For the next two months we’re going to look at the words and works of Jesus as presented in the Gospel of John. John 1:1-4 makes a radical claim. In v. 5-11 that claim is rejected, and v. 12-14 answer the objections to that amazing claim.
CLAIMS about the “Word of God” (1:1-4):  The “word of God” is a person,  the “Word was with God and the Word was God”,  the Word is uncreated; he is without a beginning,  this uncreated, divine person, is the source of all life, and,  the “Word” is identified as none other than Jesus Christ (v. 14). John uses this term, “Word” (Greek: “logos”), to describe Jesus. “Logos” has an enormous amount of cultural, linguistic, and philosophical historical background. When ancient Greek philosophers looked at the world around them, they saw amazing balance, harmony and order. So they theorized that there must be a spiritual, cosmic principle of order to explain it. They called this cosmic principle of order, “Logos”—meaning “the purpose or reason or logic for life.” They believed that the universe isn’t random, but that it shows order, and behind that order must be some rational mind or purpose. It follows that if we align ourselves with that purpose, our lives will go better.
The problem arose when various Greek philosophers couldn’t agree on the purpose of life. The Stoics said, “Keep a stiff upper lip.” Suffering? Death? Coronavirus? Accept it. The Epicureans absolutely disagreed. “No, no, no. It’s just the opposite—live selfishly. Seek to fulfill your every desire.” But then along comes the apostle John. He said: “Oh yes, there is a Logos, but the Logos is a ‘he’. You’re looking just for principles, abstractions, constructs. This changes everything!” Since the purpose of the universe is personal rather than impersonal, then love takes on unprecedented importance. The Christian notion of “logos” literally changed the world! It gave humans a new dignity, with the purpose of love. Without the biblical understanding of the Logos, the philosophy of human rights would never have been established. Because of Christianity, Western civilization developed a higher regard for human life than other civilizations which were governed by a different worldview.
REJECTION —however, John 1:5-11 explains the widespread rejection of this claim. Verse 5 says that the darkness did not “katalambano” God’s light. John purposely chose this ambiguous word—which can be translated either as “understand” or as “overcome”— because there are two different ways of rejecting Jesus. One way is to be overtly hostile to him, and the other is to misunderstand him. Perhaps it would be best to translate it as “master”. To master something might mean to overpower it, but it also can mean to figure it out, to comprehend it. When it comes to the world’s response to Jesus, both are true. Many people are hostile to the Christian claim that Jesus is the Creator of the world and the only way to God.
The gospel ANSWERS the world’s objections. John tells us that not everyone is a child of God; sonship has to be received (v. 12). This pushes against the popular idea that all human beings are God’s children. While God is the Creator of us all, he is not everyone’s Father. That privileged position must be received by faith. It’s a gift. It’s not earned by being good enough, or moral enough. This comes to us solely by God’s grace (v. 13). Spiritual rebirth is not accomplished by us; it’s all God’s doing. God dwelt among us in the person of Jesus, lived a sinless, and bore our guilt so we wouldn’t have to (v. 14).
Since I am saved by grace, I have no reason to feel superior to anyone. Thus, no oppression of others. And since God deals with me in grace, I don’t need to wallow in my guilt—no need to oppress myself! John tells us Jesus’ own people did not comprehend this, so they rejected him. What will you do with Jesus? God has raised us up for these dark days—so be courageous! Share God’s love with others. Jesus is the way, the truth and the life. He is the logos of God. Comprehend it. Embrace it. Live it and share it with others.
APPLICATION / CHALLENGE
- Be changed by the gospel—deeply, profoundly, comprehensively, concretely.
- If you would like to know God personally, contact us here (connect.tcc.org). Scroll down to the Ministry Information Request section and mark the first or second checkbox. We look forward to helping!
- This week, talk to someone who needs to know the “logos”, the meaning, of life.
TAKE ONE STEP
Each week, write down one doable concrete step of obedience, small or large, that you will put into practice this week. (James 1:22: “But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves.”)