1In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2He was in the beginning with God. 3All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. 4In him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
A natural follow-up to our study of Revelation seems (for me) to be the Gospel of John. We’ve examined John’s alarming, comforting, terrifying descriptions of The End. Now it is time to see what he has to say about his time on this planet with the Victorious Lord. The Gospel of John is unlike the 3 other Gospels that precede it in the canon. His focus is entirely different than Matthew, Mark, or Luke. While all four of the Gospels tell the story of Jesus’ life on earth, His death, and His resurrection, John’s reference point seems to begin in the heart of Jesus (and perhaps of John’s heart as well).
With his first words, John instantly grabs our attention and we are transported back to Genesis 1:1. “In the beginning”. These words resonate with every believer because we know them by heart. You need only read them once and they are yours forever. But John uses these words not to show us a Jesus who is a created being like us, but to instead put Him with God at our creation. He was already there and He was God. If you spent the rest of the day just dwelling on John 1:1 you will have spent your time wisely.
Two quotes from modern day theologian D.A. Carson are enlightening when it comes to expanding our understanding of these opening verses of John.
“Yet instead of ‘In the beginning God created,’ John has ‘In the beginning [prior to creation] was the Word.’ This locates Jesus’ existence in eternity past with God and sets the stage for John’s lofty Christology, which is unmatched by any of the other canonical Gospels. “The term ‘the Word’ conveys the notion of divine self-expression or speech. The Genesis creation account provides ample testimony to the effectiveness of God’s word: he speaks, and things come into being. Both psalmists and prophets portray God’s word in close-to-personified terms, but only John claims that this word has appeared in space-time history as an actual person, Jesus Christ.”
1The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.
2Day to day pours out speech, and night to night reveals knowledge.
3There is no speech, nor are there words, whose voice is not heard.
4Their voice goes out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them he has set a tent for the sun,
5which comes out like a bridegroom leaving his chamber, and, like a strong man, runs its course with joy.
6Its rising is from the end of the heavens, and its circuit to the end of them, and there is nothing hidden from its heat.
My heart leaps with joy and surprise as I read Psalm 19:5 in light of our study of Revelation. This Light, this Word, is our Bridegroom and He comes with joy to bring about our salvation. The thread running from Genesis to Revelation is tied in the middle by the Gospel of John. It is stunning in its scope and import for our lives as His Children, as His Bride.
“Most critical in this regard is Isaiah’s depiction of God’s word as going out from his mouth and not returning to him empty, but as accomplishing what he desires and achieving the purpose for which he sent it. In 55:11 Isaiah provides the framework for John’s “sending” Christology, which presents Jesus as the Word sent by God the Father who pursues and accomplishes his mission in obedience to the one who sent him. This sender-sent relationship, in turn, provides the paradigm for Jesus’ relationship with his followers.”
Beale, G. K., & Carson, D. A. ©2007. Commentary on the New Testament use of the Old Testament (p. 421). Grand Rapids, MI; Nottingham, UK: Baker Academic; Apollos.
10“For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, 11so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.
The Father sent His Son (The Word) to accomplish our salvation. Isaiah prophecies this intention of God and Jesus brings fulfillment to that promise. “In the beginning was the Word and was with God and the Word was God.” The beauty and perfection of God’s plan almost defies description.