Bible Reading: Matthew 1:1-17; Mark 1:1; Luke 1:1-4; 3:23-28; John 1:1-18

I encourage you to check out the introduction to this new series by clicking here: Who Is He? Introduction.

Now, let’s dive in!

Imagine being the people of God, who regularly heard what God wanted from them and for them through the words of prophets. You would hear what the prophet of the LORD would say as God had revealed his words to that person and then they would tell you what God had said. Imagine hearing that on a regular basis. Men like Moses, Elijah, Elisha, Samuel, Jonah, Jeremiah, Isaiah, and so on brought the words of God to the people. Imagine being exiled from the Promised Land and subject to captivity by two different civilizations. Two nations that were really your enemies! The Persians and the Babylonians. Yet, God still spoke to you through his prophets during that time. Then, as he promised, he returned you, his people, to the Promised Land. But, for a period of 400+ years, God was silent. His word was not being declared by true prophets any longer. No longer did you have a fresh revelation from the LORD! You were back in the Promised Land without any new words from the LORD who gave you the land….

Then, something miraculous happened. The Messiah, who was promised throughout the ages by the LORD’s prophets, was born! The angel Gabriel announces the birth of John the Baptist, who was to be the Messiah’s forerunner, and then he announces the birth of the Messiah to the would be mother of our Lord.

Each Gospel portrays Christ from a different perspective. Mark focuses on Christ as the perfect servant. Matthew shows Christ as the perfect King. Luke reveals that Christ is the perfect man. John, the beloved disciple, proclaims that Christ is the Word, he was with God in the beginning and is God himself.

John 1:1–18 (ESV)

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him. He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light.

The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. 11 He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. 12 But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.

14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. 15 (John bore witness about him, and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.’ ”) 16 For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. 17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known.

Verse 1 perhaps is the most debated verse between Christians and Jehovah’s Witnesses. Christians hold that the Word is God. In other words, the Word, who is Jesus, is the God of the universe. Jehovah’s Witnesses hold that the Word is a god. That is a huge difference! You can argue all you want with JWs about the Greek grammar in this verse, but you will get blue in the face doing so. Just go down to verses 2 and 3. The Christian Bible and the JW translation (The New World Translation) are basically the same. Verse one in both translations vary, but verse 3 is the same.

“All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.”

The Gospel Coalition has a great article called: How to use the back of a napkin to prove to a Jehovah’s Witness that Jesus is God. You can click that link to read it. It is not my goal in this post to argue against the JWs, rather it is my goal to display Jesus as the Word, which means he is God based on John chapter 1.

When John writes his gospel he had a very intentional reason for writing. John 20:31 clearly states why he wrote, “but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ (the Messiah), the Son of God (equating Jesus with God), and that by believing you may have life in his name (something only God can grant). John wants the readers of his gospel account to see that the Word, who became flesh, was not a god. He is the God. His Christology is very strong. He writes exactly what Christ said and who Christ claims to be. There are 7 “I Am” statements that Jesus uses to identify himself (8 if you count John 8:58). Each statement has strong connections with how the LORD is identified in the Old Testament. But, none is clearer than what Jesus says in John 10:30, “I and the Father are one.” Immediately after saying this the Jews pick up stones to stone him because he made a blasphemous claim. He was claiming to be God. Not a god or a created being, but to be one with God. This theology has been disputed for the past 2,000 years. The early church councils would debate over a one letter difference to describe Christ’s identity. Was he of the same substance as the Father? Or was Christ of similar substance as the Father? The difference in these two views is huge. To say Christ is of the same substance as the Father is to say that Jesus is in fact God. To say Christ is of similar substance to the Father is to say Jesus was created and is a god.

John’s purpose is that we would see who Christ is in his gospel account. I believe verses 1-18 in John 1 spell that out clearly. Jesus, who is the Christ, is God. He was with God in the beginning, not created. He is God. Same substance. Jesus Christ is the Word.

Here is a poem that D.A. Carson produced and spoke at a conference concerning The Word.

The Prologue

Before there was a universe,

Before a star or planet,

When time had still not yet begun —

I scarcely understand it —

Th’ eternal Word was with his God,

God’s very Self-Expression;

Th’ eternal Word was God himself —

And God had planned redemption.

The Word became our flesh and blood —

The stuff of his creation —

The Word was God, the Word was flesh,

Astounding incarnation!

But when he came to visit us,

We did not recognize him.

Although we owed him everything

We haughtily despised him.

In days gone by God showed himself

In grace and truth to Moses;

But in the Word of God made flesh

Their climax he discloses.

For grace and truth in fullness came

And showed the Father’s glory

When Jesus donned our flesh and died:

This is the gospel story.

All who delighted in his name,

All those who did receive him,

All who by grace were born of God,

All who in truth believed him —

To them he gave a stunning right:

Becoming God’s dear children!

Here will I stay in grateful trust;

Here will I fix my vision.

Before there was a universe,

Before a star or planet,

When time had still not yet begun —

I scarcely understand it —

Th’ eternal Word was with his God,

God’s very Self-Expression;

Th’ eternal Word was God himself —

And God had planned redemption.

 

2 thoughts on “Who Is He? The Word

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