“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God . . . ” John 1:1-18
The Word and the New Creation (vs. 1-5)
John’s gospel opens with one of the best known passages in the Bible, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” We are reminded of creation, given more information of that creation, and are introduced to a new creation. The word “genomai” is used three times in verse 3 and is translated as made, made, made. If you say, “I made my bed,” you mean that you shuffled the sheets and blanket into a different position. But if the Word made the bed, the Word made the cotton bush for the sheets and made the color pigments and made the idea of Captain America. You made the bed, but the Word made the bed. The Word is fundamental to life. John introduces the beginning of a new creation and a new life and so light shines in the darkness (Gen. 1:3, Jn. 1:5).
John the Witness (vs. 6-8)
Since this is a new creation of men, God sends a man named John as a witness. A witness has two credentials––1) see or experience an event 2) repeat what he experienced. John was a witness of the light–– “I’ve seen the light. Let me tell you about the light.” The result of John’s testimony is belief, “that all might believe through him” (vs. 7).
To Become Children of God (vs. 9-13)
In this new creation, a problem exists that didn’t in the original creation. The Light comes into the world––the world he created––but the world scrunches up its eyes and remains in darkness. The Light should enlighten the dark world. That’s what happened in the first beginning, “And God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light. And God saw that the light was good” (Gen. 1:3). But now, God send the Light into the world, but the world hates the Light and remains in darkness. Creation has gone wrong (Jn. 3:19-21). The problem is that those in the world love their darkness, and so, his own people do not receive him.
John introduces the good news in verses 12-13. But all who receive the Light will receive the right be become children of God. This will happen––not of blood, because you have the right blood line tracing back to Abraham; nor of the will of the flesh, because you try really, really hard; nor of the will of man, because your parents or pastors or girlfriend want this for you––because God wants you to be his son. God’s will is for you to be his daughter. When you are born as a child of God, it’s not a “natural” birth but the supernatural work of God. As God must act for darkness to become light so must he act for children of the world to become his children. How can men and women, girls and boys, become children of God?
The Word Became Flesh (vs. 14)
The Word of God became flesh. John bluntly describes the genuine humanity of the Word. John could have used more pleasant words like––the Word became a man. Or the Word took on a body. But “flesh” is a strong, even crude way of referring to who we are and what we have. Flesh is what the wolf pack tears off deer bones. If we don’t cringe when we hear “the Word became flesh,” then we don’t understand the stupendous work of the fleshed Word.
And the Word became flesh and tabernacled among us. The Tabernacle was the mobile tent during Israel’s wandering in the wilderness to worship God. Whenever God’s glory came into the Tabernacle, Moses and anyone else near by had to run out (Ex. 40:34-35). But now the glorious Word descends into the tabernacle of his flesh, and, instead of fleeing, “we have seen his glory…full of grace and truth.”
Glory, Grace, and Truth (vs. 15-18)
What do we discover about God’s character when the Word became flesh and dwelt among us? We see His glory, grace, and truth.
Glory is one of those Christian words that’s really hard to define. John introduces here the source of glory––glory as of the only Son from the Father. Where do you find glory? Look at God the Father and his Son. But unlike the glory of the Old Covenant that you could not see, could not touch, the glory of the Son from the Father can be seen, touched, kneeled before, kissed.
Grace and truth are not abstract words or ideas. They are incarnate. Truth is a person. Grace overflows from the Son. You can’t know what the words “grace” or “truth” mean really until you know the Word who became flesh. How can we experience the LORD’s glory and live? (vs. 18) No one has seen the God the Father…until now. Until the Son is sent to the world. Until the Word becomes flesh. Until the Light shines in the darkness. Will you receive the Son? Will you listen to the Word? Will you see the Glory?