, a product of the Word exists temporarily. Logos is described as an Agent Creator for God the real owner, though “all things were created through Him and For Him” (Hebrews 1:2 & Colossians 1:16). The last part explains His activity where Greek word ‘gegonen’ is translated “to come into being and still exists” thereby denoting the present state as the continuing result of the previous act. Thus creation owes its origin and sustenance to God through the agency of LOGOS.
- LOGOS and spiritual life – Verses 4, 5 & 9 – Life has been mentions as a noun 36 times by Apostle John and only eleven times as eternal life. Thus in Him life of God is expressed in human experience where LOGOS is its source and embodiment. Life is described in terms of light, connecting it to the start of creation and life on the earth where revelation of the Light of God’s glory is expressed (Genesis 1:2-3). Further details of the plot are then introduced where the world is not receptive to the Divine life available through the Word but it is unable to extinguish that Light. The Greek word ‘katalambano’ is translated as ‘comprehend’ where it also means “to overcome, seize upon, to make one’s own, to capture, overpower’ rather than understand. The main theme of this Gospel account is about the attempts of darkness to overpower the Word. The third line reveals LOGOS as the ‘true light’, which lights up every man and this light was coming into the world through Lord Jesus. Greek word ‘alethinos’ means ‘original’ rather than ‘true or correct’ and the same word is used for God defining Him as “true God” (John 17:3). Apostle John clarifies that this Light is the ‘real Light’ all else is copy and LOGOS is the source of spiritual illumination.
- LOGOS and the world – Verse 10 – The world as used here depicts both material and spiritual environment of mankind. The world could know Him but did not do so out of personal choice. Though the world came into being through Him but He was not part of the world – His creation and remained separated from it. Now He came to be with the world and it decided not to know Him though He had become a part of it. His disciples, Jewish elders and scholars could only have a superficial understanding of Him, His words, His personality or His mission. It was this lack of ‘knowing Him’ that caused conflict, hatred, bitterness and ultimate rejection of LOGOS by the world.
- LOGOS and mankind – Verses 11-13 – These two verses develop further the idea generated in verse ten above. Here the mode of contact is established – He came while coming to His own means home coming. The same expression is used for disciples going to their respective homes (John 16:32) or for Lord’s mother Mary being taken to His home by Apostle John after crucifixion (John 19:27). The entire universe is His creation and He has the inherent right of ownership of the same but His own reacted illogically and rejected Him. Lord Jesus through the parable of the wicked husbandman had illustrated the same point to the disciples (Matthew 21:33-46). While His own, Jews, the chosen people rejected others did receive Him – the Samaritans (John 4) and Greek Gentiles sought Him (John 12:20 – 21). Reception is the counter point of rejection and some did believe Him and this is the essential point to receive revelation of and from LOGOS. And this receiving brought them into a new relationship in the family of God as His children. This new association is of Divine impartation well beyond the physical realm.
- LOGOS incarnate – Verse 14 – This verse is the pivot of the prologue where Deity is manifested to humanity and becomes available for all its needs. In here LOGOS is connected to verses 1 & 2 showing His eternal nature and relation to God and adding to that His relation to the world. First part is the act of becoming flesh, which is tangible, audible and visible and Divine through this gets restricted to time, space, handicaps of hunger, fatigue and susceptibility to pain and suffering. He belongs to both God and humanity in this state. Second, ‘dwelt among us’ is translated from Greek word ‘eskenosen’ meaning to ‘pitch tent’ which implies a temporary stay but it is not illusory. It relates to Old Testament presence of God with the Israelites leading and guiding them in the wilderness. Third, the effect of this incarnation was revelatory where beheld means observed with careful scrutiny under all conditions to understand significance. The word ‘we’ represents all of humanity, initially the disciples and later all others. This observation leads to personal declaration for it is not limited to viewing only and in this way all humanity has His fullness made available to them by God. This fullness is for personal appropriation through faith in Him enabling us to receive grace in exchange for grace, refreshing one blessing with another in continuity. This fullness that is available to all believers is unlimited in its essence and availability.
- Seven, The LOGOS revealing – Verses 16-18 – The oldest and most reliable manuscripts contain words “the only begotten God” instead of “the only begotten Son”, affirming His Deity though ‘Son’ is also equally correct for both reveal the same aspect of His Being. The real unveiled essence of God was not revealed to mortal sight and the Truth of God’s character revealed in and through the Son for He is the fullest expression of the Father’s love and life. ‘In the bosom of the Father’ means perfect and close relationship having complete understanding and in this intimacy the Son can reveal the “biographical’ details of the Father. The Son, who is also God and is one with the Father interprets Him to and for mankind who is alienated from Him. “Declare” is exposition of Divine mysteries so far unknown to humanity and this interpretation of God by the Son is absolute and complete for all needs of man – for his body, soul and spirit – all material and spiritual needs.
Apostle John connects the independent revelation of God by the Son with that of John the Baptist which is in the course of prophesy and whose relationship with the Son is of subordination. LOGOS is revealed as fully human as well as fully God equipped with the fullness of the Holy Spirit to not only overcome darkness but also illuminate the very being of all believers. The Light is available in the world and we can make Him our own in faith – no works required of us to receive Him!