The Word of life existed from the beginning. We have heard it. We have seen it. We observed and touched it. This life was revealed to us. We have seen it, and we testify about it. We are reporting to you about this eternal life that was in the presence of the Father and was revealed to us. This is the life we have seen and heard. We are reporting about it to you also so that you, too, can have a relationship with us. Our relationship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. We are writing this so that we can be completely filled with joy. This is the message we heard from Christ and are reporting to you: God is light, and there isn’t any darkness in him. (I John 1:1-5)
Jesus is described in two ways in this passage.
Jesus is described as the WORD. John also depictsJesus this way in John 1:1, “In the beginning was the word. . . and the word was made flesh.”
What is the Word? Creation is associated with the Word. God spoke things into existence.
- Through him (the word) all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.
The word is also associated with wisdom.
- “The Lord brought me forth as the first of his works, before his deeds of old; I was formed long ages ago, at the very beginning, when the world came to be. . . I was there when he set the heavens in place, when he marked out the horizon on the face of the deep. . . Then I was constantly at his side. I was filled with delight day after day, rejoicing always in his presence, rejoicing in his whole world and delighting in mankind.” Prov 8:22-23, 27
What can we learn from these verses? That Jesus is the executor of God’s will. That God delighted in man from the beginning. That the creative process made God and Jesus rejoice. (I love that. When I look around nature, I also am filled with delight and rejoice with God.)
The creative process. We have an idea. We “brainstorm” this idea and shape it into a plan. Then we formally articulate our plan. And finally we execute it.
Jesus is that instrument by which an idea comes to fruition. He is a force of creation. Thus, it made perfect sense for him to come to earth, to be made flesh. He could create a spiritual life on earth. He could create a new covenant. He could create a new order, the perfect priesthood, forgiveness of sins, a way for God to dwell with man, a way for man to live forever.
So when John says the word was made flesh, John says he saw that Jesus was much more than a man. He saw that Jesus had a supernatural force of creation in him and the power to execute God’s will. And when we look at Jesus, we see the same thing. He had power over the elements, over disease, over death, even.
It is interesting to note that even with this power, Jesus was still in submission to God. He prayed, “Not my will, but yours be done.” He said, “Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.” (John 5:19)
Jesus is described as LIGHT. In the Bible, light is used as as the depiction of divine holiness and goodness. The prophesies about the Messiah describe him as the arrival of a wonderful beacon of hope.
- Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you. See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples, but the Lord rises upon you and his glory appears over you. Is 60:1-2
- “because of the tender mercy of our God, by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven to shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the path of peace.” Luke 1:78
- But for you who revere my name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its rays. And you will go out and frolic like well-fed calves. Mal 4:2
If Jesus is the Word, and he is light, what does that mean for us?
- That when we pray, we are praying in the name of the executor of God’s will. Jesus is by nature the one who can carry out our requests.
- That when we have God dwelling in us, the Holy Spirit, we have this incredible power of creation available to us.
- That just as Jesus delighted in creation, we too can delight in creation, both of the physical world and the spiritual one. We can be in awe of the wonders of nature around us. We can be in awe that we can help create the new kingdom of God. And it is a part of our spiritual nature to want to create and build the church.
- That we need to draw close to Jesus to combat the darkness in our lives — depression, hopelessness, negativity.
- That we can see that we have incredibly GOOD NEWS for others. Our message is the same as that in I John 1:7: “God is light, in him is no darkness at all.” We want to help people see just how good and loving God is.
- That being light also means that God is holy, and we need to teach people how to fear God.
“You have enlarged the nation and increased their joy” (Is 9:3) This is what the creation process of Jesus was — to expand the kingdom, and to bring an age of joy to everyone.
In this Christmas season I think of the words of the chorus of the hymn, “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen:” “Oh tidings of comfort and joy.” That is what we have, and what we carry to others, now and always.