The Name: The Eternal Word (John 1:1; 14)
The Eternal Word (John 1:1; 14)
You might be thinking, the Word? Where in the world did the apostle John, the beloved disciple get that name? If this is your reaction, you are honest and scholarly. It takes
you seventeen verses to find the first explicit mention of the name Jesus or Christ.
Scholars have long investigated the background of the Word as a description of the Savior. If you are looking for supporting scriptures to aid your quest, you’re out of luck because Jesus as the Word only appears 4x in the NT. Three times in John 1:1 and once more in John 1:14. The fourth gospel makes the Word Christological, a new special name that reminds us of a special relationship. Names describe the relationship.
Where does the Word come from? We can immediately draw from the surrounding philosophical context. Greek philosophy, the Tom Brady of ancient rhetoric and logic, had a grounding principle called logos (the word). For the Greeks, logic was universal divine reason and transcended the cosmos and humanity. It is quite possible that John presented Jesus as the one who was greaterthan the universe and sovereign over humanity. And yet, The Greeks did not have a monopoly on the Word.
Throughout the Hebrew Bible, the Word had a prominent place in the work of Yahweh. In my view, logos was a bridge-word connecting people versed in secular philosophy to a holy reality.
In the OT, the Word shows up early and often. Gen 1:2 Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness covered the surface of the watery depths, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the surface of the waters. 3 Then God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. God created by His word, divine self-expression. This is why the heavens declare the glory of God (Ps 19) and why you are made in His image.
From the word of God, you were created, and from the breath of Yahweh, you become a living soul. The Word is Yahweh’s creative self-expression.
The Word is also God’s self-disclosure or his revelation. A hallmark of prophecy in the Hebrew Bible is an oft-repeated phrase, and the word of the Lord came to ____ saying. Jer 1:4 The word of the LORD came to me. The word of God throughout history is a reminder that the Lord wants to be known, and he wants you to know Him. God wants you to know his ways, paths that lead to life and human flourishing. God wants you to know righteousness, to run from sin, death, and harm, and find abundant life. More than anything, God, from the beginning, desired his people to know Him.
- What is the chief end of man? A. Man's chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever(Westminster shorter catechism). The Word is God’s revelation that you might know Him and enjoy Him forever.
But, there is one more wordy thread that runs throughout the Old Testament. Psalms 107:20 describes it in this way: He sent his word and healed them; he rescued them from their traps. The Psalms tie the Word of the Lord with the salvation of the Lord. If I’m honest, when I am in desperate need, I don’t want a word of God; I want his power and his salvation! But what if the Word of the Lord is salvation. For the Psalmist, all God had to do was say the word, and a person would be healed! The Word of the Lord is salvation.
Jesus is the self-expression of God. John says it this way, in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. No matter how far back you try to push your imagination, you will never find a moment when Jesus “was not.” Not only was Jesus the beginning, but he was continually with God and God’s own self!
Hebrews 1:33 The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact expression of his nature, sustaining all things by his powerful word. If you want to see the glory and the majesty of the Lord, look to Jesus. You can see his glory.
Jesus is the self-disclosure of God. The birth in a manger was the Lord’s formal birth announcement to the world, “come know me face to face.” The Lord, in His infinite wisdom, knew that the incarnation would be a warm invitation to abundant life. There is something about an infant that melts the hardest heart.
Can you imagine if the incarnation (1st coming) mirrored the second coming? To the shepherds: This will be a sign for you, you will find the baby wrapped in a manger and his eyes will be like flames of fire, and on his head will be many crowns, his robe will be dipped in blood, and his name is called the Word of the Lord (Rev. 19:12).
Jesus the Word is the Lord’s forever invitation that you can know Him personally. And when you kiss your little baby, You’ve kissed the face of God? Know Him personally.
Jesus is the salvation of God. To see his glory and to know him personally, you must first be made holy and declared righteous. This is the ultimate reason for God made flesh. You see, in the Word you find life, and that life was the light of men, and this light shines in the darkness.
Let’s go back to Psalms for a moment: He sent his word and healed them; he rescued them from their traps. John says it this way; God sent his Word to shine in darkness (to heal them.) Heal who? You. Jesus is the salvation of the Lord, for you, your darkness, your sin, your only hope.
Word – that’s Jesus. Healed them– that’s salvation. Traps – that’s sin, death, and hell.
As long as Christmas remains a cute little kid’s story, as long as Jesus remains the big man upstairs, and one who is checking his list seeing who is naughty or nice, your eternity and redemption hang in the balance.
“We are dealing with neither the reception of light nor who will and will not have a share in the light of life, but with the light that people need to live, whether they know it or not.” – Ridderbos
What you call someone describes your relationship.
Some call me coach Josh – soccer. Dr. Burnham – professor, academy. Burnham – high school sports/band. Pastor – shepherd/church. Juju – sister. Sweet thang – Casey. Daddy – son and daughter
In case we missed it: John 1:14 The Word became flesh and dwelt among us. We observed his glory, the glory as the one and only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.
When you look to Word, do you see the glory of the Father? Christmas calls you to glorify the Lord more and more.
When you look to Word, do you draw near to the Father? Christmas calls you to know him more and more.
When you look to the Word, do you find your salvation?
Old Doctor John Duncan taught Hebrew in Edinburgh long ago. He was sitting one day at the communion, and he was feeling so personally unworthy that when the elements came 'round, he felt he couldn't take them. He allowed the bread and wine to pass.
As he was sitting there feeling absolutely miserable, he noticed a young girl in the congregation who, when the bread and wine came 'round, also allowed them to pass, and then she broke down into tears.
That sight seemed to bring back to the old saint the truth he had forgotten. And in a carrying whisper that could be heard across the church, he was heard to say, "Take it, lassie, take it. It's meant for sinners." And he himself partook.
This is the message of Christmas; the Word became flesh and dwelt among us. Take the free gift of eternal life; it’s meant for sinners.