Week 1, Day 4

Day 4: John 1:1-5

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. All things were created through him, and apart from him not one thing was created that has been created. In him was life, and that life was the light of men. That light shines in the darkness, and yet the darkness did not overcome it.

1. John is drawing on (at least) two major backstories here and tying them together. The first is the Hebrew Scriptures: God created all things by his word, he gave soul-life to Adam through his breath, and he enlightened his chosen people (Noah, Abraham, Moses, etc.) through his words. If this were to be summed up from that angle, it might just say God spoke! The second is the Greco-Roman philosophical concept λόγος (logos), here translated word. This has been frustrating Bible translators since at least Jerome in the 4th century, and no one has ever really nailed it, for the simple reason we have no language to capture the concept concisely. The best I can do here is this: the Logos is generative– it creates. It is apologetic– it convinces on its own merits. It is evident– it appears to the plain observer. It is conversant– it interacts from a position of knowledge. John draws on all this background and makes a dramatic statement: Jesus is all these things. He generates all things, he convinces on his own merits, he appears to those who are paying attention, he interacts with all from a position of authoritative knowledge. Oh, and by the way, he is also the word of God in the Genesis 1 sense too!

2. This is all about Jesus. Jesus was from the beginning. As the means through which all things were created, he possesses creator’s rights. As the source of life and light, he possesses all knowledge. He shines in the darkness, so he is knowable. Jesus is present and accessible, not arcane and hidden away for only the experts and specialists. Jesus is here, available, and is the answer to every question- every question since the beginning.

3. We can know God through the appearance of his Son! Look at the light. He is life. He is from the beginning. He is with God. He is God! Look at the light, look to the light, look for the light, follow the light.

4. As he was from the beginning, he will be to the end. The God who speaks has not yet spoken the Last Word, though he has promised to speak it when he will declare all things new, a word that is trustworthy and true (Rev. 21:5). Jesus, the light and life, the means, manner, and reason for everything, will bring to completion all that he has begun. The darkness will not overcome.