“In the beginning … the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” John i.1
John’s Gospel, unlike Matthew and Luke, begins with a radical and bold confession. John testifies that the “Word” (Logos in Greek) was with God in the beginning. This “Word” who is co-eternal with God, therefore, is divine.
This is a bold confession because John’s primary audience, the Jews, believed that God is One – that there is only one Person in the Godhead. “Hear, O Israel! The LORD your God is One.” They were not prepared to consider the possibility of more than one Person in the Godhead. How could John expect to get his monotheistic readers to believe that the Logos was present with God in the beginning and that the Logos was God alongside Yahweh?
Although Israel believed that God created the heavens and the earth, they had also been introduced to the breath (spirit) and the word that proceeded from God. God’s breath hovered over the deep and His word called into being everything from nothing. The spoken *word* of God was enshrined in the Torah and the Prophets. The Jews counted their holy Scriptures to be the fountain of divine wisdom and the light that illuminated their dark paths.
It wasn’t therefore too difficult for John to introduce both the breath of God and the word of God as two distinct divine Persons in perfect unity with God. God’s revelation enshrined in the Scriptures pointed to the ultimate divine self-revelation in the Person of the Logos. The Jews knew the written word. They needed an encounter with the living Word in order to receive God’s life. “The law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.” (i.17)
Most Jews of Jesus’ time were unwilling to believe that Jesus was God’s ultimate and unique self-revelation. Therefore Jesus told them, “You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life.” (John v. 39, 40)
Christians too can make the same mistake. We too might get tempted to limit ourselves to searching the Scriptures at the expense of cultivating a personal relationship with the Logos.Or, we might cultivate a devotion to the Logos and neglect the Paraclete, God’s Spirit, altogether! The Triune God, including the Logos and the Spirit, deserve our love, worship, loyalty and obedience.