The Living Word

Jesus is the Word made flesh in whom the glory of God is revealed, the same word by which God created all things

The gospel of John identifies Jesus as the Logos, the “word” by which God made all things. This is a key theme that is explicated in the body of John’s book. And in doing so, he is not engaging in metaphysical speculation but building on traditional ideas from the Hebrew Bible about how Yahweh created the universe and gave life through His spoken word.

Similarly, the letter to the Hebrews declares that the “ages have been fitted together by the word of God so that what is seen has not been made out of things which appear.”

John 3-16 - Photo by wisconsinpictures on Unsplash
[John 3-16 - Photo by wisconsinpictures on Unsplash]

Thus, John does not break new ground by declaring that God created all things by His word. What is new and revolutionary is the claim that this life-giving “
word” has been “made flesh” and manifested for all to see in the man, Jesus of Nazareth - (Hebrews 11:3).

THE CREATION


For example, the Psalmist writes:

  • BY THE WORD OF YAHWEH WERE THE HEAVENS MADE, and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth For he spoke, and it was done; He commanded, and it stood fast” - (Psalm 33:6-9).

And per the creation account in Genesis:

  • Yahweh “formed the man from dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man becometh a living creature” - (Genesis 2:7, Hebrews 11:3).

In the Greek text, the opening clause of John echoes the first words of Genesis – “IN THE BEGINNING.” And soin Genesis, we read, IN THE BEGINNING, GOD SAID, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light.”

Likewise in the opening verse of JohnIN THE BEGINNING, ALL THINGS WERE MADE THROUGH HIM…  In him was life, and the life was the light of men. Just as His “breath” or “Spirit” gave life to Adam, so the “logos made flesh” is both living and life-giving.

And so, God created all things by His “word.” And in John, we meet that “word” in the flesh and blood in the man, Jesus of Nazareth. “In him, the Word became flesh,” thereby revealing the glory of God to mankind.

MADE FLESH


In John’s writings, the term “flesh” is used in the same sense as in the Hebrew Bible to refer to men in their weakened and mortal state. Thus, Jesus of Nazareth was a genuine human being who participated in the same mortal nature as the rest of humanity, and in this man, the “word” and glory of God are manifested for all to see.

In the truest and fullest sense, he is the Logos, the “word of God.” And we find this idea expressed in several different ways elsewhere in the New Testament. For example:

  • Since the children are partners in flesh and blood, he also himself in like manner partook of the same, that through death, he might bring to nothing him that had the power of death, that is, the deviland might deliver all them who through the fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage… Wherefore, it behooved him in all things to be made like his brethren that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God” – (Hebrews 2:14-18) 
  • For we have not a high priest that cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but one that hath been in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin” - *(Hebrews 4:15).
  • Unlike Adam, “he poured himself out, taking the form of a slave, being made in the likeness of menand being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, becoming obedient even unto death, yea, the death of the cross” – (Philippians 2:7-8).

And this is why the “words” of Jesus are life-giving and determine whether a man receives “everlasting life.” He is not just another philosopher or religious teacher. In him, men hear and experience the very “word of God,” and they behold the glory of the living God. Jesus is the ultimate expression of the Creator of all things.

New Life - Photo by RoonZ nl on Unsplash
[New Life - Photo by RoonZ nl on Unsplash]

For, “in him was life…the light of men.” That is, in the Logos, the “word made flesh” in Christ, the same “word” that created the Cosmos. Thus, just as God “makes alive,” so “
the Son makes alive whom he wills,” imparting life where there is none.

LIFE-GIVING WORD


And just as the spoken word of God created all things and quickened all creatures, so the words of Jesus are life-giving, a theme developed in the body of John’s gospel - (John 5:21, 8:12, 11:25):

  • I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in me, even if he may die, he shall live.”
  • I am the light of the world. He that followme shall not walk in the darkness, but he shall have the light of the life.”

Those who heed his words will inherit “everlasting life.” Just as Jesus declares, “He who hears my word and believes in Him that sent me, he has everlasting life, and has passed from death to life.” Every man who “keeps his word will not see death.” And those who are his true disciples will “abide in his word” - (John 5:24, 5:38, 8:31, 51).

Not only does his “word” give life, but more ominously, on the “last day,” it will judge the man who rejects his words. But if anyone loves Jesus, he will “keep my word, and my Father will love him,” for the “word” of Jesus is not his, but his Father’s, the One “who sent me” - (John 12:48, 14:23-24).

And the word made flesh” is “full of grace and truth.” And not just more truth or the reaffirmation of the Mosaic Law. The Law was “given through Moses, BUT GRACE AND TRUTH CAME TO BE THROUGH JESUS.”

Thus, the fullness of God is revealed in His son, and the Father cannot be known apart from him - “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one cometo the Father but by me… From henceforth, you know him and have seen him” - (John 14:6-7).

There is no third way. All that God did in the past was in preparation for His full manifestation in His Son, the living Word. As Paul writes, he is the one in whom “all the fullness dwells bodily.”



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