The Word and the Light
Read John 1:1-5 (ESV)
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.
What do these names of Jesus (the Word and the Light) indicate about who Jesus is?
One common objection that atheists raise against the existence of God is: If God exists and He wants us to worship Him, then why doesn’t He reveal Himself to us somehow? The answer is— He did.
First, He revealed Himself through His creation. Romans 1:20 says: “For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.” If you want to get fancy, the theological term for this is God’s “general revelation.”
But then they might say, “But why doesn’t God speak to us or appear to us in bodily form so we can actually see Him?” And to that question, we also say, “He did.” The fancy theological term for that is God’s “special revelation.” God has miraculously revealed Himself to humans in a variety of ways. Scripture (which in itself is a very important special revelation from God) records that God has physically appeared to humans and that He has spoken to humans through dreams, prophets, and even directly.
But, the epitome of God’s special revelation to us is His Son, Jesus Christ. In today’s verses, we read that the apostle John referred to Jesus as the “Word” which tells us something pretty important about who Jesus is. Remember, God created the world by the power of His Word. He spoke the world into existence. And then, note who John attributes with creating the world in verse 3—the Word, Jesus. John is saying that Jesus is the spoken word of God who has eternally been with God and in fact is God Himself.
This is a reference to the Trinity. Jesus is a person of the Trinity but there is something distinct about Him. He is the person of the Trinity who reveals the words of God to us but is also the person of the Trinity who reveals God to us in bodily form. When He became flesh and dwelt among us, Jesus showed the world who God is and what God had to say to them.
Hebrews 1:1-3 explains: “Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, who he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power….”
Another common objection to the existence of God is, of course, the problem of evil. If God exists, why is the world so dark? That’s why I love the other name that John called Jesus in today’s passage—”the light.” The world is dark. There is sin and evil. But God sent Jesus as the answer for the darkness. Jesus triumphs over sin and death! No matter how dark the world gets, it cannot overwhelm His light. In John 8:12, Jesus called Himself the “light of the world” and in John 12:46, Jesus said that He “came into the world as light, so that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness.” The ultimate fulfillment of Jesus lighting up the world will be in the new Jerusalem. “And night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light…” (Revelation 22:5).
Friends, Jesus is the Word of God and He is the light of the world. God has revealed Himself to us, He has spoken to us, and He has conquered the darkness of sin and death through Jesus Christ. “For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 4:6).
Lord Jesus, thank You for showing us who God is. What a privilege that we get to know the God of the universe through You. Help me to share Your light with those around me. Amen.