In the Beginning was the Word (Part 1)
Before anything was created, Jesus was already eternally God the Son and with the Father
As we begin our journey together through the Gospel According to John, I want to ask that you prayerfully and attentively engage yourself. What I have in mind is that you would pray daily for these messages through John. Pray for my understanding and life change and I will pray for your understanding and life change. My prayer has been that God would remove the scales from our eyes as He did for Paul; that we would have any spiritual deadness brought to life, that He would give us ears that can hear and eyes that can see and minds that can comprehend the truths John presents. If God, through His mercy and grace, would grant us these things, our lives would never be the same again.
We must read John with two verses in mind…
John 20:30–31 (ESV)
30 Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.
We see the purpose in writing for John was that we would believe Jesus is the Messiah and the Son of God (literally Deity) and when we believe these things we will have life in His name. So, John teaches that there is no mystic event that will bring someone salvation. No vision or dream can save us. No, well God and I have an agreement or some foolish notion we often invent to try and justify ourselves. No, salvation only comes when we are confronted with the biblical Jesus Christ, the Son of God and believe. Only by faith or believing that Jesus is whom the Bible teaches that He is will we have life. Then, we must also conclude that to believe differently than what the Bible teaches is to be condemned to eternal hell with the rest of humanity that doesn’t believe. Salvation is not gained by being a good or nice person. Nice people who do not believe in the biblical Jesus will line the chasm of hell. Salvation comes as we believe what God tells us about Jesus and place our trust in Him alone…life in His name.
So, I think we can all so how important it is to go through this Gospel together. Some of us may discover we were looking to the wrong Jesus. Perhaps some will discover their Jesus is not the Jesus of the Bible. Some may discover they have NOT even been saved at all. Others who are truly saved, I pray will come to know Jesus in a much richer way and love Him more.
Our quest in this journey is not to simply look into John’s Gospel and find out something new or novel but use this Gospel as a lens to see the glory of God through the Word of God.
Remember Moses’ request in Exodus 33…
Exodus 33:18–20 (ESV)
18 Moses said, “Please show me your glory.” 19 And he said, “I will make all my goodness pass before you and will proclaim before you my name ‘The Lord.’ And I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy. 20 But,” he said, “you cannot see my face, for man shall not see me and live.”
Moses desired to see God’s glory but notice what God told Moses that He would show him…God said, I will make My goodness pass before you and My name will be proclaimed to you. God went on to say that no one could see His glory full measure and live.
I want to explain something of eternal significance to you…
Moses’ request to see God’s glory is answered in John’s Gospel as we see Jesus clearly through spiritual eyes.
John 1:14 (ESV)
14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.
Jesus is the answer to Moses’ prayers, the prayers of the prophets, and the prayers of all God’s OT saints. When they said show us more of Yourself, God…He answered by showing them and us, Jesus Christ.
Human Need Met
John 1:1–5 (ESV)
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. 4 In him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
In the Beginning was the Word
In the beginning was the Word
What John does here is quite simply profound. While Matthew and Luke trace their accounts of Jesus back to Joseph and Mary then to the patriarchs, John traces Jesus all the way back to before God created anything. He does this in order to show us that the Son of God existed before even creation existed. During the time (which is really wrong to say) of nonexistence the Son of God was present and had been present from all eternity going back.
In the beginning…
John opens his Gospel with the opening words of Genesis. Immediately we should be thinking the same beginning that Moses had in mind when he wrote the first words of Genesis.
Genesis 1:1 (ESV)
1 In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.
We learn from Genesis 1 that in or at the beginning God existed already because it was God who created all things in the beginning. Make no mistake that this phrase means at the point of the origin of all things…God. This shows us in three words that there was a point in time when there was nothing in the created order and then there was a time when God created all things and before this the Son of God already existed.
Philosophers, Astrophysicists and the like call this the first cause. God is the first cause. Before the first cause Jesus was. Before anything existed Jesus had already been here for all eternity.
Mark’s Gospel begins this way…
Mark 1:1 (ESV)
1 The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
While Mark begins at the beginning of Jesus’ ministry, John begins his Gospel before anything was created.
Who was in the beginning? God was. Only God existed, in the beginning. So when John tells us that the Word (capitalized) was in the beginning we must discover who this Word is?
What John has in mind is more than simply a word as we might think of something spoken. It is more fully meant to mean a message. We have examples of this in other places…
1 Corinthians 1:18 (ESV)
18 For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
Paul is not telling us that the word, cross is folly but that the message of the cross is folly to those who are perishing.
Jesus is God’s Word or His message to us. Being God’s Word, He also is the One who brings everything to life. When God spoke the world was created. His words caused creation and life. It must be understood here that the agent of creation is Jesus Christ, the Son of God. He is God’s creative Word. Have you ever thought of Jesus as the Creator of the universe?
Hebrews 1:1–4 (ESV)
1 Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, 2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. 3 He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, 4 having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs.
I pray our picture of Jesus Christ has just been expanded. He is the Word of God who brought everything into existence. Not only that but it is by the power of Jesus that the things brought into existence by Him continue to do what they’re supposed to do… he upholds the universe by the word of his power.
God through His Word spoke the Sun and planets into existence. The Sun keeps burning and planets keep rotating because of the power of Jesus. Even on a microscopic scale, atoms and electrons continue to work like they should because of the power of Jesus.
The OT prophets encountered God’s Word. So often when the Bible tells us the Word of the Lord came to the prophet saying…this too is to be understood as God’s creative Word being given to the prophet to speak to the Israelites.
In the Beginning the Word was with God
the Word was with God…. 2 He was in the beginning with God.
At times in the Bible the logos, word concept means message and then other times it means wisdom. Jesus is also the Wisdom of God…
Proverbs 8:22–31 (ESV)
22 “The Lord possessed me at the beginning of his work,
the first of his acts of old.
23 Ages ago I was set up,
at the first, before the beginning of the earth.
24 When there were no depths I was brought forth,
when there were no springs abounding with water.
25 Before the mountains had been shaped,
before the hills, I was brought forth,
26 before he had made the earth with its fields,
or the first of the dust of the world.
27 When he established the heavens, I was there;
when he drew a circle on the face of the deep,
28 when he made firm the skies above,
when he established the fountains of the deep,
29 when he assigned to the sea its limit,
so that the waters might not transgress his command,
when he marked out the foundations of the earth,
30 then I was beside him, like a master workman,
and I was daily his delight,
rejoicing before him always,
31 rejoicing in his inhabited world
and delighting in the children of man.
Not only was the Word the Agent of creation but He is also the Wisdom of God. When we think about God’s wisdom we must think at least in part of the Holy Scriptures.
The Word, Jesus Christ can and must also be understood as God’s Words of wisdom in the Bible which is also called the Word of God.
So, the Word is God’s ultimate self-expression. When God desired to speak to man He spoke in the OT through the Prophets who received the Word and then in the time of the NT, God’s self-expression comes to us as an incarnate or in fleshed Person, Jesus Christ.
This Wisdom of God manifested in His Word is none other than Jesus Christ. The Son of God at the time of the beginning was with God.
In the Beginning the Word was God
the Word was God.
For all eternity going backward and for all eternity moving forward, the Son of God has always been with God and has always been God.
The Word was God at the time the beginning began. There has never been a time when the Word of God was not God.
So we see the Doctrine of the Trinity.
The doctrine of the Trinity can be summarized in seven statements. (1) There is only one God. (2) The Father is God. (3) The Son is God. (4) The Holy Spirit is God. (5) The Father is not the Son. (6) The Son is the not the Holy Spirit. (7) The Holy Spirit is not the Father.
God exists in three persons but remains one God. D A Carson relays a story about discussing the Doctrine of the Trinity with a PHD Mathematician. This man said, so you believe 1+1+1 =1? Carson replied that it’s more closely like infinity + infinity + infinity = infinity
The Word Created All Things
3 All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.
Here, it is very clear that the Son of God has made or created all things. Jesus made everything that exists in the universe. We must qualify this by saying that everything was created by the Son except God who has always been.
We must not overlook the stress John places on Jesus as Creator. He says it two ways so that we’re sure to get it.
All things were made through Him
Without Him nothing was made that has been made.
Now, in three short verses we have had our view of Jesus expanded.
By giving us verses 1-3, John sets up two categories of distinction.
Things Not Created Category- In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God.
John has placed Jesus, the Word in the Not Created Category because he writes that Jesus was already in existence when the beginning began.
Things Created Category– he writes that the Word made or created all things. When he writes all things he means all things. Every single thing that exists has its beginning or origin in the Word.
These two categories are completely fixed and nothing can go from one to the other. Either someone or something is eternal and not created or it is finite and created by the Son of God.
As we begin to process these grand and inspiring truths we must quickly bring them to bear on our lives. What did John intend for us to do based on these three verse? Well first, as with the rest of the book, he wrote them to instill faith and life in His name. So, before anything can be different we must believe.
Specifically here, as we come to realize that Jesus is the Creator God who made everything, we should also understand that He, God the Son, made us.
Isaiah 43:7 (ESV)
7 everyone who is called by my name,
whom I created for my glory,
whom I formed and made.”
The Son of God made us with a specific purpose in mind, namely, that we would honor Him and bring Him glory. I pray that as His creation we are not viewing ourselves too highly or think that God exists for us. We belong to Him. He made us. I pray this sinks into our minds and hearts.
Next Lord’s Day I’m planning to cover John 1:3,4. What I’d like you to do this week is to read over verses 1-5 again. Here’s some detective work for you…
Based on John’s opening few words we are reminded of what OT Book? Where in that Book do we see the words Darkness, Light, and the concept of Life.
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.
Declaration of Grace
In the mercy and grace of Almighty God, Jesus Christ was given to die for us, and for His sake God forgives us all our sins. To those who believe in Jesus Christ He gives the power to become the children of God and gives to them the Holy Spirit. May the Lord, who has begun this good work in us, bring it to completion in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen
 John in the Pillar Commentary Series D A Carson
 Kevin DeYoung
 Sermon on John 1:1-2 by D A Carson