Sunday Devotional: John 1:1
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
This terse statement by John at the beginning of his Gospel is packed with an incredible amount of theological depth. I count only seven unique words in the Greek (not including different grammatical forms of the same word), and yet the truth they contain is of eternal significance.
In the first part of the verse, John declares that the Word was eternal. The Greek verb he uses is not one of becoming, but one of being. That is to say, in the beginning–which recalls Genesis 1:1, the start of all creation–the Word already existed, and continued to exist. There is no indication here that the Word was created, or that there was a time when the Word did not exist. Since only God is eternal (see Psalm 90), then this Word must in some way partake of divinity. He must have divine status, or at least divine attributes.
John continues, saying the Word was with God. Here he uses a preposition that, in this context, indicates a face-to-face relationship. The Word was “to, or toward” God. The implication of this is that there is some kind of separation between the Word and God. They are distinct from one another, yet somehow related to one another.
The final part of the verse makes the bold declaration that the Word was God. Again, the verb here is one of continual existence. The Word didn’t become God, but has been God since before the beginning, and continues evermore to be God.
If we put all of this together, we get a picture of this Word as eternal, divine, separate from God, and yet also God. It may sound confusing, but it is from statements like this that God has revealed to us His uniquely Trinitarian nature. From here through to verse 13, John sets us up for the big reveal in verse 14: “The Word became flesh and tabernacled [or made his dwelling] among us.” The Word is Jesus.
There is only one God, and yet in His divine being there are three distinct Persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Jesus is God the Son. And when we grasp God’s Trinitarian nature, statements like the one we find in John 1:1 make sense. Jesus is divine, and indeed shares the same divinity as God. But God the Father and God the Son are not the same being: they are distinct from each other, and in relationship to one another. But they are both part of the same divine being.
This insight into the very nature of God is not something we could have figured out for ourselves. It has come to us by revelation, and that revelation is a gift of God to us. The nature of God is unique in all creation, which is why every attempt to give an analogy to the Trinity breaks down. The fact that God has made Himself known like this, so we can worship Him in truth, is a sign of His love for us. May we praise God all the more as we contemplate the depths of His being, and the riches of His grace.
Have a great week!