He is the Eternal Word
He existed with God at the beginning, not because He was created then, but because He is eternal. The word “was” in the first verse in the imperfect tense, which focuses on continual existence in past time. In contrast with the aorist tense in v. 3 talking about something that happened once in the past.
This echoes Jesus very claim about Himself (John 8:48-58). In response to the Jews asking about Jesus casting out a demon, Jesus said that Abraham would have rejoiced to see His day. When they challenge Him, He responds with “before Abraham was, I AM.”
John is here, telling us exactly who the Word was. There is no clearer verse than this on the Divinity of Jesus. This verse had to be rewritten the Jehovah Witness bible to say was “a god” because they do not believe Jesus is God. The fact that Jesus was God makes it so that the eternal punishment of our sin could be paid. Only the blood of the Eternal Son of God could pay the eternal price of the sin of mankind. Only God could fulfill the entire law.
Because Jesus is Eternal, we can believe that we’ll have a future in Heaven for Eternity. We can believe His promise of Heaven because He has and will live forever! Jesus’ love for us should motivate us to obey Him.
He is the Creative Word
One of the most interesting things that I saw when reading this again was the parallel between this passage and the Creation narrative in Genesis 1:
- Genesis 1:2 – the Earth was without form and void and was in darkness
- John 1:4-5 – In Him was life, the light of men, and that light shone in the darkness which did not comprehend it.
Nothing was made without Him. When God speaks about making man in His (plural) image, Jesus is there. Nothing was made without Jesus. The Spoken Word brought all things into existence. In Genesis 1:3, God speaks things into existence. God shows the power of His spoken Word, which testifies to the power of the Living, Creative Word!
Devotions this week we were in Numbers 11. One of my favorite verses is where the children of Israel are complaining about manna. Moses wants someone else to deal with them, and God promises so much meat that they will be sick of it. Moses questions whether they will have to kill all the stock, and figures that wouldn’t be enough. God asks Moses whether His hand has been shortened—and tells Him to stand back and see what will happen.
We need to remember who Jesus is when we think about the trouble in our lives. When we complain about our situation (our house, our possessions, etc) we are complaining to God about what He has blessed us with. When we don’t bring Him our requests, or we think that nothing can be done, we are claiming that the Creative Word is unable to do something about our temporal situation.
He is the Incarnate Word
He was not a phantom, spirit or illusion. This was not like other Christophonies. While many believe that Jesus appeared throughout the Old Testament, He would come and go. In this case, He was born, lived, died and rose again. Without Him being fully man, He could not sacrifice Himself for us.