The gospel of John identifies Jesus as the Logos, the “word” by which God made all things, a key theme that is explicated in the body of the book. In doing so, John does not engage in metaphysical speculation but builds on traditional ideas from the Hebrew Bible about how Yahweh created the universe and gave life through His spoken word.
Similarly, the letter to the Hebrews declares that the “ages have been fitted together by the word of God so that what is seen has not been made out of things which appear.”
Thus, John does not break new ground by declaring that God created all things by His word. What is new and revolutionary is his claim that this life-giving “word” has been “made flesh” and manifested for all to see in the man, Jesus of Nazareth – (Hebrews 1:1, 11:3).
For example, the Psalmist writes – “By the word of Yahweh were the heavens made, and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth… For he spoke, and it was done; He commanded, and it stood fast” – (Psalm 33:6-9).
And per the creation account in Genesis, Yahweh “formed the man from dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man becometh a living creature” – (Genesis 2:7, Hebrews 11:3).
In the Greek text, John’s opening clause echoes the first words of Genesis – “In the beginning.” And so, in Genesis, we read, “in the beginning, God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light.”
Likewise in the opening verse of John – “in the beginning, all things were made through him… In him was life, and the life was the light of men.” Just as His “breath” or “Spirit” gave life to Adam, so the “logos made flesh” is both living and life-giving.
Thus, God created all things by His “word.” And in John, we meet that “word” in the flesh and blood in the man, Jesus of Nazareth. “In him, the Word became flesh,” thereby revealing the glory of God to mankind.
In John’s writings, the term “flesh” is used in the sense found in the Hebrew Bible to refer to men in their weakened and mortal state. Thus, Jesus was a genuine human being who participated in the same mortal nature as the rest of humanity, and in him, the “word” and glory of God were and are manifested for all to see.
In the truest sense, he is the Logos, the “word of God.” And we find this idea expressed in several different ways elsewhere in the New Testament. For example:
- “Since the children are partners in flesh and blood, he also himself in like manner partook of the same, that through death, he might bring to nothing him that had the power of death, that is, the devil, and might deliver all them who through the fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage… Wherefore, it behooved him in all things to be made like his brethren that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God” – (Hebrews 2:14-18).
- “For we have not a high priest that cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but one that hath been in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin” – *(Hebrews 4:15).
- Unlike Adam, “he poured himself out, taking the form of a slave, being made in the likeness of men, and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, becoming obedient even unto death, yea, the death of the cross” – (Philippians 2:7-8).
This is why the “words” of Jesus are life-giving and determine whether a man receives “everlasting life.” He is not just another philosopher or religious teacher. In him, men hear and experience the very creative “word of God,” and they behold the glory of the living God. Jesus is the ultimate expression of the Creator of all things.
And “in him was life…the light of men.” That is, in the Logos, the “word made flesh,” the same “word” that created the Cosmos. Thus, just as God “makes alive,” so “the Son makes alive whom he wills,” imparting life where there is none.
And just as the spoken word of God quickened all creatures, so the words of Jesus are life-giving, a theme developed in the body of John’s gospel – (John 5:21, 8:12, 11:25):
- “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in me, even if he may die, he shall live… “I am the light of the world. He that follows me shall not walk in the darkness, but he shall have the light of the life.”
Men and women who heed his words inherit “everlasting life.” Just as Jesus declared, “He who hears my word and believes in Him that sent me, he has everlasting life, and has passed from death to life.” Every man who “keeps his word will not see death.” And those who are his true disciples will “abide in his word” – (John 5:24, 5:38, 8:31, 51).
Not only does his “word” give life, but more ominously, on the “last day,” it will judge the man who rejects his word. But if anyone loves Jesus, he will “keep my word, and my Father will love him.” His “word” is not his, but his Father’s, the One “who sent me” – (John 12:48, 14:23-24).
And the“word made flesh” is “full of grace and truth.” And not just more truth or the reaffirmation of the Mosaic Law. The Law was “given through Moses, but grace and truth came to be through Jesus.”
Thus, the fullness of God is revealed in His son, and the Father cannot be known apart from him – “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father but by me… From henceforth, you know him and have seen him” – (John 14:6-7).
There is no third way. All that God did in the past was in preparation for His full manifestation in His Son, the living Word. As Paul writes, he is the one in whom “all the fullness dwells bodily.” In him, all God’s promises find their “Yea and Amen.”