A Shocking Declaration

John 1:14 “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”

The opening to John’s gospel was like a bomb that rippled across the land. What many have considered only poetic manifestations of a greater truth, the revelation of Christ to the world was a veritable manifesto, bridging two worlds into one greater understanding of who God is, was, and is to come.

The opening statement of John’s gospel was a declaration of sorts and served to give notice to both Jews and gentiles regarding the events of Jesus’ life that had recently transpired. Original jewish readers would have had a mind toward Old Testament truth, while the gentiles would have been familiar with Greek culture and the influences founded many years prior.

The only way John could have written such a perfect work was through the inspiration of God Himself.

John 1:1 “In the beginning was the Word(logos), and the Word(logos) was with God, and the Word(logos) was God.”

For the Jews, the parallel to Genesis 1:1 would have been immediately recognized. “In the beginning God created the Heavens and the Earth“, in John’s opening discourse he revealed the nature of who Jesus was…God in the flesh.

Promises

To most Jew’s of the first century the single most important event in the history of Israel would have been the Exodus.

Embedded deep within Jewish teaching was the unshakeable confidence that the Exodus, more than any other episode in the nation’s history, became the visible pattern for Yahweh’s ongoing redemptive activity among his people.

No doubt, the Jew’s believed that God’s original promise to deliver them from the hand of the Egyptians and establish them in the promised land as His own people was an ongoing expectation.

With the advent of Jesus as the Messiah, no other event in history proved the Old Testament promises had been linked to New Testament fulfillment.

Genesis 12:2-3 “I will make you a great nation;
I will bless you
And make your name great;
And you shall be a blessing.
I will bless those who bless you,
And I will curse him who curses you;
And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”

The promises God gave to Abraham resonated through generations of Jewish heritage. The view of God had been shaped in history, from the pillar of fire leading at night to the cloud that lead by day, the fear of God had been well established.

When God met Moses upon Mt. Sinai, a precedent had been set that made it clear who God was and how He was to be approached.

Exodus 33:20 “But,” he said, “you cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live.”

With this image in mind, every Jew had a respect for God that might have seemed unapproachable.

The Logos

In addition to the Jew’s, John was also addressing the Greek observers whose minds were thoroughly forged by the myths and philosophies of their day. This cultural lens was evident to John and clearly it was in his mind as evidenced by his use of the Greek word, λόγος (logos). The word, logos, is a very ancient word likely having been coined in the fifth or sixth century BC.

According to Leon Morris in The Gospel According to John, the word logos was employed by Greek philosophers “to denote something like the world-soul or the soul of the universe.” The word logos underwent greater development at the hands of a group of people in John’s day called Stoics. The Stoics in the first century did not see a connection in any way between the logos and God or Jesus as we typically would today.

According to the Stoics, logos was an impersonal principle or force in the world. In fact, they believed the logos to be the supreme “force that originated and permeated and directed all things.” John could not have used a more poignant word to arouse the minds of the Greeks than this word, which the philosophers believed to be the greatest power in the universe.

Matthew 7:24,26 “Therefore whoever hears these sayings(logos) of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock. “But everyone who hears these sayings(logos) of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand”—Jesus

Having expounded on the meaning of the term logos, John served notice that Jesus was not only the embodiment of this concept but His words were the manifestation of how to walk in them as well.

The Shock

Undoubtedly, both Jews and Greeks would have been taken back by such a bold statement. How could Jesus have been the fulfillment of Yahweh’s promise to the Jews and the embodiment of Logos in the flesh to the Greeks?

Like a tapestry that was beginning to form, John continued to paint the picture of who Jesus was, is, and was to come.

John 1:3-5 “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.”

The God who met with Moses at the tent of meeting was the God who now dwelt among mankind. The logos that was once impersonal and difficult to comprehend was now made personal, bringing His light of understanding into their darkened minds.

John 1:9-13 “The true Light who gives light to every man was coming into the world. He was in the world, and though the world was made through Him, the world did not recognize Him. He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him.  But to all who did receive Him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God— children born not of blood, nor of the desire or will of man, but born of God.”

What started with a statement that would have sent his constituents reeling, John now brought them near and showed them God’s grace.

Unrecognizable

The God who was unapproachable now called any to come near, both Jew and Gentile. Only those who were washed, sanctified, and made holy could approach God, for any practicing Jew the opportunity seemed impossible and was given only to the few. For the gentiles who practiced Judaism, the gentile court was as near as they could possibly approach the Holy of Holies, it would have been unthinkable for them to desecrate the Temple as outsiders.

John 1:16-18 “And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace. For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him.”

The Revelation

Jesus not only revealed the logos, He embodied Yahweh. The Father who is imperceptible to mankind was revealed in the Son. The Fear of God, dwelling in unapproachable light, suddenly stood among us, walked our path, and died on our behalf.

The world was turned upside down with the advent of the Messiah, no other event in history can compare.

John 1:29-31 “The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!  This is He of whom I said, ‘After me comes a Man who is preferred before me, for He was before me.’ I did not know Him; but that He should be revealed to Israel, therefore I came baptizing with water.”

John the Baptist became John the believer, the moment Jesus began to fulfill His mission to redeem the world from sin, John stepped aside and worshipped the Lamb of God.

The impact Jesus had on the world back then, reverberates today. How can a single man change the world so that it persists for 2000 years?

Jesus was more than a man, He was God incarnate.

John 12:31-32 “Now is the judgment of this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out. And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself.”

Do you want to see the world changed today? Are you tired of the way you see our world going?

Lift Jesus up!—Jesus still changes hearts, redeems lives, and His power and grace is as evident today as it was back then. We are to be His ambassadors now, we are to carry the torch that John and others carried back then and shock the world with the knowledge of God’s incredible revelation of the Word made flesh.

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