The Study of the Bible
Bringing Truths from Different Books of the Bible into Focus, Perspective, and Understanding.
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.... And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.... No one has seen God at any time; the only begotten God who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him." John 1:1, 14, 18
God Revealing Himself to Man
Part 4. The Living Word of God
God’s greatest revelation of Himself has been through His Son, Jesus the Messiah. Jesus is the Living Word of God.
A. The Central Passage on Jesus Christ as the Word of God is to be found in the first chapter of John’s Gospel.
1. Jesus Christ was existing in the beginning as the Word of God. He was being with God and He was being God (John 1:1-2). Jesus is called the WORD of God because He is the fullest and most precise expression of Who God Is. They Deity of the Word is demonstrated in that all things in the physical universe without exception came into being through Him (John 1:3). In the Word exists Life, which provides Light to all men (John 1:4). Men live in the darkness. Though the darkness could not overpower the Light, neither could it comprehend the Light (John 1:5).
2. The Word, who is the precise expression of God, became flesh, i.e. human, and He dwelt among us (John 1:14). God the Word became also Jesus the Son of man, and tabernacled or tented among us humans. The word does not describe the temporary nature of His association with man. Rather it describes the amazing fact that God the Word left His normal element and abode to identify Himself permanently with mankind by becoming one of us! How amazing!! No one has ever seen God at any time, but “the only begotten God who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him” (John 1:18). Jesus, the Word, is the best explanation of who God is!
3. The Word, the Light, was in the world, which had been made through Him, but the world did not know Him. He came to His own things that He had made, but His own people did not receive Him. “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name” (John 1:9-12).
B. A profound description of Jesus Christ as the precise revelation to us humans of who God is exists in Colossians 1.
1. First, He is the image of the invisible God (Col. 1:15). God is spirit (John 4:24), and He cannot be seen (John 1:18) because He is invisible (Col. 1:15). Yet Jesus is the image (eikon – many computer users will immediately think of the word icon) of God. The word eikon (image) “does not imply a weakening or a feeble copy of something. It implies the illumination of its inner core or essence” (Thomas Constable, Dr. Constable’s Notes on Colossians, 2007 Edition, p. 13, quoting Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, s. v. “The Greek use of eikon,” by Hermann Kleinknecht, 2:389). It is accurate to say that Jesus, the Son is the accurate visible essence of invisible God the Father!
2. Second, He is “the firstborn of all creation” (Col. 1:15). This simple, yet profound statement has massive implications, which are explained in Col. 1:16-17.
a. The term firstborn (prototokos) has no reference whatever to Christ’s having been born nor, consequently, to His birth order as a human. Rather, it is a humanly understood metaphor describing the power and authority Jesus has over all of creation. Just as a firstborn son has rights and privileges as a representative of his father over all his other brothers and sisters, so the Son of the Eternal Father has supreme power and authority over all creation. Again, the reason for the Son’s authority over creation, as the text immediately following states, has nothing whatever to do with birth order but with the fact that He is Creator of all – “for by Him all things were created” (Col. 1:16). Just as a firstborn son has the right to dictate affairs in the family in which he was born, so the Son has the right to dictate what goes on in all of Creation precisely because He is the Creator.
b. The Son’s power and authority over Creation is total because he created the totality of that which exists (Col. 1:16). He created whatever exists
i. Whether in the heavens or on earth;
ii. Whether they are visible to human eyesight or invisible (whether microscopic in size or spiritual in essence);
iii. Whether they are human or spirit (angelic) thrones, dominions, rulers, and authorities – the Son made everything!
c. The text continues to state the all things were made through the Son and for the benefit of the Son (Col. 1:16)! By way of application, we human beings do not exist on this planet to fulfill our own destiny or live out our own dreams. We humans exist on this planet for the benefit of Jesus Christ. We owe it to Him to fulfill His destiny and live out His dreams! It is on that account that we will all one day be judged! Because all things were created through Him and for His benefit, it is stated that “He is before all things” (Col. 1:17). This goes beyond saying merely that Jesus Christ existed in time before He created all things. That goes without saying, though it does mean that (John 1:1; 8:58). Beyond that this statement fleshes out what is meant in Col. 1:15 that He is the “firstborn of all creation.” It means that He stands in rank before all the things He has made. It states that Jesus holds priority over all things that He has created!
d. Not only is the Son the Creator of the Universe, He is also the sustainer of the Universe. Whatever “dark matter” for which astrophysicists cannot account, whatever invisible force there is that keeps the entire universe running like clockwork, whatever mechanism there is that keeps geophysical, geothermal, biological, molecular, and atomic processes running smoothly, the Son is the One responsible. He provides the magnetic pull, the gravitational attraction, the chemical glue that synchronizes all things and keeps them in repair and order. When the Son releases His control of the Universe the entire massive entity will explode in a blazing inferno (2 Pet. 3:7, 10-12)!
1. The only logical conclusion is that Jesus Christ is fully and completely God, with all the rights and privileges thereof. He is the Living Word of God because, being physically alive and visible to us humans in His humanity, He is also the express image of God. He is God’s Living Message to us! He is God come in human flesh!
2. Without doubt, all praise and honor and glory and worship must be ascribed to Jesus Christ, and all submission must be humbly and fearfully offered to Him!
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Prepared by James T. Bartsch
December, 2008, original date of publication.
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Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE