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Bible Basics: Christ's Place In God's Plan

"In the beginning was the word"

The Real Christ:

“In the beginning was the word”

"The word was with God"

"The word was made flesh"

“The word was God”

“All things were made by him”

How Was The Logos / Word Made Flesh?

 

 

 

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John 1

CHAPTER 1
Prologue: The word becomes flesh
In the beginning was the word {logos}, and the word was towards God, and the word was Divine. 2 This existed, in the beginning, with God. 3 All things created came into existence on account of it; and without it nothing created came into existence. 4 In it was life, and that life was the light of men. 5 This light shines in the darkness, but the darkness cannot understand it.
   6 It happened that a man of God was sent. His name was John. 7 This one came as a witness to testify about the light, so that all might believe in the light. 8 John was not the light, but was sent that he might testify concerning the light- 9 the true light, who by coming into the world enlightens every man.
   10 He was in the world, and though the world had originated on account of him, the world recognised him not. 11 He came to his own people, and they of his own people rejected him. 12 But whoever accepts him, those who believe in his name, to them he gave the right to become children of God. 13 These were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. 14 For this, the word became flesh, and indwelt among us (and we beheld his glory, the glory of the only begotten from the Father), full of grace and truth.
   15 John testifies of him and cries out, saying: This was he of whom I said: He that comes after me is ranked above me! For he was senior to me.
   16 Of his fullness we all received, with grace upon grace. 17 For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, he has made Him known.

The ministry of John
19 And this is the witness of John, when the Jews sent from Jerusalem priests and Levites to ask him: Who are you? 20 He confessed, he did not deny, but confessed: I am not the Christ! 21 And they asked him: What then? Are you Elijah? And he said: I am not. Are you the prophet? And he answered: No. 22 They replied to him: Who are you? Give us an answer to take back to those who sent us. How do you describe yourself? 23 John replied in the words of Isaiah the prophet: I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness: Make straight the way of the Lord.
   24 These priests and Levites had been sent from the Pharisees. 25 Again they asked him: Why then do you baptize, if you are not the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the prophet? 26 John answered: I baptize in water; but in the midst of you stands one whom you do not know. 27 He that comes after me, his shoelace I am not worthy to untie. 28 This incident took place in Bethany on the other side of the Jordan, where John was baptizing.
   29 The next day he saw Jesus coming towards him, and he said: Behold! The Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world! 30 This is he of whom I said: After me comes a man who is ranked above me. For he was senior to me. 31 I did not perceive him, but so he should be made manifest to Israel, for this reason I come baptizing in water.
   32 And John testified, saying: I have beheld the Spirit descending as a dove out of heaven, and it remained upon him. 33 I would not have perceived him except He that sent me to baptize in water, He had said to me: Upon whomsoever you shall see the Spirit descend and remain upon him, the same is he that baptizes in the Holy Spirit. 34 I have seen and have testified that this is the Son of God.
   35 The next day John was standing with two of his disciples. 36 And he watched Jesus as he walked and said: Behold! The Lamb of God! 37 And the two disciples, hearing him speak, followed after Jesus. 38 Jesus turned around, and observing they were following him, said to them: What do you seek? And they replied: Rabbi (we would say Teacher). Where are you staying? 39 He said to them: Come, and you shall see. They went therefore, and saw where he stayed; and they stayed with him that day. It was about the tenth hour.

The calling of the disciples
   40 One of the two that had heard John and had followed Jesus was Andrew, Simon Peter's brother. 41 The first thing he did was to find his brother Simon; and he said to him: We have found the Messiah (we would say Christ). 42 He took him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said: You are Simon the son of John. You shall be called Cephas (we call him Peter).
   43 The next day Jesus decided to go into Galilee; and he found Philip. Jesus said to him: Follow me. 44 Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. 45 Philip found Nathanael and said to him: We have found him, of whom Moses in the law and the prophets wrote! Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph. 46 And Nathanael said to him: Can anything good come out of Nazareth? Philip said to him: Come and see. 47 Jesus saw Nathanael coming towards him, and said of him: Behold, a true Israelite in whom is no deceit! 48 Nathanael said to him: How is it you know me? Jesus answered: Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you. 49 Nathanael answered him: Rabbi, you are the Son of God. You are King of Israel. 50 Jesus replied: Because I said to you: I saw you underneath the fig tree- do you believe? You shall see greater things than these! 51 And he said to him: Truly, truly, I say to you. You shall see the heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.

Commentary

"The Word" cannot refer directly to a person, because a person cannot be "with God" and yet be God at the same time. The Greek word 'logos' which is translated "word" here, does not in itself mean 'Jesus'.
It is usually translated as "word", but also as:-
• Account • Cause • Communication • Doctrine • Intent • Preaching • Reason • Saying • Tidings

'Logos' can strictly refer to the inner thought which is expressed outwardly in words. In the beginning God had this 'logos'. This singular purpose was centred in Christ. Christ in person was not "the word"; it was God's plan of salvation through Christ which was "the word". 'Logos' ("the Word") is very often used concerning the Gospel about Christ - e.g. "the word of Christ" (Col. 3:16; cp. Matt. 13:19; John 5:24; Acts 19:10; 1 Thess. 1:8).

Notice that the 'logos' is about Christ, rather than him personally. When Christ was born, this "word" was turned into a flesh and blood form - "the word was made flesh" (John 1:14). Jesus personally was 'the word made flesh' rather than "the word"; he personally became "the word" through his birth of Mary, rather than at any time previously. The plan, or message, about Christ was with God in the beginning, but was openly revealed in the person of Christ, and the preaching of the Gospel about him in the first century. Thus God spoke His word to us through Christ (Heb. 1:1,2); he thereby fulfilled the prophecy concerning himself, "I will open my mouth in parables; I will utter things which have been kept secret from the foundation of the world" (Matt. 13:35). It was in this sense that "the word was with God...in the beginning", to be "made flesh" at Christ's birth.

"The Word Was God"
Our plans and thoughts are fundamentally us. "As (a man) thinks in his heart, so is he" (Prov. 23:7), and as God thinks, so is He. Thus God's word or thinking is God: "the word was God". Because of this parallelisms like Ps.29:8 are common: "The voice of the Lord shakes the wilderness; the Lord shakes the wilderness". Because of this, God's Word is spoken of as if it is God Himself. Thus we are told concerning the Word, "All things were made by Him" (John 1:3). However "God created" all things by His word of command (Gen. 1:1). It is evident from Gen. 1 that God was the Creator, through His word, rather than Christ personally. It was the word which is described as making all things, rather than Christ personally (John 1:1-3). "By the word of the Lord were the heavens made; and all the host of them (i.e. the stars) by the breath of his mouth... he spake, and it was done" (Ps. 33:6,9). God's word being His creative power, He used it in the begettal of Jesus in Mary's womb. The Word, God's plan put into operation by His Holy Spirit (Luke 1:35), brought about Christ's conception. Mary recognized this in her response to the news about her forthcoming conception of Christ: "Be it unto me according to Your word" (Luke 1:38). When Christ was born, all of God's Word/Spirit was expressed in the person of Jesus Christ.

Footnote: "In the beginning was the Word" probably comments on the Jewish concept that the Torah (the five books of Moses) existed before creation. Jn. 1:1-3 is saying that the important thing to appreciate is that those words of God prophesied about Jesus; God's plan about him existed before creation (cp. Lk. 1:70).