In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
It’s interesting in comparing the beginning of John’s gospel to the beginnings of the other three.
Mark’s gospel begins with the ministry of John the Baptist as the one who points to Christ.
Luke’s gospel goes back further with the birth of John the Baptist and the birth of Jesus.
Matthew’s gospel goes back further still to the family line of Jesus and takes us back to Abraham, back to the beginning of God’s covenant with his people.
John’s gospel goes back even further, back to the very beginning, back to eternity.
It’s the same way in which the Bible opens up, the first words in Genesis are: in the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. (Genesis 1:1)
John starts with: in the beginning was the Word.
Now, it’s interesting that John says “the word.”
He doesn’t say “in the beginning was Jesus” or “in the beginning was the Christ” or “in the beginning was the Lord” but “in the beginning was the Word.”
But, in the beginning was the Word.
Why use the word Word?
Borrowing an idea from D.A. Carson in his commentary on John.
From the beginning of the Bible, we see references to God’s word. God is a talking God. He speaks in Genesis. “Let there be light,” and the text says “and it was so.”
God calls things into being by the power of his word, and what he calls into existence exists.
Psalm 33:6 says: By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, and by the breath of his mouth all their host.
God’s word is attached to deliverance.
We see God’s word in his covenants and promises. Genesis 15:1: After these things the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision: “Fear not, Abram, I am your shield; your reward shall be very great.”
The word of the Lord is mentioned numerous times in the Bible with respect to divine revelation given to prophets. Both Jeremiah and Ezekiel say “the word of the Lord came to me.”
The Word of the Lord is seen as a key to truth and enlightenment.
Psalm 119:105: Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.
And we could go on and on and on. There is power in the word of God.
Given that in the Old Testament, God’s word is tied to creation, salvation, healing, and deliverance, the incarnation of Jesus is God’s greatest and most spectacular form of expression to the world. The Word is an appropriate title for Jesus because it is through this Word that we have ultimate truth, eternal life, future hope, assurance of God’s promises, and God’s greatest revelation of himself to the world.
And we learn from our passage this morning that this Word was in the beginning.
This Word is not some abstract idea or force. This Word exists.
“And the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”
But just to sum up what verse 1 is saying is that Jesus is eternal, he has always existed in fellowship with God, and that he himself IS God. That’s really the major theme of John’s Gospel. Jesus is the Lord.
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This post is part of a series in studying the Gospel of John. Recommended resources: Carson, D. A. (1991). The Gospel according to John (pp. 113–117). Leicester, England; Grand Rapids, MI: Inter-Varsity Press; W.B.