An image of a sunrise over a calm lake.

John’s Gospel begins by calling Jesus the Logos (LO-gos), the “Word.” Though Logos was a term used in Greek philosophy, John’s usage differs from the Greek sense. Rather than referring to a rational principle or an impersonal force, John uses Logos to represent the One who created the universe simply by speaking it into existence. While the Hebrew prophets merely spoke God’s word, John depicts Jesus as the one who is God’s dynamic, creative, life-giving Word.

Furthermore, John says, “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us” (John 1:14). The Greek for “made his dwelling” is linked to the word for “tent” or “tabernacle.” Jewish readers would have immediately recognized this as a reference to the Tent of Meeting, in which God’s glory dwelt prior to the building of the temple in Jerusalem. Jesus, the Word made flesh, became a man so that through his life we could perceive God’s glory. As Logos, or “the Word,” everything about Jesus—his teaching, miracles, suffering, death, and resurrection—speaks to us of God.

We are to respond to Jesus, the Word, with both faith and faithfulness, reproducing Christ’s life so that the Word may become flesh in us.

Praying to the Word

I have always been fascinated by the opening words of John’s gospel, but I did not begin to suspect how fascinating they are until I began delving into what it means to call Jesus the Word.

The first two verses of this gospel link Jesus with Genesis 1—to the beginning of creation. Interestingly, Genesis doesn’t say that God dreamed the world into being or that he thought it into being. Nor does it tell us he somehow conjured it. No, it says God spoke the world into being. Here’s how Genesis 1:3 expresses it: “Then God said, ‘Let there be light!’ So there was light.”

Over and over, it is the same formula. God speaks and something is created—light, water, land, seed-bearing plants, fruit-bearing trees, a sky full of stars, sea creatures, birds, people, and beasts, wild and tame. According to Genesis, a lush, abundant world sprang up when God spoke.

Now let’s look at what happened when Jesus spoke:

Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm. (Matthew 8:26, NIV)

Then he said to the paralyzed man, “Get up, pick up your stretcher and go home. So the man got up and went home. (Mathew 9:6-7)

Jesus ordered the spirit, “Keep quiet, and come out of him!” The evil spirit threw the man into convulsions and came out of him with a loud shriek. (Mark 1:25-26)

Jesus took her hand and called out, “Child, get up!” She came back to life and got up at once. (Luke 8:54-55)

Over and over, Jesus speaks a word and things happen–a storm is calmed, a lame man walks, a demon flees, and a child is raised from the dead. Could it be any clearer? God’s Word is what brought the world to life. When the world became marred and distorted by sin, the Word became flesh in order to dwell among us so that he could begin to reshape creation, restoring it to God’s original purpose.

What word has Christ spoken to you, lately? Your sins are forgiven;  Sell your possessions, and give the money to the poor; Don’t be afraid you are worth more than many sparrows; Go and make disciples of all nations? Whatever Christ is saying, let his word grow big in you, bigger than the noise of all the other words that threaten to smother your faith. For God is at work, recreating you and the world that he has made through the power of the Word.

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