“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”
Is there a more sublime sentence ever written than the opening line of the Gospel of John?
John’s Gospel is different from the Gospels of Luke, Mark, and Matthew in several ways. Among these differences is that John had the closest relationship to Jesus of the four Gospel writers. At the outset of Luke’s book, he states that he was neither a witness nor an apostle of Jesus. There is no personal relationship described between Mark and Jesus. His book is thought to be the transcribing of speeches given by Peter. Certainly Peter was close to Jesus, perhaps the closest of all the apostles, but Peter did not author the Gospel. Matthew was an apostle but only is highlighted in the Gospels in one scene: when Jesus said “follow me” while Matthew was on duty as a tax collector. Jesus then joins Matthew for dinner and is challenged by the Pharisees who ask why Jesus eats and drinks with tax collectors and sinners. Jesus answers:
“I have come to call not the righteous but the sinners to repentance.” (Luke 5:32)
While Luke and Mark did not appear to have a personal relationship with Jesus and Matthew’s relationship is cited only briefly, John was unique among the four Gospel authors. He was both close to Jesus — he was referred to as “the beloved disciple”— as well as an author.
John knows Jesus more deeply than the other Gospel authors. When he writes the opening line of his Gospel, he is being literal in stating that Jesus is the Word of God. God wanted His voice heard and so He sent Jesus to the people of the world:
“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.” (John 1:14)
Jesus is God’s Word. Through him, we know what God, the Father of all, wants to tell us:
“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.” (John 3:16)
“This is indeed the will of my Father that all who see the Son and believe in him may have eternal life; and I will raise them up on the last day.” (John 6:40)
“As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. (John 15:9 – 10)
And when he was resurrected from death:
“Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” (John 20:21)
Jesus is the Word.
These Gospel stories are re-imagined in the book series:
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