In the last chapter we stated, "Each book of the Bible has a prominent and dominant theme which is peculiar to itself. Just as each member in the human body has its own particular function, so, every book in the Bible has its own special purpose and mission. The theme of John’s Gospel is the Deity of the Savior. Here, as nowhere else in Scripture so fully, the Godhood of Christ is presented to our view. That which is outstanding in this fourth Gospel is the Divine Sonship of the Lord Jesus. In this book we are shown that the One who was heralded by the angels to the Bethlehem shepherds, who walked this earth for thirty-three years, who was crucified at Calvary, who rose in triumph from the grave, and who forty days later departed from these scenes, was none other than the Lord of glory. The evidence for this is overwhelming, the proofs almost without number, and the effect of contemplating them must be to bow our hearts in worship before ‘the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ’ (Titus 2:13)."
That John’s Gospel does present the Deity of the Savior is at once apparent from the opening words of the first chapter. The Holy Spirit has, as it were, placed the key right over the entrance, for the introductory verses of this fourth Gospel present the Lord Jesus Christ in Divine relationships and unveil His essential glories. Before we attempt an exposition of this profound passage we shall first submit an analysis of its contents. In these first thirteen verses of John 1 we have set forth: —
1. The Relation of Christ to Time—"In the beginning," therefore, Eternal: John 1:1.
2. The Relation of Christ to the Godhead—"With God," therefore, One of the Holy Trinity: John 1:1.
3. The Relation of Christ to the Holy Trinity—"God was the Word"—the Revealer: John 1:1.
4. The Relation of Christ to the Universe—"All things were made by him"—the Creator: John 1:3.
5. The Relation of Christ to Men—Their "Light": John 1:4, 5.
6. The Relation of John the Baptist to Christ—"Witness" of His Deity: John 1:6-9.
7. The Reception which Christ met here: John 1:10-13.
(a) "The world knew him not": John 1:10.
(b) "His own (Israel) received him not": John 1:11.
(c) A company born of God "received him": John 1:12, 13.
"In the beginning was the word, and the word was with God, and the word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made" (John 1:1-3). How entirely different is this from the opening verses of the other Gospels! John opens by immediately presenting Christ not as the Son of David, nor as the Son of man, but as the Son of God. John takes us back to the beginning, and shows that the Lord Jesus had no beginning. John goes behind creation and shows that the Savior was Himself the Creator. Every clause in these verses calls for our most careful and prayerful attention.
"In the beginning was the word, and the word was with God, and the word was God." Here we enter a realm which transcends the finite mind, and where speculation is profane. "In the beginning" is something we are unable to comprehend: it is one of those matchless sweeps of inspiration which rises above the level of human thought. "In the beginning was the word," and we are equally unable to grasp the final meaning of this. A "word" is an expression: by words we articulate our speech. The Word of God, then, is Deity expressing itself in audible terms. And yet, when we have said this, how much there is that we leave unsaid! "And the word was with God," and this intimates His separate personality, and shows His relation to the other Persons of the blessed Trinity. But how sadly incapacitated are we for meditating upon the relations which exist between the different Persons of the Godhead. "And God was the word." Not only was Christ the Revealer of God, but He always was, and ever remains, none other than God Himself. Not only was our Savior the One through whom, and by whom, the Deity expressed itself in audible terms, but He was Himself co-equal with the Father and the Spirit. Let us now approach the Throne of grace and there seek the mercy and grace we so sorely need to help us as we turn now to take a closer look at these verses.
"Our God and Father, in the name of Thy dear Son, we pray Thee that Thy Holy Spirit may now take of the things of Christ and show them unto us: to the praise of the glory of Thy grace. Amen."