In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
Remove the gentle shepherds, the three kings or wise men, the cosmic choir that announced Jesus’ arrival, the bright star in the eastern sky, and the little town of Bethlehem that it shined over. Then remove the manger scene along with its spotless animals, the manicured feeding trough where the precious baby lay, and say good-by to the innkeeper, census taker, Mary, Joseph, and the little drummer boy. Then you have the Christmas story according to the Book of John.
This is the essence of the Christmas story. The expression of God, a word spoken from heaven to the earth, and God became man. It happened in the same instant of time it took for God to speak all that is in existence.
John begins his narration of the Christmas story with a simple yet profound phrase, “In the beginning was the Word.” Know where that same line is expressed? In the Book of Genesis, chapter one, verse one. “In the beginning (was) God…”
We have also been gifted with the unique capacity to use signs and symbols, sounds and touch, and even silence, to communicate with one another. Words are power. Words can fulfill or diminish, hurt or bless, build up or tear down. They can be tender and affirming, or angry and destructive.
Words uttered without meaning are simply sounds, just empty noises. However, when made with intent and purpose, they become expressions. A word is far more than a mere sound hanging in the air. It is an extension of the one who spoke it. When John speaks of “the Word,” he takes us far beyond the general meaning. He is telling us that Jesus is the very expression of God in human form.
John’s readers are both Hebrews and Greeks. For the Greeks, the Semitic root for “word,” dabar, also meant “action.” It was an “irrevocable act.” A word spoken was a happening. Once it had been uttered, it could not be separated from the purpose in which it was used.
“In the beginning was the Word.” The term used in Genesis for the advent of creation is ròsh or rèshìyth, (Hebrew), meaning, the start, the first order, first things. The term in John is arché (Greek), meaning, at the corner, where all things converge, the first of all things.
The Book of Genesis tells us how all things came into being, and the Book of John tells us why. “The Word was with God.” Jesus was where all things began before they began. While the Old Testament tells us where and how all things came, the New Testament tells us where and why all things came. Jesus is where all things converge. He is the chief “Corner Stone”.
Read the Book of John from a simple perspective, as though you just received a letter from a friend who wants to tell a story that will change your life. Try to look past the titled chapters and verses and look at it as a simple letter from a friend. Don’t study it, just read it. I promise it will affect your heart. Then read the rest of God’s letters to you in the same way. It is not only refreshing, it’s informative and constructive.
Remember, the scriptures are more than mere instructions, they are love letters.
Until next time,