Summary: A theological inquiry into the divine nature of Jesus Christ; His glorious pre-existence in the godhead and his condescension to human flesh.
ï¿½Of Tents and Timeless Worldsï¿½ by Matthew Everhard. A sermon on John 1:1-18. Originally preached at Hudson Presbyterian Church on March 25th 2007.
The Prince: Soren Kierkegaard the Danish theologian tells a story about a certain kingdom with a handsome prince. Now the prince was searching for a woman worthy enough to become his wife and to rule the land with him. But no one in the royal court could be found to please him. One day as he was running an errand for his father he glanced out the window of his golden-carriage and he happened to see a beautifully stunning maiden working in the fields. He was instantly struck. And so he decided to pursue her. He had a choice: he could show up at her village with his splendid uniform and six-horse carriage, and his entourage of attendants. But then how would he know if she truly loved him? She could just agree because she was overwhelmed by his power, of out of fear of punishment, or even out of greed. And so he chose an alternate plan: he endeavored to remove his royal garments (no more crown, nor scepter, nor purple robes!) and don the ragged clothing of a peasantï¿½tattered pants, worn shoes. Next he moved into the village and took a job as a common laborer. He worked his way into her life, placing himself in her path. And his wooing worked! The fairy tale ends as all fairy tales do. Itï¿½s the kind of story Disney would make a movie out of, or fathers would tell their daughters. As a parable, it has its flaws. Yet Kierkegaard saw a much deeper reality than a childrenï¿½s storyï¿½the truth of the incarnation of Christ.
The Apostle John: Begins His gospel with the truth of the Word-made-flesh. John has an amazing gift of writing. Of all the books in the New Testament, The Gospel of John has the simplest vocabulary. First year Greek students can begin translating it in a few months time. And yet if you had to ask which of the four gospels is the most profound, the most theological, the most stirringï¿½John takes it hands down. Only a real master can do that. He writes as one who has spent much time with Jesus. Johnï¿½s One Goal: In these first 18 verses of his gospel, called the prologue, John has one simple goal: to introduce his readers to his love, his passion, his consuming drive in life: Jesus Christ the Messiah. (Thatï¿½s a pretty worthy goal isnï¿½t it? To introduce human souls to Jesusï¿½and then get out of the way!)
John 1:1: In the Beginning was the Word. Like any good writer, his first task is to draw in his audience. Even from the first line of the first verse, John has done something amazing. In six short words, John has connected with both his Jewish and his Gentile readers. How has he done that? For the Hebrews: He has started off his gospel with the same words that the book of Genesis began with, as if to say, ï¿½the story that I am about to tell you is a continuation of the Creation story!ï¿½ His Jewish readers would instantly connect. John says I am going to tell you about the One is who is both the continuation and the fulfillment of our ancient Creation story. He is called the Word because God spoke creation into existence.
The Logos: And yet in that same first line, John has also struck a chord with his Gentile audience as well. How has he done that? You see, John begins the prologue with the Greek concept of the ï¿½Logosï¿½ which we translate as the ï¿½Word.ï¿½ For the Greeks the ï¿½Logosï¿½ was a philosophical concept of a sort of impersonal force that guided or governed the universe. The Logos was viewed as a mindless ever-present Reason that steered all events even creation itself. And so John is essentially saying, ï¿½What you once thought was a blind, impersonal force, I am going to reveal to you as a loving savior! A divine redeemer! A promised deliverer!
Three Truths About the Logos: And so in this first verse alone, the Apostle John introduces three truths about the Logos that we can only scratch the surface of this morning.
1) First of all this person called the Logos is timeless. In the beginning was the Word. He has existed for all eternity past. John is not saying that the Logos came into being at Creation, but rather that He has already existed when all other things were made. This is clear in verse 1:3 when he writes: all things came into being through him and without Him not one thing came into being. Did you hear that? In other words, not even one thing was created without Him involved in the process!