Life-Giving Word

The Gospel of John identifies Jesus as the Logos, the “Word” by which God made all things, a key theme explicated in the body of John’s book. In doing so, he does not engage in metaphysical speculation but builds on traditional ideas from the Hebrew Bible describing how Yahweh created the universe and gave life through His spoken word. John was not breaking new ground. What was revolutionary was his claim that this life-giving “Word” has become “flesh” and manifested for all to see in Jesus, the man from Nazareth.

For example, the Psalmist wrote, “By the word of Yahweh MADE the heavens, 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.”

Forest Flowers - Photo by John Mccann on Unsplash
[Photo by John Mccann on Unsplash]

Moreover, per the creation account in the
Book of Genesis, God “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, Psalm 33:6-9, Hebrews 11:3).

In the Greek text of John’s Gospel, the opening clause echoes the first words of Genesis – “In the beginning.” Likewise, in Genesis, we read, “in the beginning, God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light.”

As John declared, “in the beginning, all things were made through him…  In him was life, and the life was the light of men. Just as God’s “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,” His Logos, and in John, we meet that “word” in the flesh-and-blood man, Jesus. “In him, the Word became flesh,” thereby revealing the glory of God to all humanity.

MADE FLESH


In John’s writings, the term “flesh” is used in the sense found in the Hebrew Bible to depict man in his weakened and mortal state. Thus, Jesus was a genuine human being who participated in the same mortal nature as all other men.

In the truest sense, he was and is the Logos, the “word of God.” We find this idea expressed in several 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 bondageWherefore, 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.

The Nazarene is the ultimate expression of the Creator of all things, and just as God “makes alive,” so “the Son makes alive whom he wills,” imparting life where there is none.

LIFE-GIVING WORD


Just as the spoken word of God quickened all creatures, so the words of Jesus give life and quicken all men who believe in him, 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 who heed his words inherit “everlasting life.” 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).

However, not only do his words give life, but more ominously, they will judge the man who rejects them on the “last day.” If anyone loves Jesus, he will “keep my word, and my Father will love him.” His “word” is not his, but the Father’s, the One “who sent me” - (John 12:48, 14:23-24).

Moreover, the word made flesh” is “FULL of grace and truth.” Not just more truth or the reaffirmation of the Mosaic Law, but grace and truth in all their fullness such as no man saw before the arrival of the Son of God. The Law was “given through Moses, but grace and truth came to be through Jesus.”

Hence, 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 the full manifestation of His glory, truth, and grace in His Son. As Paul wrote, he is the one in whom “all the fullness dwells bodily,” and all God’s promises find their “Yea and Amen” in Jesus of Nazareth.



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