It is written:
And the Word became 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. (John 1:14)
One of the interesting titles of Jesus is the Logos. It is translated with the word “Word” in this passage. Barclay tells us about the etymology of this term:
“The Greek term for word is Logos; but Logos does not only mean word; it also means reason. For John, and for all the great thinkers who made use of this idea, these two meanings were always closely intertwined. Whenever they used Logos, the twin ideas of the word of God and the reason of God were in their minds….“We began by seeing that John’s problem was not that of presenting Christianity to the Jewish world, but of presenting it to the Greek world. How then did this idea of the word fit into Greek thought? It was already there waiting to be used. In Greek thought, the idea of the word began way back about 560 BC, and, strangely enough, in Ephesus where the Fourth Gospel was written…“The Logos was nothing less than the mind of God controlling the world and everyone in it. Once the Greeks had discovered this idea, they never let it go. It fascinated them, especially the Stoics. The Stoics were always left in wondering amazement at the order of the world. Order always implies a mind. The Stoics asked: ‘What keeps the stars in their courses? What makes the tides ebb and flow? What makes day and night come in unalterable order? What brings the seasons round at their appointed times?’ And they answered: ‘All things are controlled by the Logos of God.’ The Logos is the power which puts sense into the world, the power which makes the world an order instead of a chaos, the power which set the world going and keeps it going in its perfect order. ‘The Logos’, said the Stoics, ‘pervades all things….“Greek thought knew all about the Logos; it saw in the Logos the creating and guiding and directing power of God, the power which made the universe and kept it going. So John came to the Greeks and said: ‘For centuries you have been thinking and writing and dreaming about the Logos, the power which made the world, the power which keeps the order of the world, the power by which we all think and reason and know, the power by which we come into contact with God. Jesus is that Logos come down to earth.’ ‘The word’, said John, ‘became flesh.’ We could put it another way–‘The mind of God became a person.’” (William Barclay, The Gospel of John, Volume One (New Daily Study Bible) (The New Daily Study Bible Book 1), 35-42 (Kindle Edition); Edinburgh, England; Saint Andrew Press)
Notice several things with me about these facts.
First, notice the clear identification of the Logos with Jesus. We are told here that Jesus is indeed the Logos; and that by these facts, He is Himself God. . Yet John makes it clear also that while Jesus is God, He is not the same Person as God the Father.
John 1:1-In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
The Greek of this text is very enlightening.
“The English word “was” is about as bland a term as you can find. Yet in Greek, it is most expressive. The Greeks were quite concerned about being able to express subtleties in regard not only to when something thing happened, but how it happened as well. Our little word “was” is poorly suited to handle the depth of the Greek at this point. John’s choice of words is deliberate and, quite honestly, beautiful. Throughout the prologue of the Gospel of John, the author balances between two verbs. When speaking of the Logos as He existed in eternity past, John uses the Greek word rlv, en (a form of eimi). The tense’ of the word expresses continuous action in the past. Compare this with the verb he chooses to use when speaking of everything else-found, found, for example, in verse 3: “All things carne into being through Him,” eyeve ro, egeneto. This verb2 contains the very element missing from the other: a point of origin. The term, when used in contexts of creation and origin, speaks of a time when something came into existence. The first verb, en, does not. John is very careful to use only the first verb of the Logos throughout the first thirteen verses, and the second verb, egeneto, he uses for everything else (including John the Baptist in verse 6). Finally, in verse 14, he breaks this pattern, for a very specific reason, as we shall see. Why emphasize the tense of a little verb? Because it tells us a great deal. When we speak of the Word, the Logos, we must ask ourselves: how long has the Logos existed? Did the Logos come into being at a point in time? Is the Logos a creature? John is very concerned that we get the right answer to such questions, and he provides the answers by the careful selection of the words he uses. Above we noted that John gave us some very important information about the time frame he has in mind when he says “in the beginning.”.” That information is found in the tense of the verb en. You see, as far back as you wish to push “the beginning,” the Word is already in existence. The Word does not come into existence at the “beginning,”,” but is already in existence when the “beginning” takes place. If we take the beginning of John 1:1, the Word is already there. If we push it back further (if one can even do so!), say, a year, the Word is already there. A thousand years, the Word is there. A billion years, the Word is there.’ What is John’s point? The Word is eternal. The Word has always existed. The Word is not a creation. The New English Bible puts it quite nicely: “When all things began, the Word already was.” Right from the start, then, John tells us something vital about the Word. Whatever else we will learn about the Word, the Word is eter-nal.4 With this John begins to lay the foundation for what will come….“The next phrase of John 1:1 tells us something new about the Word. The Word is eternal, but the Word was not alone in eternity past. “The Word was with God (rtpbS toy 9e6v).” Yes, it is the same word “was,” again pointing us to an eternal truth. The Word has eternally been “with God.” What does this mean? Just as Greek verbs are often more expressive than their English counterparts, so too are Greek prepositions. Here John uses the preposition npoS (pros). The term has a wide range of meanings, depending on the context in which it is found. In this particular instance, the term speaks to a personal relationship, in fact, to intimacy. It is the same term the apostle Paul uses when he speaks of how we presently have a knowledge comparable to seeing in a dim mirror, but someday, in eternity, we will have a clearer knowledge, an intimate knowledge, for we shall see “face to (pros) face” (1 Corinthians 13:12). When you are face-to-face to-face with someone, you have nowhere to hide. You have a relationship ship with that person, whether you like it or not.5 In John I: 1b, John says the Word was eternally face-to-face with God, that is, that the Word has eternally had a relationship with God.” (James R. White, The Forgotten Trinity: Recovering The Heart Of Christian Belief, 50-52 (Kindle Edition); Minneapolis, Minnesota; Bethany House Publishers)
This is a powerful text reminding us of the Deity of Christ, while at the same time being an affirmation of the Biblical doctrine of the Trinity.
Second, this text reminds us about the beautiful fact of Jesus’ humanity. One of the names of Jesus is “Immanuel.”
Matthew 1:23-“BEHOLD, THE VIRGIN SHALL BE WITH CHILD, AND BEAR A SON, AND THEY SHALL CALL HIS NAME IMMANUEL,” which is translated, “God with us.”
Jesus is “God With Us.” What a beautiful assurance may be found in this Name of the Lord, the One Who became flesh and dwelt among us!
“Jesus, however, is the believer’s forever-present, always-engaged, infinite-in-understanding, limitless-in-power, boundless-in-love, and gracious-to-save God. No distant, aloof, inaccessible deity is our Jesus!…The very name Immanuel offers a fundamental assurance that believers need in every generation, in every life circumstance. No matter what is happening in this sin-filled world, God is still sovereign and will meet the needs of his people. Regardless of the plans formed against men and women of faith, the one in whom they have placed their faith is a promise-keeper who will never forsake them.” (Ruble Shelly, The Names Of Jesus, 12-14 (Kindle Edition); West Monroe, Louisiana; Howard Publishing Co., Inc.)
Third, consider that the Greeks had long understand through nature some very important facts about God and His Nature. They had many things correct religiously, which they learned from God’s revelation in the creation (Romans 1:18-20; Acts 14:17). There is much we can learn about God from the universe around us (cf. Job 12:7-10; Matthew 5:44-45). Often in the New Testament, the Apostles reference non-Christian works in order to build brindles to the unbelievers they came in contact with (cf. Acts 17:26-28; 1 Corinthians 15:33; Titus 1:12-13). We can adapt the same methods to teach our neighbors the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Finally, there is another beautiful thing about John’s use of the Logos of God that touches me deeply. We are reminded of the fact that God comes to us in the form that we are familiar with and that we need.
God Came To Abraham In The Form Of Travelers On A Journey (Genesis 18);
God Came To Moses In The Form Of A Burning Bush (Exodus 3);
God Came To Joshua In The Form Of A Warrior (Joshua 5);
God Came To Samuel And Elijah In The Form Of A Still Small Voice (1 Samuel 3; 1 Kings 18);
God Came To The People Of Israel In The Form Of A Loving Mother (Isaiah 49:16);
God Came To The Greeks In The Idea Of The Logos (John 1);
Do you see the pattern?
How blessed we are that God has come to you and I in the form of His Son.
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit, be with you all. Amen.