On Thursday nights, I meet with some brothers in a group called, “Solomon’s Legacy.” Which brings up great imagery, don’t you think? But the leader decided that since we call it a “Bible Study,” we were going to actually study the Bible. You see, we had previously spent most of our time discussing the sermon from the previous Sunday, or sharing what was happening in our lives.
Anyway, we decided to simply open John’s Gospel and start there. We didn’t get far, but it was still so much fun. We actually got through the first chapter, but what caught my attention was the very first line:
“In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God . . .” (John 1:1)
Now, as we all agreed, certain passages become so familiar we miss what the other was saying. So, we must check different translations to see if we can find a deeper message.
In the beginning, before all time, was the Word Christ), and the Word was with God, and the Word was God Himself . . . (John 1:1)
Before anything else existed, there was Christ, with God . . .” (John 1:1)
When all things began, the Word already was . . . (John 1:1)
The Word was first, the Word present to God, God present to the Word . . .” (John 1:1)
But for me, the one that captured my attention, simply said:
At the beginning God expressed himself. (John 1:1)
How simple is that? It immediately reminds me of something written in the letter to the Hebrew church:
God, who gave our forefathers many different glimpses of the truth in the words of the prophets, has now, at the end of the present age, given us the truth in the Son.
Through the Son God made the whole universe, and to the Son he has ordained that all creation shall ultimately belong. This Son, radiance of the glory of God, flawless expression of the nature of God, himself the upholding principle of all that is, effected in person the reconciliation between God and man and then took his seat at the right hand of the majesty on high — thus proving himself, by the more glorious name that he has won, far greater than all the angels of God (Hebrews 1:1-4)
Wow! From the very beginning, our Creator was trying to reach us, to teach us, to relate to us. And in just four verses we are transported through it all. From the writings of the prophets, through our Messiah’s incarnation (who, all at the same time, creator, heir, and sustainer of all things and exalted to the manifestation of deity), past His sacrifice on the cross to Jesus being raised to the ultimate seat of power in the universe! It is a paragraph that is designed to arrest our attention and compel us to keep searching. Psalm 63:8 proclaims, “My soul follows close behind You; Your right hand upholds me.” And as Tozer wrote, “We pursue God because, and only because, He has first put an urge within us that spurs us to the pursuit . . .”
So within these first four verses in this letter, there are no opening greetings, no indication of who wrote the letter and no expression of greetings or salutations. He just jumped in share how God was trying to reach is people.
First, there were the prophets, God’s ancient spokesmen; then the angels, Israel’s guardians; then Israel’s great leader, Moses; Israel’s godly general, Joshua; and finally the founder of Israel’s priesthood, Aaron. Each one was a voice from Israel’s past that needed to be heard. The abrupt introduction seems to mark the intensity our God was attempting to reach us.
Clearly, God’s word through His Son is final and complete. The apostles are simply additional spokesmen for Christ. Jesus affirms this superior status himself when he says to his disciples, “Blessed are your eyes because they see and your ears because they hear. I can guarantee this truth: Many prophets and many of God’s people longed to see what you see but didn’t see it, to hear what you hear but didn’t hear it” (Matthew 13:16-17).
I don’t believe there are any doubts that our world desperately needs redemption. So, in this introductory paragraph, Jesus is portrayed as the supreme Prophet, the unique Owner of all things, the uncreated Creator, the exact Image of God’s being, the Sustainer of the universe, the Sacrificing Priest who cleanses sin, and the Conqueror who occupies the place of honor above all his creation. From this lofty beginning, the writer asserts the supremacy of Jesus above all other names of honor in Hebrew thought or practice. How about the “things” in your life? Is He higher and mightier and more supreme? Or, are the insecurities, failures, and weaknesses your experience more powerful? Only you can answer that question . . .
(I send out messages like this each morning in emails, and if you are interested in receiving them, send me your email address and I will add you—a to the list: Mail List)
I do thank you for your gifts. It is your faithful and continued support that makes these messages possible.