The message of John is about the divine nature (deity) of Christ and the fact that Jesus is God. He said, “I and the Father are one. If you’ve seen Me, you’ve seen the Father.” Thomas called Him, “My Lord and My God.” Titles are given to Jesus that belong only to God, like the eternal judge, the holy One, the first and the last, the Lord of the Sabbath, the Savior, the Mighty God, the Lord of Lords, the Alpha and Omega, the King of kings and the Redeemer. God is eternal, omnipresent, omniscient, omnipotent, immutable, sovereign and all glorious and all of those things are said of Christ as well.
The most concise statement in all the Bible on the incarnation, on God becoming man, is found in verse 14, “The Word became Flesh,” God became a man. John is saying that God came into the world in the man Jesus.
To the Jew, the Word had even more meaning. In the Old Testament, you will read many times, “The Word of the Lord came” to so-and-so. The Word of the Lord was simply God revealing Himself, His person, His nature, His will, His wisdom, His truth. The Word of the Lord was the expression of the personal God, the true and living God of the Old Testament. By His Word, God had spoken. Hebrews 1 says, “Through many means in many ways, in time past, through the prophets God spoke. John is saying that the revelation of God, the disclosure of God, the manifestation of God is now incarnate. The expression of God’s nature, will, wisdom, truth is embodied. That is why Hebrews 1:1-2 says, “God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets.”
So the Word is the personal God to the Jew in flesh. Jesus then is God in human flesh. He is the Word of the living God and He uses that term because it covers both the Gentiles and the Jews. Psalm 138:2 says, “For You have magnified Your word above all Your name.” God and His Word are one and the same because if God doesn’t speak, we do not know anything about Him. When He does speak, everything He speaks is consistent with who He is.
God is unchanging and not at any point incomplete. And yet, He became a man. The Incarnation was that event when God took on the fullness of humanity while remaining fully God. Two natures not mingled, fused together in indivisible oneness, in one person, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Christ’s humanity is not an illusion or some mental experience. It is not a mere appearance. He took on humanity. Hebrews 2 says, “He partook of flesh and blood.” He lived in this world for thirty-three years, thirty of them as a man among men with no indications that He was any other than a human being, till He began His ministry. The clearest representation of God ever was the incarnation of Christ. Jesus is the Word who became flesh.
First of all, John shows us that the Word became flesh by virtue of His pre-existence. Remember, verse started with, “In the beginning was the Word.” That phrase is taken right out of Genesis 1:1, “In the beginning God made the heavens and the earth.” It refers to the original beginning of everything that exists. In other words, Jesus was already in existence when everything that exists came into existence while the Word already was. At the point where everything began, He already was in pre-existence. John does not say, “In the beginning the Word came into existence.” That is very important. Jesus is not God’s competitor, He is God. In John 17 He prays at the end of His incarnation, looking at the cross, “Restore to Me the glory I had with You before the world began.”
God the Father gives testimony to His relationship to the Son in Luke 3:22 at the baptism when He says, “This is My beloved Son.” As He is outside the creation and before time, He is eternal. And if He is eternal, He is God.
Secondly, John is of the co-existence of Christ. Back to verse 1, “… and the Word was WITH God, and the Word WAS God.” Therein lies the mystery of the Trinity. He is as much God as the Father is God. The Word is not a message from God, the Word is God.
Then thirdly, there is His self-existence. His self-existence relates to the essence of His nature. Verse 4 says, “In Him was Life.” John 5:26 again says that in God is life and in the Son is life. He wasn’t given life or received life, He possesses it as an essential of His nature. That is why Jesus would say things like, “I’m the Way, the Truth, and the Life.” This is is foundational to the Christian faith. Unless you believe this, you cannot be saved. Altering the foundational realities of the identity of Jesus Christ is a damning act, very popular in false religions.
Jesus is the source of life. This is the foundational reality of all realities. In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth and He gave life to everything that has life, because life is in Him. Sadly we see massive effort to deny the creation account of Genesis 1 today. Get rid of the creation and you can get rid of the Creator. If you get rid of the Creator, you can live the way you want because there is no recourse for your sin.
That is why Acts 17:28 says, “For in him we live, and move, and have our being…” He came into the world as that eternal life and when He arrived, the light was on. In John 8:12 He sais ““I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”
There is certainly distinction between life and light but they are fused together. Life is the principle, while light is simply the illustration. The preexistent, coexistet, self-existent life of God in human form in Jesus became the light of men. In other words, when He showed up, the light went on and overcame the darkness of ignorance. As God and the Word are the same, light and life are the same. The light combines with life and manifests itself.
When God appeared in the Old Testament on many occasions as light. It’s called the Shekinah, blazing light. We see that with Moses when He showed up at the tabernacle, when He showed up at the temple, when He led them by a pillar of light during the day, and cloudy light and fire by night. Jesus is the eternal life of God in human flesh, manifesting like light shining in the darkness of a sinful world. Verse 5 says, “The light shines in the darkness. There was nothing like this ever.”
1 John 2:8 says, “The darkness is passing away and the true light is already shining.” As Christ came, and as He began to appear and manifested Himself at the beginning of His ministry, the darkness began to be dispelled and it could not overpower the light of His life.
Verses 6 to 8 mention that there was a man sent from God, a prophet, to give testimony and that prophet was John the Baptist. He came to testify about the light, He pointed to Christ so that all might believe through Him. He wasn’t the light, but He came to testify about the light. Jesus came in to display the life of God like light in a dark world. Verse 9 says there was the true light which coming into the world. Jesus was the Word made flesh and the light coming into the world. He enlightens every man who knows about Him, who ever hear or read of Him.
In verse 10 we read, “He was in the world and the world was made through Him.” That is how we know Jesus is God. The world was made through Him and the world didn’t know Him. They still don’t. Verse 11 says, “He came to His own,” and now he is talking about Israel, His own, “My people” as He refers to them repeatedly in the Old Testament. His own people who had all the prophecies telling them that He was coming didn’t receive Him. They killed Him, along with the nations, the Romans.
In verses 12 and 13 we read, “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 who were born not of blood nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.”
Not only is the Word, the Lord Jesus, the Creator of the material universe, but He is also the Creator of His own family through spiritual creation. He is the one who creates the material world and He is the one who creates His own spiritual family.” They were born of God, not by any human means, not by blood, the will of the flesh or the will of man. This is a spiritual creation by God. We become His new creation, created in Christ Jesus unto good works.
In John 20 as John closes his gospel, he says, “These things that I’ve written to you, I’ve written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God and that by believing you may have life in His name.” He also says in chapter 1: 12, “To those who believe in His name.” His name is who He is. To believe in His name is not to believe that His name was Jesus, but to believe in the fullness of His person.
(Source: My Bible studies, based on John MacArthur’s sermons)