“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.” John 1:1–5
(Note: Because of the length of the book of Psalms I’ve decided to handle it in sections rather than all at once. I plan to return for the second section of the book of Psalms after completing the Gospel of John. )
Many people have wondered why John chose, in the first three verses of his gospel, to refer to Jesus, the incarnate Son Of God, as the Word. Was he just being poetic or was there a deeper significance to this reference?
Long before the New Testament era ancient Jewish scholars recognized that there is a logical difference between the omnipotent, infinite, all knowing God and even his communication of himself to us through the limitations of language and all other communication mechanisms. Their thought was that basically God is limitless in every way and everything else is limited in every way.
To solve this logical conundrum Jewish scholars came up with the concept of “God’s word”, in the Hebrew and Aramaic their word for “the word” was memra, and in Greek it was logos. The concept of “the word” recognized the authority of divine communication while at the same time recognizing the inherent limitations of the method of communication. God through his word may raise our thoughts of him, his works, and his ways to the heights of the hills, the tops of the mountains, or even the stars but even at this the reality of who he is is far beyond us.
In his book, Answering Jewish Objections To Jesus, Vol. 2, Dr Michael Brown points our that in the Aramaic versions of scripture commonly read in the synagogues during the time of Jesus this concept of “the word” was utilized and the patriarchs Noah and Jacob are described making vows and covenants with “the Word of the Lord.”
So when John refers to Jesus as “The Word” what he’s saying is that in Jesus God has become more than merely a human being. He is limitless God clothed within the limitations of human flesh yet still retaining his divine limitlessness. While having been fashioned into the form of man he is still fully and completely God. He is in fact God most complete expression of himself as “The Word.”
Why would Christ do this? Because he loves us. To help us know him and the Father. So that he could suffer and die to pay the penalty for our rebellion.
God took upon himself all our limitations, yet without sin, so that you and I could be lifted out of our sin and drawn closer to his limitlessness.