Word Became Flesh - Professor Jacob Abraham

Let us let us start this short study with a brief introduction to the four gospels.
They are called the Gospel according to Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.
They were written by four authors, between AD 66 and 100.
All four Gospels are anonymous; the names were added in the 2 century.
The Gospel of Mark was the first written, may be around AD 66 - 70.
Matthew and Luke were written around AD 85 - 90.
John was written around AD 90 - 110.

The apostles Matthew and John witnessed Jesus’ ministry from its inception through His death and resurrection.
Mark, a younger man was present at least during the later events of Jesus’ life, was taught by the apostle and eyewitness Peter.
The Gospel according to Luke is a report by a meticulous historian who claimed to have “carefully investigated everything from the beginning”

Each writer wants the reader to know the truth about Jesus and become a disciple.
To accomplish this purpose, each Gospel is aimed at a certain audience and each writer is selective of the events he includes.
The Gospel according to Matthew is aimed primarily at Jews, who were familiar with the Old Testament.
Jesus is portrayed as Israel's Messiah, the King of the Jews.
The audience of Mark was basically those people in the Roman Empire who are unfamiliar with the religion of the Jews.
So, Mark's Gospel does not argue for Jesus as a fulfillment of prophecy.
It starts, rather, with the beginning of Jesus' ministry.
Consequently Mark's gospel records more miracles of Jesus than Matthew, Luke, or John.
Luke was written to those more intellectually minded.
He is not writing as an eyewitness but as one who is recording eyewitness testimonies.
His portrayal of Jesus is as the perfect man.
The Greeks in their art and literature were always looking for the perfect man.
The Gospel of Luke reveals that man.

John, the writer of the fourth gospel, was an eyewitness to the life of Jesus. He wrote to everyone.
The things he recorded were for the purpose of establishing the fact that Jesus was the eternal God who became a man.
John wanted his readers to exercise faith toward Jesus.

The gospel of John is different in many aspects from other gospels.
The gospel according to Matthew, Mark and Luke were synopsis of the life of Jesus.
Whereas John was presenting a philosophical book.
90% of what John says is not found in other gospels.
While others were presenting an earthly view of the life of Jesus, John was presenting a heavenly view.
That is why many scholars consider the Gospel of John as a heavenly and holy book.
It is also called the salvation book.

John’s purpose and focus

John’s aim was, to present a forth different view point about Christ’s message that would appeal to Greek thinkers.
John would have been thinking of the Greek readers some of whom were being influenced by heresy.
John’s main purpose was evangelistic, to build up believers as well as to win new converts.
John also focuses on Jesus` claim that He was God by including Christ’s seven “I am” statements.
John records certain occasions when Jesus equals Himself with the Old Testament “I AM.”

John also speaks of Jesus as the pre-existent divine Word who became a human being so as to speak the words of God and reveal the glory of God’s grace and truth.
Jesus is the bridge between light and darkness.
He will give eternal life and the gift of the Holy Spirit to all who believe and abide in Jesus.
He will also bring judgment on the unbelieving world.

The purpose of John writing the gospel is stated clearly in chapter 20:

John 20:31 but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.  (NKJV)

John writes that Jesus is the savior of the world.
John reveals the Bible’s most important message, believe and follow Jesus, because He is the way to eternal life.
John speaks of Jesus as the light of the world and the bread of life, the way, the life and the good shepherd.

The Gospel of John is a portrait of Jesus Christ and his saving work.
It focuses on the last three years of Jesus’s life and especially on his death and resurrection.
John never mentions Jesus’ name until chapter 1 verse 17; but it is clear right from verse 1 that he is talking about Jesus.
John did not begin the story of Jesus with His birth; John starts with statements about His deity in eternity.

Our present study intends to explain verse 1 to 5 and verse 14.

In the beginning

Let us tart with verse 1

John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. (NKJV)

John is telling three things in verse 1:1.
The first is the time of the beginning of the history of Jesus.
Moses begins Genesis 1:1 by drawing our attention to the majesty of God, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”
John starts by drawing our attention to the majesty of Jesus Christ, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”
The Mosaic conception of “beginning” is marked by the first creative act.
John places himself at the same starting point of time, but before he speaks of any creation he asserts the pre-existence of the Creator.
 In this “beginning” there already “was” the Word. 

John’s intention is clear: he is drawing a line between God in Genesis and Jesus in the gospels.
But while Genesis works downwards from that point and tells what followed, John works upwards and tells what lies before time.
Time and creatures came into being, and when they began, the Word ‘was.’
In the beginning in Genesis 1:1 refers to the timeless eternity.
John essentially says, "When the beginning began, the Word was already there.
That is, that the Word predates time or creation.
John makes it clear that the Word is not just the beginning, but the beginning of the beginning.
He was there in the beginning, before anything was.

The verb “was” indicates that at the beginning of the universe, the Word already was in existence.
John means that there never was a time when the Word was not.
“In the beginning” of Genesis 1:1 includes the beginning of time itself.
But John rises above the historical conception of “In the beginning” to the absolute conception of anteriority to time. 

The Word was God
“and the Word was God.” (John1:1)

Now let us move to the last part of the verse and them come back to the middle part.
In the New Testament, two Greek words are translated as “word” - rhema and logos.
They have slightly different meanings.

Rhema usually means “a spoken word.” It literally means an utterance.
In Luke 1:38, when the angel told Mary that she would be the mother of God's Son, Mary replied, "Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.” (NKJV)
Here the root Greek word is rhema.
Rhema is the specific guidance we receive from the Holy Spirit at any given time.
It must be discerned by the general principles laid down in the Bible.
Rhema is essentially synonymous with logos.

The Greek work John used in 1:1 for “Word” is “Logos”.
Logos, refers to the total inspired Word of God and to Jesus, who is the living Word. 
Logos is also used to refer to spoken words.
Logos is found in John 1:1Luke 8:11Philippians 2:16Hebrews 4:12; and other verses.
This Greek word has a broader and philosophical meaning.
It usually implies a total message, a message including the thoughts of the speaker.
And it is used mostly in reference to God's message to mankind.

Luke 4:32 And they were astonished at His teaching, for His word was with authority. (NKJV)

The Greek word used here to say “word” is logos in the sense of “total message”.
The people were amazed not merely by the particular words of Jesus but by His total message.
The Greeks used the word logos to refer to one’s “mind,” “reason,” or “wisdom.”
John used this Greek concept to communicate the fact that Jesus is the self-expression of God to the world.
Jesus is the total Message; Jesus is everything that God wants to communicate to man.

Many scholars identify logos with God’s Reason, Wisdom, Mind and Intellect.
The logos is the expression of God, and is His communication of Himself and also His outward expression of thoughts.
This outward expression of God has now occurred through His Son, and so Jesus is called the “Word.”
Jesus is an outward expression of God’s reason, wisdom, purpose and plan.
Since the logos is God’s expression, His plan, purposes, reason and wisdom, it was with Him “in the beginning.”

The Jews were familiar with the idea of God’s Word referring to His wisdom and action.
It is important to note that the Jews were fiercely monotheistic and did not in any way believe in a “Triune God.”
They were familiar with the idioms of their own language and understood that the wisdom and power of God were being personified as “word.”
The usual Jewish method of personifying wisdom is seen in Proverbs 8:23 “I (wisdom) have been established from everlasting, From the beginning, before there was ever an earth.”  (NKJV)
No ancient Jew reading Proverbs would think that God’s wisdom was a separate person.
The Greek-speaking Jews were also familiar with God’s creative force being called “the word.”

John is not merely saying that there is something divine about Jesus.
He is affirming that He is God, and doing so emphatically as we see from the word order in the Greek.

Jehovah’s Witness’ translation
Here let me talk a word about the inaccurate translation of this verse by Jehovah’s Witness.
They claim in their New World Translation, that the Greek text says, “the word was a god,” because there is no Greek definite article before “God.”

The Jehovah’s Witness has translated “God” as “a god” because the definite article “the” is missing in Greek.
If they follow the same logic consistently everywhere in the Bible, they should translate "God" as "god" every place it appears without the article.
But it seems that this grammatical rule only applies when it suits the purpose of backing up the doctrinal beliefs of Jehovah’s Witness.
They translate the Greek word for “God” without the definite article “the” in verses like Matthew 5:96:24Luke 1:35 and 1:75John 1:61:121:13, and 1:18Romans 1:7 and 1:17 as "God".

Greek grammarians like Dr. Julius R. Mantey and Dr. Charles L Feinberg calls the Jehovah’s Witness translation as “a grossly misleading translation in the world, so far as we know”.
Dr. William Barclay calls it "a translation which is grammatically impossible.”

The Greek construction here emphasizes the qualitative aspect of the Word, which means that He had all the attributes, qualities and essence of the Father, though they differed in person.
The construction the evangelist chose to express this idea was the most concise way he could have stated that the Word was God and yet was distinct from the Father.

The Greek philosophers saw the logos as the power which puts sense into the world, making the world orderly instead of chaotic.
The logos was the power that set the world in perfect order and kept it going in perfect order.
They saw the logos as the "Ultimate Reason" that controlled all things.

Jewish rabbis often referred to God, especially in His more personal aspects, in terms of His word.
They spoke of God Himself as "the word of God.
For example, ancient Hebrew editions of the Old Testament change Exodus 19:17 (Moses brought the people out of the camp to meet God) to "Moses brought the people out of the camp to meet the word of God.”
In the mind of the ancient Jews, the phrase "the word of God" could be used to refer to God Himself.

Therefore, in this opening, John speaks to both Jews and Greeks.
For centuries they have been talking, thinking, and writing about the Word (the logos).
Now John tells them who He is – “the Word was God”
John meets both Jews and Greeks where they are at, and explains Jesus in terms they already understood.

In John 5:17 Jesus calls God the Father, as “My Father”.
And the Jews understood it as Jesus making Himself equal with God.
So John 5: 18 says “Therefore the Jews sought all the more to kill Him, because He not only broke the Sabbath, but also said that God was His Father, making Himself equal with God.” (NKJV)
In response, Jesus doesn’t correct them by denying His divinity.

In John 20:28, when Thomas sees the risen Jesus, he proclaims, “My Lord and my God!”
He was not making an exclamation, which would have used God’s name in vain.
Surely, Jesus would have rebuked him. Instead, Jesus affirmed Thomas’ confession.
Christ did not correct neither the Jews for supposing that He claimed to be “equal with God” nor His Apostle for this avowal.
On the contrary He accepts and approves this confession of belief in His Divinity.

Years later, on the Isle of Patmos, the apostle John had a vision of the risen Lord (Revelation 1:17-18).
John fell before Him as a dead man.
Jesus said, “Do not be afraid; I am the first and the last, and the living One; and I was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of death and of Hades.” 
Isaiah 44:6 says, “Thus says the Lord, the King of Israel and his Redeemer, the Lord of hosts: ‘I am the first and I am the last, and there is no God besides Me.’”
In the light of Isaiah, clearly Jesus was claiming to be the Lord of hosts, the only living and true God!
Thus John affirms, Jesus is eternal; He is the second person of the Trinity; and, He is God.

The essence of Jesus Christ’s identity is that: “The Word was God.”

The Word, Jesus Christ was with God, and he was God.
He is God, and he is the image of God, perfectly reflecting all that God is and standing forth from eternity as the fullness of deity in a distinct Person.
Jesus came from heaven and Jesus is God.

The Word was with God

“and the Word was with God”. (John 1:1)


In the middle of verse 1, we read “and the Word was with God.”
This is the heart of the great historic doctrine of the Trinity.
He is God, and he has a relationship with God.

We should understand from the preposition the two ideas of accompaniment and relationship.
Not only did the Word exist ‘in the beginning,’ but He existed in the closest possible connection with the Father.
This shows that the Word is not an impersonal idea or philosophy, but a Person.
This Person is distinguishable from God, although, He is eternal God.

In verse 2, John repeats the first two phrases of verse 1, both for emphasis and to make sure that we understand what he is saying.

John 1:2 He was in the beginning with God. (NKJV)

The Word was in the beginning with God.
While the Word is God, the Word is distinct from God.

“the Word was with God” asserts the eternal communion of the Word with God.
The preposition expresses the thought that in the Word there was motion or tendency towards, and not merely association with, God.
It points to reciprocal, conscious communion.

John’s logic may be explained like is this:

·        There is a Being known as the Word.
·        This Being is God, because He is eternal - In the beginning.
·        This Being is God, because He is plainly called God - the Word was God.
·        At the same time, this Being does not encompass all that God is.
God the Father is a distinct Person from the Word - the Word was with God.

So, the Father and the Son who is the Word are equally God, yet distinct in their Person.
The Father is not the Son, and the Son is not the Father.
Yet they are equally God, with God the Holy Spirit making one God in three Persons.
There is one divine essence and three persons.
Two of them are mentioned here. The Father and the Son. The Holy Spirit will be introduced later.

All things made through Him


John 1:3 All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. (NKJV)


This verse speaks about Christ’s relationship with the world.

The first thing John is going to tell us about what Jesus did is that he created the universe.

He was the Father’s agent, or Word, in the creation of all things.

But in doing it, he was God. God, the Word, created the world.


If everything that has come into being came into being through Jesus, then clearly Jesus never came into being. He has existed eternally.
That is why, John does not stop by saying, “All things were made through Him”.
He added, “and without Him nothing was made that was made”.
They make explicit, emphatic and crystal clear that anything in the category of made, Christ made it.
Therefore, Christ was not made. Because before He exist, He can’t bring Himself into being.
Christ was not created. That is what it means to be God. And the Word was God.
If all things have been created through Him, then clearly He is not created. He is eternal.
John asserts that everything that had a beginning (that came into being) came into being through Jesus.
There never was a time when the Word was not in existence.

If God created everything that exists out of nothing by the word of His power, then contrary to what atheists claim, matter is not eternal. Only God is eternal.
Creation also points to the amazing power and intelligence of God.
It shows us that we are finite, limited creatures and thus we must submit to God and depend on Him.
In other words, if Jesus is the creator, then He is God, which means, I am not God!
And that is a fundamental lesson in all of life!

In Him was life

John 1:4 “In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.” (NKJV)

John uses “life” 36 times in his Gospel, more than any other New Testament book.
John goes on to say that Jesus came to earth to bring spiritual life to those who are dead in their sins and spiritual light to those who live in darkness.
The life inhering in the Word is related to creation and salvation.
So this is pointing back to creation and also ahead to the salvation Jesus brings.
Those who are spiritually dead in their sins need life and Jesus is the source of that life.
They are spiritually in darkness, but when they are born again, the light goes on.

The ancient Greek word translated life is zoe (dzo-ay), which means "the life principle," not bios, which is mere biological life.
This life is the light of men, speaking of spiritual light as well as natural light.
It isn't that the Word "contains" life and light; He is life and light.
Therefore, without Jesus, we are dead and in darkness. We are lost.
Significantly, man has an inborn fear towards both death and darkness.


John 1:5 says, “And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.” (NKJV)
The word translated “comprehend” can have two meanings.
It can mean to comprehend or grasp mentally, or it can mean to overcome or take hold of something in the sense of mastering it physically.
If it refers to creation, then John’s meaning is that when God said, “Let there be light,” it overcame the darkness.
If you turn on a light in a dark room, the darkness loses and the light prevails.
John uses the present tense here, which probably focuses on Jesus’ coming to earth and the conflict between Him and the powers of darkness that unfold in this Gospel.
They crucified Him, but He arose and conquered the darkness.
His salvation conquers the spiritual darkness in every heart that trusts in Him.

But the word may also be translated as to understand or grasp mentally.
This meaning also fits a theme in this Gospel.
So perhaps John’s use of this ambiguous term has both meanings: the darkness will not overcome the Light as it comes through Jesus.
The ‘darkness’ was not made by Him, but it is there, and the beams of the light have to contend with it.
Also, the darkness cannot comprehend the Light, unless Jesus opens their blind eyes to see.
The light cannot lose against the darkness; the darkness will never overcome it.
The Word is the source of all life.

The Word became flesh

Now we have reached the last part of the study.

John 1:14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. (NKJV)

The logos, that is, the plan, purpose and wisdom of God, “became flesh”
That means, the logos came into concretion or physical existence in Jesus Christ.
Jesus is the “image of the invisible God” (Colossians 1:15) and His chief emissary, representative and agent.
Because Jesus perfectly obeyed the Father, he represents everything that God could communicate about Himself in a human person.
As such, Jesus could say, “If you have seen me, you have seen the Father” (John 14:9).

The fact that the logos “became” flesh shows that it did not exist that way before.
There is no pre-existence for Jesus in human form.
But He existed as the plan, purpose or wisdom of God for the salvation of man.

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.
This statement would have amazed both Jewish and Greek thinking to hear that the Word became flesh.
The Greeks had a generally low view of God.
To them, John says the Word became flesh.

In the Greek mythology, there were a superior god and many lesser gods.
For them the Logos or the order and reason was superior to even super gods.
So the ancient Greek gods such as Zeus and Hermes were simply super-men; they were not equal to the Logos.
But John tells the Greek thinkers, "The Logos you know made and ordered the universe became flesh."

The Jews had a generally prohibitive view of God.
To them, John says the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.
The Jews had a hard time accepting that the great God revealed in the Old Testament could take on human form.
John says to the Jewish thinkers, "the Word of God became flesh."


The first chapter of John gives us a glimpse inside the Father-Son relationship before Jesus came to earth in human form.
He preexisted with the Father (verse 1),
He was involved in the creation of everything (verse 3)
And He is the "light of all mankind" (verse 4).

The Word (Jesus) is the full embodiment of all that is God (Colossians 1:192:9John 14:9).
But God the Father is Spirit.
He is invisible to the human eye.
The message of love and redemption that God spoke through the prophets had gone unheeded for centuries (Ezekiel 22:26Matthew 23:37).
People found it easy to disregard the message of an invisible God and continued in their sin and rebellion.

So the Message became flesh, took on human form, and came to dwell among us (Matthew 1:23Romans 8:3Philippians 2:5–11).

The Word, who became flesh and dwelt among us, Jesus Christ, was and is God.


Let me conclude.

Thanks for reading this study. May God bless you. Amen!

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