Christ the Word of God
© C. O. Bishop THCF 3/12/2017 Revised 2021
John 1:1-4, 14
Several years ago, I had begun a series in the Gospel of John. We didn’t get very far, but, as I was also teaching through the Life of Christ, in our adult Bible study at the time, the discontinuance didn’t bother me very much.
However, I think perhaps it would be good to revisit John’s Gospel and see what is there for us. In the synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke) the themes are different, and the Millennial Kingdom is mentioned frequently. John doesn’t spend much time on the Kingdom, nor even on the presentation of Jesus as the King, as Matthew did: John presents Jesus as God. We see the deity of Jesus more clearly there than in the other gospels.
One reason that is important to us, is that the Kingdom age (promised to the whole earth, but especially to the Jews) is not so much directed to the Church. Yes, we will be there, but every single member of the Body of Christ, the Bride, the Church, will already be in his or her new body. We will not be living as fleshly human beings anymore. We will enjoy the Kingdom from a different perspective. So, the Gospel of John is especially important for us to grasp, so that we begin to see who Jesus really is. Follow along in your Bible as we read John 1:1-4, 14.
John 1:1-4 “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by Him, and without Him was not any thing made that was made. In Him was life, and the Life was the Light of men.”
Throughout the Old Testament, the Word of God can be seen; constantly active in the World. The Word was not only present at the creation; the Word did the creating. God spoke the world into being. Hebrews 11:3 confirms this, saying that “…by faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the Word of God…” In Hebrews 1:2, we see that same Word identified as the Son of God. “…God has spoken to us by His Son…by whom also he made the worlds…”
So John was certainly not alone in labeling Jesus as the Word of God. Let’s look to the rest of the Bible, and see what John was talking about.
From the Beginning
In Genesis 1:1-3, ff, the description is very obscure—it simply states that God spoke, and the World was created. If we had no further revelation, we could not know that the Speaker was in fact God the Son. But with the additional knowledge of the New Testament, we can come back to re-examine the Old Testament, and see things not otherwise known. We can see not only that God created the World, but that he did so by the Word. We can see at the same time that the Spirit was hovering over the face of the deep…I assume that it means the whole face of the deep…so the omnipresence of God the Holy Spirit seems to be in view, as well as the absolute authority, the omnipotence of God, as one who can speak the world into existence. But in the same passage we see the Trinity, of course. Even the noun Elohim, simplytranslated “God,” is actually a plural noun, in Hebrew. (Not singular; not dual—plural. We don’t have many dual nouns, but Hebrew does, so a “plural noun” in Hebrew, means “three or more,” not “two or more” as in English.)
Whenever God has communicated with Man, at any level, the Word was involved. Sometimes obviously, as a Person, sometimes simply in the form of communication—but we see more and more clearly that the person of the Godhead who does the communication is none other than the Lord Jesus Christ, in virtually every case.
The Word was given, throughout the Old Testament, in the form of:
(Remember that ALL of these are revelations from God!)
In the Psalms, God’s Word was exalted as being:
- The cleansing power of God,
- The protection of God against sin,
- Guidance to the traveler
- Wisdom for living
- The comfort of the afflicted
- Food for the hungry
- Medicine for the sick, etc.
In fact, in Psalm 138:2, the psalmist makes the startling statement that “…Thou hast exalted thy Word above all thy Name”!
After all that has been said about the Name of God, and how holy and exalted it is, that we are not to use it inadvisably, never to take it in vain, etc., how is it possible that God can exalt His Word above even that Name? It is because the Word is the Person of Christ. The name that we had been given for God prior to the time of Christ has been lost, effectively—no one really knows now how it is to be pronounced, whether Yahweh, Jehovah, or otherwise; the true pronunciation has been lost, at least for now. But the Name of Jesus, regardless of language or pronunciation, has been given as the ONLY name “…under Heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) So the Name now exalted IS that of the Word of God—Jesus, The Son, the Lamb, The King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
As we move forward into the Gospel of John,we see John 1:14 “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of Grace and Truth.
Thus, in John 1:1-4, 14, together, we see clearly, for the first time, that the Word is also a Person. Jesus is the communication of God to Man. If we look back at the forms in which the Word was given, we can see that Jesus still is all those forms.
- Jesus is the historian: he tells us what really happened.
- Jesus is the Lord—He is the commander…he gave the command (John 13:34, 35) to Love one another. He also gave the command to preach the Gospel (Matthew 28:19-20; Mark 16:15).
- Jesus is the prophet—he has told us what is to come (Matthew 24; Mark 13, etc.)
- Jesus is the fulfillment of promise, as well as the giver of promises. (John 5:24)
- Jesus has given warnings to those who ignore His Word and his teachings. (John 3:18; etc.)
- Jesus offers encouragement to those who hear and believe, and obey. (John 14:1-4, 6, 21, 23, etc.)
- Jesus is the revealer, in the Book of the Revelation.(Revelation 4-22)
- Jesus is the final Judge of the whole world. (John 5:22; Matthew 25:31, ff; compare Revelation 20:11,12)
Further, we see that Jesus is the source of God’s Grace, in John 1:17, as well as God’s Truth. In fact, if I were to go back and compare all the things that God said about His Word, in the Psalms, I would find that they are all true of Jesus Christ. He is True, and Pure, and Holy. He is the light, and the cleansing power of God (by His blood, especially) and the guidance of God, the protection and comfort of God for us, as we are pilgrims on the way, and, truly the Wisdom and Power of God, according to 1st Corinthians 1:24.
So, what is the primary message God has communicated via Jesus? Interestingly, it seems to be encapsulated by the same Writer, John, in 1st John 1:5-10; 2:1, 2; 5:11-13)
- God is Light, and in Him is no darkness at all (1st John 1:5)
- If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in darkness, we are actually lying. (1st John 1:6)
- If we say we have not sinned, we are making Him a liar. (1st John 1:10)
- Jesus is the propitiation (The satisfaction of God’s righteousness) for our sins and for those of the whole world. (1st John 2:2)
- Eternal life is in the Son of God, given by the Father. (1st John 5:11)
- If you have the Son, you have Eternal life—if you don’t, you don’t. (1st John 5:12)
- God wants you to know that you have eternal life. (1st John 5:13)
What about the present, and the future?
Peter tells us 2nd Peter 1:19 that the Word is our ONLY source of light in this dark world. He says that, as we normally treat a light in a dark place (earnestly focusing our attention on what it reveals), so we should focus our attention on the written Word (the black-and-white revelation of Jesus) until the Living Word (the Daystar) arrives. We are not to turn aside to other guides, regardless of how attractive they may appear. Jesus is the Living Word, who is our light, our guide, our Savior, and our Master. We will either use his written Word as He has commanded through Peter, or we will effectively ignore His leading and His light. There is no mistake about the connection between the written Word of God and the Living Word, Jesus Christ. The connection is solid enough that I believe I can safely say that the way you respond to the Written Word will reveal the reality of how you respond to the Living Word.
Ultimately, the whole world will see Jesus as the Word of God. The Revelation shows him returning as a conqueror, and that his name is called “The Word of God”. On His thigh another title is emblazoned: “King of Kings, and Lord of Lords.” (Revelation 19:11-16)
How do you think you might respond to the sight of Jesus arriving as the conqueror, destroying his enemies, and rescuing the remnant of believers? Do you think you might feel at least a sense of awe? Or, maybe “stark terror” would be more accurate? Do you think you would have any trouble staying awake, for instance? Any trouble remembering whatever He happens to say—especially if it were said to you, personally? Bear in mind that this same Jesus that is coming with irresistible force and majesty, and destruction, as well as rescue, is the same one whose Word we have been “playing with” for the last however many years. Sleeping during Bible lessons (I have, too, don’t think I am pointing fingers…), and only vaguely able to recall what it was He said. And we don’t seem to be too terribly worried about it either. We feel a little guilty, and think, “I really ought to study the Bible, but, you know, I have a lot on my plate!” or, “I really can’t memorize things.” (If that is really true, then you need to treat the Written Word just as you do any other vital information that you have to know—read it often, and carry a copy of it with you for quick review.)
If Jesus is the message—the communication of God to you—how are you responding? Have you received the message at all? If so, are you still receiving it? We receive the message of Eternal Life by hearing and believing…that is the obedience required at that point. (John 6:28, 29) But those who believe the initial message are called to continue to respond to the message. Obedience to God’s Word is how we respond to the message of God. But Jesus said that those who KEEP his Word have a special relationship with God, and blessing added to their lives. (John 14:21-24)
What can you do to change?
Set a time during which you WILL be in the Word, daily—make an appointment, and keep it—God will be there, whether you are or not. (You keep human appointments regularly—why not keep one with God?) Set the clock and get up early, so you can read while it is still quiet. Begin with prayer…Confession is a good prayer to begin with, then cast yourself on God’s mercy, and look to Him to teach you as you read.
Take notes as you read. Choose a key verse to memorize, and write it out. Take it with you and review it often. Read for the purpose of seeing Jesus face to face. Search the scriptures for direction for your life. Look for tools to make it easier to explain the Gospel to others…scriptures that speak clearly to you, in your circumstances.
Psalm 119:9 asks, “How shall a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed thereto according to thy Word.” God’s Word is the ONLY thing he promises can change your life. The psalmist goes on to say, “Thy Word have I hid in mine heart that I might not sin against thee.” That could easily refer to memorization, but even memorization can potentially be just rote memory, with zero application. Meditation on the Word, and deliberately applying it your life is a necessary part of “hiding the Word in your heart”. Memorization is important too, but application is what changes lives.
In the end, what you do with the Word will be one of two things—you will either obey, or disobey. Consider who it is you are actually dealing with, and reconsider how you feel about obedience. Are your sins paid for? Yes. Are you free from condemnation? Yes. But how you affect those around you, and how you will feel when you see Jesus are both completely dependent upon your obedient response to His Word. Bear in mind that He is the Word, and the eternal Judge.
Make a commitment to change how you respond to the Living Word, and receive His eternal reward as a result. God’s blessing upon you as you seek to follow His Word, the Living Word of God—Jesus Christ.
Lord Jesus, open our eyes to see You, the Living Word, as we study the Bible, the Written Word. Help us to truly see it as or only source of light, and our only guide by which to travel. Give us a growing hunger for your Word and use it to transform our lives.