John 1:1-3, 14
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made… The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
Hebrews 1:2, 3
But in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe. The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word.
Those words are our signal that something great, mind-blowing, magical is about to happen. We hear the words, and we know what to expect. But really, the power is not in the words, is it? It’s just the signal for the trick about to come, the steps of which have been laid out oh so slyly up to that point of revelation.
But when John calls Jesus “the word”, when he describes the power and purpose of the word – creation of all things, radiance of God’s glory, redemption of man – these things reveal magic on an unmatchable scale. The word IS the trick, and one possibly that I will never completely get my head around. That Jesus, Creator of all things, Son of Almighty God, would sink to such depths as to “become flesh” and the humiliating, excruciating, wrongful death this would entail, just to give humanity a chance at reunion with God – moreover, a chance that would be thrown back in His face by many.
Much has been written about why John chose to use the word “word” (logos) to describe Jesus, and it links back to the prevalent philosophical ideas that were common at the time amongst the Greeks and Greek Jews. In a nutshell, Logos was considered the intermediary between a perfect, absolute God and matter (which was by nature evil, ie imperfect) that He could not interact with due to his perfection. Logos was the expression of God’s thoughts and purposes, a manifestation that was able to create the world and engage with it as God desired to but was unable to do.
But John only uses that school of thought as the platform from which to spring into uncharted, controversial territory – Logos, which was previously only an abstract concept, a philosophy, was personified in Jesus. “The word became flesh and lived among us for awhile.” Not only was Jesus a concrete being, he was one of their community, and therefore John and his compatriots got to see his glory first hand. But here’s where John gets really wild – he goes even further to say that the whole reason Jesus, Logos, came was to give everyone the ability to experience God’s glory. Logos = Jesus = Messiah. Believe in this person, this flesh and blood man, and you will gain an understanding and experience of God that years of theological/philosophical examination will never reveal.
History and philosophy aside, “word” naturally brings to mind communication. And communication springs from the desire or need to engage, to pass on a message. It doesn’t get much clearer than that. God desired to communicate a message to us, and he used Jesus to do it. And that message was simply:
“For God so loved the world…”
I think you know the rest.