John 1:1: In the beginning was the Word
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In the beginning was the word.
This is a majestic and memorable beginning to the Gospel. It introduces a title for Jesus that is unique to John’s Gospel. The Word is a title that speaks volumes for John’s understanding of Jesus. At once, if we know the Old Testament, we are taken back to the creative word of God in Genesis 1. We are reminded that God works through his word. He creates, he communicates, he judges and he blesses through his word.
God’s people rejoice at the gift of his word. Psalm 119 speaks at length and depth of the wonder and preciousness of the word of God, how it is a lamp to our feet and a light to our path (Ps 119:105). In Isaiah 55:11 we are told:
As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.
The word is sent, and returns, having accomplished God’s purpose. This sounds like the story of Jesus in the Gospel. Perhaps it was the inspiration behind the title itself?
The ‘Word’ reminds us that our God is a God who speaks. And in his speaking, God reveals himself to us. The Word is a brilliant title for the story of the one who reveals God to us (John 1:18). As John’s Gospel unfolds, as the rest of the New Testament unfolds, we see that Jesus, the Word of God, is the climax of God’s self-revelation.
Jesus is God’s final word to the people he has created, and to the people he has chosen.
As the writer to the Hebrews reminds us
In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, 2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe. 3 The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word (Heb 1:1-2)
We thank God for his word. We thank God for the Word. But even as we do this, we acknowledge that we live in a world which is awash with words. Words that clog up our social media channels. Words that fill our lives, in books, magazines, on walls, television, internet and in our incessant chat to one another. Never has so much been said by so many. And yet so much of the time these words are saying very little. We long for significant words.
We use words that change meaning so many times they can become meaningless. We hear words that are intended to hide as much as reveal, words that are fake news, words that seek to trick and are not to be trusted. In the midst of so many words we long for words we can trust.
In the beginning was the Word.
We can thank God that he has spoken true words and he has spoken significant words.
He did this in the past through the prophets.
He did this in the person of his Son, the Lord Jesus, the Word.
He continues to do so through the Scriptures that record his Word and testify to his Son.
Let’s pay attention to God’s significant words and trust his true Word.
Our Heavenly Father, we thank you that you reveal yourself to us in your Son and in the Scriptures. Thank you that speak clearly to us. Help us to receive your word, trust in the goodness of your word and demonstrate this trust in obedience to your word. We ask in the name of your Son, Jesus Christ, your Son, our Lord. Amen.
Pray with us today's prayer request:
In their September Press Release the Gafcon Primates revealed a plan for a Doctorate Program in Ministry for bishops who have already attended the Gafcon Bishops Training Institute. Pray for the Lord's wisdom and help as this initiative is taken forward.
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