“The events of the biblical story do not begin in history, or even with God’s first act of creation Genesis 1:1. Other passages tell us things that happened before that creative act. So the story of Scripture begins with God existing in the eternal, glorious fellowship of the Holy Trinity (John 17:5).” – John Frame, Systematic Theology, p. 59.
Easter Sunday is right around the corner, and as we move toward that most important of holidays for us Christians, we have to begin before time in order to get a grasp on what John tells us at the opening of his evangelistic account of Jesus’ life.
John 1:1-5 (CSB) 1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 All things were created through him, and apart from him not one thing was created that has been created. 4 In him was life, and that life was the light of men. 5 That light shines in the darkness, and yet the darkness did not overcome it.
John 1:14 (CSB) 14 The Word became flesh and dwelt among us. We observed his glory, the glory as the one and only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.
The “Word” here is none other than Jesus, and John tells us that Jesus is God, Jesus was with God in the beginning, Jesus is the creator of all things, Jesus possesses life, and Jesus contrasts with and conflicts with darkness. The “Word”, Jesus, then becomes flesh at God’s determined point in history and puts on display the glory of God as the Son of God from the Father.
Jesus is not merely a man. Jesus is the God/Man. Jesus is the eternal Son of God the Father.
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit have made a plan before time begins that the Father would give the Son a people and that these people would see and enjoy the Triune God’s glory, but these people would have to be rescued from some state that prevents them from seeing God’s glory. These people are cut off from seeing, knowing, and enjoying the God who created them.
There is no way to fully unpack the mysterious and glorious nature of this eternal covenant of redemption between the Trinity on this side of the eternal kingdom, but it is there, and there is some degree of marveling at it that we need to engage in.
So, rather than fumble all over my words, I’d just simply like to invite you to journey with me in trying to wrap our hearts and minds around this glorious and mysterious truth.
John’s opening words reveal quickly that there is a problem, and students of the bible already know what it is and where it started. But if you are just beginning in John’s account, we can see enough in John 1:1-5 to know there is a darkness problem and it is trying to put out the light that Jesus is bringing.
This conflict will come to an awful battle soon, and in the meantime, we are going to see the darkness come at Jesus and we are going to see God’s message of Jesus overcome and shed more and more light into the darkness.
God has sent one, John the Baptist (not the John writing this account) ahead to announce who Jesus is, and he readily confesses his role from Isaiah 40:3 when asked who he is. He is the voice of one crying out that Jesus has come, and to make a path for people to hear Jesus’ good news.
The next day, John the Baptist sees Jesus coming and proclaims, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! This is the one I told you about: After me comes a man who ranks ahead of me, because he existed before me.” – John 1:29, 30
John knows who Jesus is, and John begins to hand off his short-lived ministry of preparing for Jesus to the eternal God/Man Jesus who ranks ahead of him because he existed long before him. Wow. Don’t doubt. Just marvel.
Jesus begins to call his first disciples who will see God’s glory put on display and be tasked with carrying the good news they don’t yet fully understand to the whole world. They don’t understand it because there are some really hard things for Jesus to accomplish before his mission is going to dawn on them. There will be some hard conflict as the Light of the world battles with the darkness of a curse that has far too long held its way. But don’t be fooled. The win is not in doubt. This is one of the lessons Jesus’ disciples will have to learn, to trust him.
Resurrection: Jesus has come for a war that he will win, and we get to journey with him to that final victory. This journey will reveal who God is, God’s love of us, God’s call on our lives, and the joy God gives us to be caught up in his story.