In the midst of negativism John’s message of good news impacts the world with hope. He uses the word that his ethnically mixed audience of Greeks and Jews would understand . . . Logos. The meaning emerges as the “Word” with a capital “W”. The Jewish community grasped logos as the powerful and creative action of God that would bring light and life to men and women. The Greek community who was influenced by Heraclitus and Philo understood logos as the creating and directing power of God. Philo specifically interpreted logos as an intermediary between the world and God.
William Barclay says that John synthesizes the Greek and Jewish understanding of Logos by telling them that in Christ Jesus this creating, illuminating, controlling sustaining mind of God had come to earth in human form, Jesus. No longer did the human race need to guess and grope for meaning of life. All they had to do was look at Jesus and know the mind of God. (The Daily Study Bible, John vol. 1)
How does this impact the person facing life in the year 2004? Every way!
Life Begins in the Word-Jesus. (v. 4-5).
Life shirks the darkness as light pours into it from God’s logos . . . His Word . . . His Son, Jesus. The writer John relates to his readers that Jesus has been from before the evolution of time (Gen. 1:1; John 1:1). As a pastor I have had people express that the God of the Old Testament is a God of harshness, vengeance, sternness, and is just plain disagreeable and stubborn. Those same people paint the New Testament Jesus as loving, kind, gentle and always agreeable. They picture a dichotomy between Jesus and God. John blows the theory of a dichotomy to pieces as he conveys the thought that the loving New Testament Jesus is the same Old Testament God in nature, character and personality. They are truly the same person. The God of the Old Testament loves us so much that He gave us the incarnate Jesus who is Himself in human form (John 3:16).
If you feel unloved, take hope, you are loved!
If you feel uncared, for take encouragement; you are cared for today.
If you feel rejected, take joy, for you are never excluded in God’s plans.
God’s love through Jesus is like a stream that never dries up, even in the hot deserts of life.
Life Begins in a Word of Faith. (v.6-7).
“A life of faith is a life of gratitude-it means a life in which I am willing to experience my complete dependence upon God and to praise and thank him unceasingly for the gift of being” (Henri Novwen, Show Me the Way).
John the Apostle pulls John the Baptist in as a witness to the Word of God . . . this personal Logos. John echoes the Old Testament prophets by reminding the reader that without transforming faith, life is a sham.
This faith transforms hearts that are thirsting for God. (Isaiah 55:1-12a). This faith transforms the outcasts of life. (Zephaniah 3:19). This faith transforms the outlook on life. (Haggai 1:7-8).
Life Begins in a Word of Action. (v.8-9).
Jesus’ entrance into the world gives light and life for everyone. His coming actively dispels doubt, despair and death.
To the unbeliever there is doubt as to God’s love, glory or hope; but to the believer, God’s action of giving Jesus removes the doubts.
To the unbeliever despair snaps at their heels continuously. Pessimism over the haunting display of terror and sin hangs over them like a cloud in the sky. “Where is this world heading?” is the dominating question of the world. To the believer there is the blessed assurance that life is in God’s hands and hope abounds in the crucible of life.
To the unbeliever death is the end of everything. There is nothing to look forward to once we are in the grave. The believer knows that the Word of promise gives life beyond the tomb and Jesus leads the way! (Luke 24:6). This world is not our permanent home. We are but pilgrims passing this way for a short time traveling to our eternal home with God.
The more we understand the Word of God, the more we understand the Word from God.
Sermon brief provided by Derl G. Keefer, Adult Ministries Coordinator, Church of the Nazarene, Kansas City, MO