“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. (John 1:1-4; ESV)”
Thus begins John’s Gospel, introducing us to the Word that is both from God and of God.
More commonly we refer to the Word as Jesus, the Christ, who came to earth and took on flesh.
“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth (John 1:14; ESV).”
A “word” is a vehicle by which thoughts, intents and commands are expressed from one person to another. The importance of words, in the human experience, is hard to overstate. Likewise, the importance of words, in our relationship with God, is a matter that the Bible speaks to.
When God made the world, He did so with words (cf. Genesis 1:3, etc.). When God created Adam and Eve, He made them to be speaking creatures, using words to describe the world around them (cf. Genesis 2:19). When God desired to separate men, one from another, He did so by confusing their words (cf. Genesis 11:6-9). When God formed Israel into a nation, He did so by giving them words by which they would be governed, words such as the Ten Commandments (cf. Exodus 20:1). When God wanted to further guide His people, He sent them prophets who spoke words unto them, from God (cf. Jeremiah 26:5). Even under the New Testament, it is through the words of the Gospel that men understand and receive salvation (cf. Romans 1:16; 1 Corinthians 15:2; James 1:21).
A man who has no use for words in matters of religion or doctrine is a man who will never be pleasing to God. Especially when we consider that God described His own Son as the Word incarnate.
A “word” is a vehicle by which thoughts, intents and commands are expressed. Jesus is thus the vehicle through which God has chosen to communicate to us His own thoughts, intents and commands. God had a message for man, and that message was encapsulated in the person and work of Jesus. When we reject Jesus, we are rejecting God’s message.
This is why Jesus told His followers, “The one who hears you hears me, and the one who rejects you rejects me, and the one who rejects me rejects him who sent me (Luke 10:26; ESV).”
The Greek word, “Logos,” translated in our English translations as, “Word,” signifies more than just a name of an object, but was specifically a word which communicated an idea. Some have suggested that it is a word which is meant to accomplish a thing, and it is of some interest that there are some Spanish translations of John 1:1 which render it so as to read, “In the beginning was the Verb.”
Jesus was not sent to earth merely to be admired. He was sent to earth to be received, understood and obeyed. To ignore the commands of Jesus is to ignore the will of God for our lives.
Thus, Jesus said, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments (John 14:15).” The Word of God is not honored with lip-service but with deeds and with actions.
We have come to a time of the year when men claim to rejoice that God sent His Son into the world, and much veneration is given to the idea of Jesus being born. “The Word was made flesh,” is a glorious message, but it does not find fulfillment in our lives through the admiration of a babe wrapped in swaddling clothes. Rather, we truly honor the Word of God by heeding the message He preached, conforming ourselves to His commands, and allowing Him to teach us about God’s revealed will for our lives.
Jonathan McAnulty is minister of Chapel Hill Church of Christ. Viewpoints expressed in the article are the work of the author.