From Praying the Names of Jesus Week Eleven, Day One
Though God has always revealed himself in some way, the incarnation is the clearest, most compelling revelation of who God is — of his holiness, love, and power. Because Jesus is one with the Father, he is uniquely able to communicate God's heart and mind. As Logos, or "the Word," everything about Jesus — his teaching, miracles, suffering, death, and resurrection — speaks to us of God. Our destiny depends on how well we listen. Will we believe, or will we turn a deaf ear to the message of God's love? When you pray to Jesus as the Word, you are praying to the One whose voice calls us from death to life and from darkness to light.
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:14
His Name Revealed
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning.
Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. . . .
He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God — children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband's will, but born of God.
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:1-3, 10-14
Jesus, you are the One and Only Word made flesh, speaking your love and your light into the world's thick darkness. Reshape my life through your message of mercy. Give me ears to hear and a heart to do your will. Make me eager and able to proclaim your Word in season and out, confident in your life-giving power and in your enduring love.
Understanding the Name
John's Gospel begins by calling Jesus the Logos (LO-gos), the "Word." Though Logos was a term used in Greek philosophy, John echoes a Hebrew mindset by using it to refer not to a rational principle or an impersonal force but to the One who created the universe by speaking it into existence. Unlike the prophets, who merely spoke God's word, Jesus is God's dynamic, creative, life-giving Word.
Furthermore, John says, "The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us" (John 1:14). The Greek for "made his dwelling" is linked to the word for "tent" or "tabernacle." Jewish readers would have immediately recognized this as a reference to the Tent of Meeting, in which God's glory dwelt prior to the building of the temple in Jerusalem. Jesus, the Word made flesh, became a man so that through his miracles, teachings, and way of life we could perceive God's glory. He is the Word calling out to us, healing our deafness and bringing us back to God.
No wonder Jesus responded to Philip by saying: "Don't you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father'? Don't you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me?" (John 14:9 - 10). We are to respond to Jesus, the Word, with both faith and faithfulness, reproducing Christ's life so that the Word may become flesh in us.
Studying the Name
- Compare Genesis 1:1-5 with John 1:1-5. Why do you think John begins his Gospel this way?
- John says that though "the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him" (John 1:10). Do you think this is still true today? Why or why not?
- What does it mean to "believe in his name" (John 1:12)?
- Read John 1:14. What do you think it means to see God's glory?
Two of Ann Spangler's most-loved books have been released in paperback: Praying the Names of God and Praying the Names of Jesus.
These books help us understand the biblical context in which these names and titles were revealed, and help us gain a more intimate knowledge of the Father and of the Son.