John 1:1-4

Devotional Reading from the Book of John

John 1:1-4

"In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God, and the Word was God."

John begins his gospel by pointing us back to the beginning to understand the present. In words that connect the reader to Genesis 1, John begins with the statement, "In the beginning." Matthew and Luke start the story of Jesus with His birth. Mark focuses upon the start of the public ministry of Christ. But John takes us back to the beginning of time. But not only does he start with creation, he places Jesus at the event as the channel through which the Father was working.

By referring to Christ as the "Word," John draws our attention to the crucial understanding of the person and ministry of Christ. First, he connects Jesus to the work of creation. In Genesis 1, we read that creation does not exist by some evolutionary change or cosmic explosion. Instead, the universe originated (the word "beginning" means origin) with God's spoken word. God merely spoke, and creation existed. While both the Father and the Spirit are specifically mentioned in Genesis 1, John draws our attention to the presence of Christ as well. By referring to Jesus as the Word, John thus connects points out that Jesus was the channel or means by which the Father created the universe. Paul further highlights this in Colossians 1:16-17. By Him, all things were created, and He is the one who sustains all things. Christ is the originator of life, and He maintains the existence of all things. The world and the history of humanity will not end because of global warming, nuclear apocalypse, a collision of an asteroid with the earth, or the uncontrolled onslaught of a pandemic. It will end when Christ brings history to a close.

Secondly, by connecting Christ to the beginning, John emphasizes the deity of Jesus. In words that highlight both the distinction of personalities within the Godhead as well as the intrinsic unity of the Trinity, John points out that Jesus was with God (implying His distinction from the Father), and He is also God himself (pointing to the unity of essence within the Trinity). Jesus was more than just the Messianic King coming to fulfill the Old Testament prophecy. He is the God Himself coming in the flesh.

Third, because Jesus was present in creation and the one through whom creation was achieved, He is the source of life for all creation and humanity. He is the giver of life and the sustainer of life. We exist today, not because of the laws of nature or the scientific achievements of humanity to manipulate life. We exist both from the beginning and in the present by the power and person of Jesus. However, this life moves beyond the physical to the spiritual as well. The light to which John refers is not just the existence of the Sun, the moon, and the stars. It refers to our spiritual life and salvation.

This view of Jesus serves to govern the rest of the book of John and our understanding of Jesus. Jesus is our life in the fullest and truest sense of the word.

It is easy to become fearful of the future as we read the news. But we do not need to live in fear, for Christ is the one who sustains not only our life but the existence of the whole universe. The baby born in the manger and the sacrificial lamb that dies on the cross is the creator and sustainer of all life so that we can rest in Him. So today, when fears and anxieties begin to mount, rest in the Word.

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