“In The Beginning Was the Word”

by Tom Wacaster

Some of the most profound statements were made by John in the first few verses of his account of the life of Christ. First, there is an affirmation of the eternality of the Word. With words that grace the very beginning of divine revelation, John takes us all the way back to “the beginning.” And while Moses began with the precise point in time, and looked forward to the coming of the Word, the Messiah, John takes exactly the same moment in time, and looks back into eternity. Moses started with the works which God did, and John began with the One Who performed those mighty works. At whatever point in time the “beginning” may point to, the “Word” already existed. Hence, the Word did not COME into existence; it always did exist!

Second, there is a clear affirmation of the deity of our Lord. When John said that Jesus was “with God,” he was literally saying that He was “before the face of God.” Our English word ‘with’ translates the Greek preposition ‘pros, and is the same word used in Mark 6:3 where it is said the inhabitants of Nazareth expressed their astonishment about Jesus by asking, “Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, and brother of James, and Joses, and Judas, and Simon? and are not his sisters here with us?” The very word used by Mark implies association in the sense of free mingling with others of a community on terms of equality. Hence, the “Word” was not some impersonal principle, some “force,” or eternal truth, but an intelligent, active personality.

Third, this “Word was God.” The Greek is more properly rendered, “and God was the Word.” Our English translations do not grasp the full import of John’s statement. In the Greek language there is a “definite article” that appears in the phrase preceding. John had stated there, “The Word was with the God.” Here that article is conspicuously absent. John simply says, “the Word was God.” The absence of the article stresses quality rather than quantity. A better rendering would have been, “and divine was the Word.”

Finally, John declares that “the same was in the beginning with God.” The Word was “in the beginning” thus showing reference to TIME. The Word was “with God” thus showing association or relation. The Word “was God,” thus showing ESSENCE or being.” Tenny ties verses 2 and 3 together. “Having thus established the position of the Logos in the world of concept, the writer revealed His position in the world of action” (page 65). But rather than being a mere reiteration of what was written in verse 1, John here states that the Logos actually shared a place with God in the beginning of all things. It was precisely this equality with the Father that so enraged the Jews and led to their rejection of Jesus their Messiah.

Now let’s make some application. What does all this mean to you? to me? First, it clearly sets forth the deity of our Lord. As the Divine and Holy One of Israel, we owe Him our allegiance, yea our very existence. Christ is not some “segment” of our life to be plugged into on Sunday, and then disassociated from the remainder of the week. How can we claim allegiance to our Creator when it is convenient to us, but ignore Him when He or His demands get in our way? Second, John’s use of the word “Logos” to describe this Divine One implies that our Lord’s predominant role in the relationship of God with the world is one of communication. It is through our Lord that the fullness of the Godhead was made known; it was through the work of our Lord that God’s divine revelation came to light. In short, all that Jesus Christ did or said was heaven’s message crying out to man! Why is it that so few are listening? Could it be that we have our ears closed? Has the wax of the world clogged our spiritual ears so that we cannot hear the message from heaven? Has the noise of the world drowned out the pleas from heaven? Third, this passage implies that the Word is active in bringing about heaven’s purpose. So it has been; so it continues to be; so it will be when He comes again. So far as past action, it was He Who created the universe. So far as concerns the present, “all things are upheld by the word of his power” (Heb. 1:3). So far as the future, He is coming to judge all men in righteousness.

Friend, read John’s opening words again! Hear the message! Reflect upon the truths revealed therein, and then act upon those truths. To do otherwise is to commit spiritual suicide.

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