John 1:1-5 — a meditation
1 In the beginning was the Word —
the decree of the heavenly sovereign bringing shape and significance to a formless void,
the decree bringing light into darkness,
the decree bringing life into barrenness,
the decree that makes life productive,
the decree that makes humans his regal agents.
This Word is not other than God; he has his being in relation to God.
The Word was God: God revealed, God expressed.
2 We’ve heard him only recently, but the Word has always had his being in relation to God, from the beginning.
3 Everything exists because of this divine Word;
not a single thing exists apart from him, the ground of our being.
4 Life sprang forth from him.
His life lights up humanity.
5 Resisting the Word leaves humanity with a dark side, but his light shines in the darkness.
The darkness has not grasped God’s decree that there be light.
The darkness has not held God’s Word in the grave.
John 1:1–5 (NIV)
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 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.
4 In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.
5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
Behind the meditation
I’ve never been introduced to anyone the way John introduces the main character of his biography. It feels like an environmental portrait — placing a character in their setting, like a gardener amongst shrubs, or a teacher surrounded by children.
The background for Jesus’ portrait is the world — everything God designed in the beginning, everything that will come together in the end. And even that frame isn’t big enough. Jesus bursts out of the frame: as someone who was there before it all began.
The world we know is marred by dark shadows, shadows that make no sense of God’s decree that there be light. But the frame cannot obscure Jesus’ portrait; rather he lights us up.
He’s the Word, the expression of God. He was there in the beginning. He has entered the picture, and the present darkness will not stand before him. That’s the story John is about to tell.