John’s gospel is the classic example of profundity wrapped in simplicity. In his opening chapter, John takes us all the way back to eternity past (In the beginning was the Word…), brings us to his present day (Behold, the Lamb of God…), and takes us to the future (Rabbi…thou art the King of Israel). What an opening.
John provides his stated purpose for writing later in the book (But these are written that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name…). The book is theological, yet practical. It has much for the scholar to contemplate, yet it nourishes the soul of the Christian in the pews.
John opens with the introduction to the Word – the Logos. The introduction of this Person has practical and personal implications for me today.
The Logos and His Design
The opening three verses hearken our attention back to the creation of the cosmos. Jesus, the Word, pre-existed the creation of the material universe. John identifies the Word, who would become flesh, as the God of Creation – the ultimate Designer.
The concept of Logos, the underlying term translated as Word is a theologically rich term. Scholars argue whether John was more influenced by the Hebraic or the Greek understanding of this concept. Philo, a hellenistic Jew roughly contemporary with John, found the concept of the Logos to be a helpful way to explain the means God used in both creating and governing the His cosmos.
Teasing out every possible meaning of Logos is behind the scope of this article. Suffice it to say, Logos carries the implication or Reason, Order, Design, and Authority. As such, certain implications begin to be observed from John 1.
- Jesus Christ is eternal God, a truth that is fundamental and essential to biblical orthodoxy.
- This Logos made “all things by him; and without him was not anything made that was made.”
- As Creator (with reason, design, order, and authority), the Logos created with a design in mind.
- This Intelligent Designer (the Logos, God incarnate) had a definite plan in mind.
- This Creator who created all things has left nothing to chance.
- This Creator has a plan for my life as well.
- The Logos has a “Designed Path” that is tailor-made for me.
- I can trust the Creator to lead me along these paths of righteousness.
The Logos and His Deployment
After John describes this Logos in John 1.1-5, verse 6 introduces a new character. John doesn’t identity this new character as God – he is distinct from the Logos. John states, “There was a man…” Further, he adds that this man was “sent from God,” as he begins to introduce to the readers the ministry of John the Baptist.
As we consider a man sent from God, we can picture John as being “deployed” by God to a specific place, with a specific message, and for a specific time. Knowing that the Logos is the Great Designer, and that He has a plan for my life, it is only reasonable to consider where He would “send” us. This provides further implications for our consideration:
- It is better to be sent by God than by churches, colleges, parents, or any other institution.
- If we know God has sent us, this provides authority for the message and confidence for the messenger (though we know this bold confidence can sometimes wane).
- God deploys us throughout His creation to a specific place, with a specific message, and for a specific time.
- Embracing God’s plan enables me to enjoy the abundant life He promised to bring.
- Regardless of the place or time, there is overlap of our message: We are His witnesses.
The Logos and His Declaration
The message of the Logos, as well as those He deploys, can be seen in verse 18. Jesus, the Logos made flesh, is the one who declares the Father to us. The word used here is the word from which we derive exegete | exegesis. Jesus is explaining to us who the Father is, He is describing the Father, declaring the Father – all with the intent to make Him known to us.
Again, this truth from the ministry of the Logos carries certain implications for us today.
- One of the greatest “Christ-like” (Christian) activities we can be involved in is making God known to those who know Him not.
- The manner in which we go about this endeavor is provided: with both grace and truth. We need them both. These two attributes aren’t competitive; they are complementary. Neither is to be viewed as mutually exclusive from the other.
- As we stand as His witnesses, to make this declaration known, we are reminded that a dark world “comprehends it not.”
- Thus, we must pray for God to take the gospel light to penetrate the dark hearts and live our lives in such a way that the light isn’t diminished.
The Logos came to earth. The implications of His presence are just as valid today. He is the Grand Designer who has a plan for each of us. He deploys us into a dark world at His discretion and according to His plan. While on deployment, our task is clear: We are to make God known.