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July 24, 2021 | Doug Sauder
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“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”—John 1:1–5 (NIV)
You may have noticed that “Word” in these verses is capitalized, and that’s due to John’s strategic use of the term based on the surrounding culture. If you look into the original Greek language, which the New Testament was written in, then you will find this term translates to “logos.” In a world where Greek culture took the spotlight, John intentionally used this term because it would frequently be used by Greeks to describe a “divine word” or “wisdom” which was unattainable and transcendent. In this way, he appealed to those without Jewish heritage intriguing them with his claims of the “logos” being both with God and God Himself!
John did not use that term solely for the sake of the surrounding Greek culture, though. He also used it because Jews were familiar with the concept as well! Throughout the Old Testament, frequent emphasis is placed on the power of God’s Word. The world was spoken into existence by the Word of God. As Psalm 33:6 (NIV) expresses it, “By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, their starry host by the breath of his mouth.” His Word heals and rescues, and whenever we see the Word of the Lord coming to a person, it often contains a testimony or message of truth from God (Psalm 107:20; Jeremiah 1:4).
Therefore, John’s reference to Jesus as the “logos” helps bridge a gap between the Jews and the Gentiles so both will understand what is being said. The Greeks can finally understand that the “logos” they often discuss or ponder is Jesus Himself, and the Jews can finally see that the powerful Word of God mentioned in their Scriptures actually refers to the son of God: Jesus Christ! It is no surprise that John uses this term of familiarity in both Jewish and Greek culture to describe Jesus because part of Jesus’ own mission in saving us was to bring unity among us! In using the word “logos,” John embraces his role as an “ambassador” for Christ and a minister of peace!
Knowing Jesus to be the Word, we view Him as the Word that brings life, the Word that shines light, and the Word that gives peace. Every Christmas season, we celebrate that this very same Word “became flesh” (John 1:14 NIV)!
When Jesus, the Word, entered the scene, He brought with Him true life and indomitable light! Jesus Himself proclaims this in John 8:12 (NIV) saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” Later, as He partakes in what will be known as the first communion with His disciples, He again asserts that “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6 NIV). To draw a mental image of this in my brain, I often recall the lyrics to one of my favorite Christmas carols,
Silent Night: Silent night, holy night
Son of God, oh, love's pure light
Radiant beams from Thy holy face
With the dawn of redeeming grace
Jesus, Lord at Thy birth
What a beautiful depiction of what the birth of Jesus represents! As we reflect on Jesus being the Word, may we know the extent of what that truly entails: His gift of life and light. It is in such abundant life and exuberant light that we can be reconciled to our heavenly Father and live fully in His everlasting peace because Jesus, being both the Word and the Prince of Peace, is the Word of peace!
Samy Rodriguez has been serving with the Calvary writing team since 2020 as a senior at Calvary Christian Academy. Before going to study communications, biblical studies, and intercultural studies at Palm Beach Atlantic University, she interned with the Calvary Communications Team and was a student leader in HSM (High School Ministry). She is passionate about communicating God’s Word and looks forward to continuing to serve in ministry after college.