“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)
J.I. Packer, in his classic book Knowing God, refers to the opening section of the Gospel of John as “the deep end of theology.” To truly mine the depths of these words – to fully unpack the impact of the simple word Logos and how, in one word, John reaches both Jews (by tying Jesus to creation and Creator) and Greeks, with their idea of Logos being the force that makes the world go ‘round – would take a much longer piece than is reasonable for a blog post. (There are times I feel like my rambling tests those boundaries the way it is, brevity not being my gift.) Truly, the concept – and I do not like the limitations / connotations behind the word “concept,” but it is the best I can come up with at this early hour – of Christ as the Logos, as presented in John’s Gospel, is beyond the grasp of a simple fisherman (a clear indicator of Who the True Author is here).
When I read John’s prologue (John 1:1-18), many messages about Who Jesus is ring out loud and clear. One that has particularly stuck in my craw lately is the centrality of Jesus Christ. In fact, I’m not sure that it is enough to say Christ is at the center of it all. I believe it just might be best to say Christ is the center.
Consider the other Gospels for a moment. Mark starts right off the bat with John the Baptist and his role in preparing the way for Jesus. Luke begins with the set-up for the birth of Jesus. Matthew does good Jewish theology by legitimizing Christ through genealogy.
John shows us Jesus all through history – and beyond. His life did not begin in a manger in Bethlehem. As you read John 1:1-18, understand that the apostle is telling us that the Word – the Logos – is Jesus Christ. In other words, “In the beginning was Jesus, and Jesus was with God, and Jesus was God.” “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 1:14, ESV).
Jesus is God Incarnate – the Creative Word, the Logos, in flesh, walking and living among us (“dwelling,” just as God did in the tabernacle with the Israelites). Jesus provides all of us with the perfect example of how we are to live our lives. He teaches us what it is all about, what it all means. Most importantly, He became the sacrifice for our sins. Without Christ, there is no life.
Without Christ, there is no life.
Let that marinate for a bit.
Right now, I am speaking to Christians. And I am going to be as direct with you as I have been with myself lately because, frankly, sugar-frosting the message does nobody any good. If you really saw Christ as the pivotal point in your life, the hub around which all of your existence orbited, how would you live? How would that play out in your daily, everyday, mundane routine? Would it still be mundane? Would life be boring?
How would you approach your job? Would it be a curse because of the junk you deal with, or a blessing because of what it provides?
How would your home look? Would the stress level go down? Would you be better equipped to cope with the spouse and the kidlets and the critters and the dripping faucet and the garage door that sounds like a freight train every time it goes up and down (and, yes, I apologize to my neighbors when we leave at 5:30 in the morning…)?
How would your church look? How would your calendar look? How would your checkbook look?
What would you watch on TV tonight? What would you do with your evening? Your weekend?
Would you be more purposeful with your assets (and I do not mean merely money)? Would you be more purposeful about your approach to life?
What if you saw yourself as Christ sees you. Would you stop striving for perfection and realize the only true perfection comes from God? Would you see that it is the Lord Who enables and equips and ease up on yourself a bit? Would you stop beating yourself up for the sins that Christ has already forgiven? Would you stop worrying about a mistake made?
How would you view the disaster, the sadness, the stress and the troubles that come to each of us at some point in our lives? How would you view this earthly existence in the light of an eternal perspective?
What would be important to you?
If you lived recognizing the reality that Christ is the center – if we truly saw Him as the definition of our lives, letting His presence indwell and permeate every aspect of our existence – how would that look? Would we be better equipped to accept trouble when it strikes? Would the fruit of the Spirit be present in our lives? Would people see us and be drawn to Jesus through us?
I’m not writing these things to condemn or criticize anyone. How hypocritical would that be! Nor am I saying we should try to be perfect. In fact, just the opposite. I am saying that Christ is the center of existence – He is life!
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.” – John 14:6-7 (ESV)
And I am saying this: the simple fact that Jesus is God Incarnate – Jesus Who loves us, loves you and I personally with a depth beyond our grasp, not just as an arbitrary concept but personally… that reality alone should be enough to make us leap for joy, “forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. 15 Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you. Only let us hold true to what we have attained” (Philippians 3:13-16, ESV).
And what have we attained? Eternal life through Jesus Christ, Who is the center of it all.
Somehow this feels incomplete. I could go so much farther, so much deeper. And will, God willing, in future posts. But for now… have a blessed day. Consider Christ at the center of every decision, every word, every action today. And watch Him work through your life!