It is exciting to begin a new sermon series. I hope you are as excited as I am to walk through the Gospel of John and “Behold the Lamb of God!” (John 1:36). As we learn about Jesus, I pray we would “believe…and that by believing you may have life in His name” (John 20:31).
John begins his presentation of Christ by writing, “In the beginning was the Word” (1:1). In doing so, John makes a clear connection with Genesis 1:1, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” Whereas, Matthew and Luke begin their Gospels around 4 BC with the birth of Jesus and Mark begins his Gospel around 26 AD with the ministry of Jesus; John begins His Gospel by going back to a time before time with the preexistence of Jesus. It is hard for us to fathom what life was like before time and space existed because we are bound by its limitations. We can only be at one place at one time. Time and space were created by God for us and will continue until Jesus’ return and establishment of “the new heavens and the new earth” (Rev 21).
The Word (Jesus) existed before creation and He has no origin of creation. This means that before the world was created, the Word existed. Jesus, Himself, said in His prayer: “Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was” (John 17:5). The Bible tells us that God did not create Himself because He is eternal. God always has and always will exist. The four living creatures testify to this truth continually: “Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God, the Almighty, Who was and Who is and Who is to come” (Rev 4:8). Isaiah 57:15 says that God “inhabits eternity.”
We know the Word exists forever, but what is the Word? The “Word” is translated from the Greek word Logos. What is Logos? D.A. Carson says,
In short, God’s ‘Word’ in the Old Testament is His powerful self-expression in creation, revelation, and salvation, and the personification of that ‘Word’ makes it suitable for John to apply it as a title to God’s ultimate self-disclosure, the person of His own Son.Pillar Commentary: John
Thus, the Word, according to the Believer’s Study Bible, is “the unique communication of God to man, which He accomplished in human flesh (14) through the Logos, Jesus, the Son of God.” The Word is Jesus.
The Word is Jesus and through the Bible we learn about Jesus’ full deity (Son of God) and perfect humanity (Son of Man). The Chalcedonian definition is helpful to get us to wrap our minds around this wonderful truth:
Therefore…we all unite in teaching that we should confess one and the same Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. This same One is perfect in deity, and the same One is perfect in humanity; the same One is true God and true man, comprising a rational soul and a body. He is of the same essence as the Father according to His deity, and the same One is of the same essence with us according to His humanity, like us in all things except sin.Council of Chalcedon
Donald Fairbairn said, “The Chalcedonian Definition seeks to affirm that the Son, who is fully equal to the Father, has genuinely become fully human without ceasing to be divine, in order to accomplish our salvation.”
With and Was
We are then told that “the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God” (1:1-2). How is it possible that the Word (Jesus) “was with God” and “was God”? This only makes sense if God is Trinity.
What is Trinity? A thorough definition is:
There is only one true and living God who exists eternally as three distinct persons – the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. The three persons exist as identically one, eternal, immortal, invisible, simple, incomprehensible, holy divine essence but relate to one another as distinct within the divine essence by eternal relations of origin and opposition.Systematic Theology 2 class notes SBTS
The diagram above is helpful to show the relations between the Persons of the Trinity (Father, Son, and Spirit).
Jesus is the Word (Son) of God who took on human flesh (Phil 2:7) to bring us salvation. We affirm Jesus’ full deity and perfect humanity as the Second Person of the Trinity and we deny any teaching that contradicts this. Our understanding of Jesus has to conform to the fact that before the universe was created He was with God and was God. Therefore, we deny the following heresies (underlined) about Jesus and affirm what is listed in parenthesis:
- Jesus is just a human being. (Jesus is more than a human, He is God with us – Is 7:14.)
- Jesus wasn’t really a human being. (Jesus didn’t just appear to be human, He took upon flesh and blood. He walked, sailed, slept, ate, cried, and bled.)
- Jesus is God the Father and the Holy Spirit. (Jesus is distinct from the Father and the Spirit – see Matthew 3:16-17 and the Trinity at work in Jesus’ baptism.)
- Jesus was created by God to be a demigod who helps humanity. (Jesus isn’t a god, He is Yahweh – see Isaiah 6:1-13 and John 12:37-41.)
- Jesus is one of three Gods mentioned in the Bible. (There is only one God – see Deuteronomy 6:4; 1 Corinthians 8:4.)
- Jesus is one-third God along with the Father and the Spirit. (Jesus is not part of God. Jesus is fully God along with the Father and the Spirit.)
Believe what the Bible teaches, even if it is hard to comprehend. Believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God and receive eternal life.