“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” – John 1:1-5 (ESV)
Today I noted on my Facebook page that the word for the day was logos. I had a friend ask why.
Here is my woefully inadequate answer:
There are passages of Scripture that are so rich in depth that I hold them in absolute awe. This is one of those passages. As I consider just exactly what John is saying, the words sink deeper into my soul. The Bible is absolutely astounding in it’s richness, if you stop and take time to let the Word soak into you.
“The Word” is translated from the Greek term λόγος (logos). Logos is a word found throughout the Bible. According to Strong’s, it can refer to a thought or idea, or reasoning (Strong’s, G3056). But, when John uses the term, it takes on a much deeper meaning.
Let’s look a little further into John 1:
“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. ( John bore witness about him, and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.’ ”) And from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known.” – John 1:14-18 (ESV)
When John speaks of the logos, he is referring to Jesus Christ. In these two passages, John is sharing with us the uniqueness of Christ. He is, with one Greek term, telling what it means that Jesus is God Incarnate – God humbling Himself enough to be trapped in flesh and walk among His people.
I love how John begins his gospel in terms that would resonate loudly with the Jews, harkening back to the creation account of Genesis 1 with the words “in the beginning.” Likewise, the word logos would have held special meaning to the Greeks as well. It was a term coined some 500 years before Christ that referred to “the reason of God.”
As the logos who was there from before creation, Jesus – God Incarnate – has always existed! (And, by inference, we can conclude always will!) He was there at the beginning, not merely with God but God Himself as part of the Trinity. That means the way of salvation was there before man ever existed.
And Jesus wasn’t merely a passive witness to creation. “All things were made through Him.” Consider the repeated motif of the Genesis creation account: God spoke, and it was; God spoke, and it was. The term logos refers to the words, thoughts, creative works God would have expressed.
We also see Jesus as the overcomer of sin, the result of the fall. He is “the light that shines in the darkness.” Jesus is the embodiment of holiness. Just as the day and night separated light and darkness in Genesis 1:3-5, Jesus also separates the light (the essence of God, which is good in every imaginable form) from darkness (the essence of sin, which is evil). It is in the Light that we find life, and in sin, death (“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly” [John 10:10, ESV]).
By referring to Jesus as the logos, John is also telling us that Christ is the very essence of God Himself. This is an idea Jesus Himself bore out several times in Scripture (“I and the Father are one” [John 10:30]; “…the Father is in me and I am in the Father” [John 10:38]; “Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one” [John 17:11]; “Whoever has seen me has seen the Father” [John 14:9, all ESV]).
Now… just let this marinate for a while. God – Creator of all the universe, Holiness Himself, almighty, all-knowing, ever-present, transcendent of time and space – became man so He could walk with us, empathize with His creation, provide a way for us by sacrificing Himself in an unimaginably horrific, painful, shameful fashion (an undeserved, publicly humiliating death by execution).
Wisdom walked with us.
Perfection walked with us.
Purity walked with us.
Love walked with us.
And He did it all because He loves us. He didn’t have to. He’s God!
Jesus is the logos – the very essence of God Who because of His great love came to earth to die – and overcome death – as the perfect sacrifice and propitiation of our sins. Jesus was not the leader of some new first century Jewish sect. He is the fulfillment of Old Testament Jewish Scripture, the coming Messiah they have so long awaited…
I could go on, but I have to stop somewhere. I feel like I’m stopping short. When I try to wrap my mind around the great, amazing depths of God – His will, His love, His Word – it’s difficult – no, impossible – to fully grasp. I pray that I always find great wonder and amazement when mining His Word, knowing none of us has any hope of ever reaching the bottom of it all. How wondrous is our God! And how amazing (and humbling) to rest secure in the knowledge that He would love me – a wretched sinner like me – enough to send His Son, the logos, to die for me that I may live eternally.