vs 1 – In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God.
Breaking the Surface: John immediately connects Jesus with God and as being with God since the “beginning” and as BEING God. There is no flowery introduction. John is obviously making the point that everything he writes from here on out is predicated on the fact that Jesus is God. In Revelation 19:13, John again uses this term in reference to Jesus. “He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood and the name by which he is called is The Word of God”. No mistaking who John is referencing as he begins writing in John and who he concludes writing about in Revelation.
Digging Deeper: Why is this important for the reader of John’s Gospel? I mean, it’s the very first thing he inks. As we read on we realize that understanding and knowing WHO Jesus is, will be the central subject of his gospel account. I would argue that it really is the central subject of all of Scripture.
So, what are some of the things that people said and are saying about Jesus and his identity? They called him many names-prophet, teacher, Rabbi, friend. Today, He’s called those same things. Additionally, with the advent of the internet where everyone who has a keyboard and a thought can be an expert, you can find an article or supposed “proof” about Jesus being all of those to being a “myth” as a young man and I discussed recently. If someone thinks it, you can find it. But John is making sure that those who read this understand exactly who He is writing about. John is definitive in his sentence and leaves no room for doubt.
Later in Jesus ministry, after denouncing the Pharisees and Sadducees for their insincere request of a sign from Jesus as proof of His deity, Jesus uses a previous miracle to make his point to the disciples. When they found themselves without bread, Jesus Jesus gave them a rather and seemingly tangential response to their dilemma, “Watch and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” They were very confused. Jesus then explained what he meant by admonishing their faith in talking about physical bread and wondering why Jesus would be warning them about the leaven that the Pharisees and Sadducees would give them. Jesus meant (and clearly explains to them) that he was not talking about being aware of the leaven they might provide for the making of physical bread but about the “teaching they would provide for the soul.”
So, then Jesus asks them 2 questions: In Matt 15:13-14 Jesus says, “Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” And they said, “Some say John the Baptist, others say z Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” I don’t believe that Jesus was as interested in their response to this question but, rather, he was using this question to set up the next question, which was and is the KEY question He asks all of us”. He asked them, “But who do you say that I am?” (Matt 15:15, ESV). Simon (Peter) responds with the correct answer, “You are the Christ, the son of the Living God” (Matt 15:16, ESV).
So What?: John establishes immediately that he is writing about the Son of God, Jesus. There is no mistaking who he will spend the next 21 chapters writing about. Despite the fact that many will call Jesus different names or claim he doesn’t exist, John is staking his integrity on the fact that the One he is writing about is Jesus, God incarnate, who was and is and is to come. Today, and every day, Jesus asks us the same questions He asked the disciples. Who do others say that I am? Who do YOU say that I am? I think it’s important for us to ask them together of ourselves each day.
By asking the first question, we are reminded that there are many who do not believe, teach or live as if Jesus is the Christ, the son of the Living God. Then, Jesus asks us, “who do YOU say that I am”? He says it to us daily. The first time we understand and believe and respond as Peter did, our lives are changed forever. Then, every day we take a breath and we answer that question, our lives should reflect that truth and we can be a catalyst for changing others lives forever.
So, who do YOU say that Jesus is?