Summary: Have you ever wished that God would show Himself to you? Did you know that He already has? We’ll see that in our passage today as we look at the prologue to John’s gospel.
Do you ever wonder what it must be like to see God? I’ve heard it said that for us to try to see God in His fullness and completely describe Him would be like a germ trying to describe the universe. In and of Himself, God is completely incomprehensible to man. In His eternal three-in-one existence, He is completely self-sufficient. He lacks nothing. The eternal relationship between the Father, the Son and the Spirit gives God everything He ever needs. But God’s love is so immense. And His desire for His glory is so vast, that He wasn’t satisfied. Somewhere in His eternal councils, God desired to reveal Himself. He desired to be seen. He desired to be seen and magnified and glorified and praised for who He is. That’s what our passage is about this morning. In 18 short verses, this passage provides an overview of God’s self-revelation. These 18 verses serve as the prologue to John’s Gospel. A prologue is a complete overview of the theme of the book. It lays out the major theme that the whole book is going to expand on. So, do you know what the major theme of the Gospel of John is? Seeing God. Seeing the One Moses was only allowed to see the backside of His glory. Seeing the One Isaiah saw high and lifted up. Seeing the One Ezekiel saw the appearance of the likeness of the glory of, and fell on his face. You know that a few weeks ago, I broke my old glasses. When I went to replace them, my prescription had expired so I had to get a new eye exam. I think the best part of getting an eye exam is when they put the big lens machine in front of your face. The doctor sticks it up there and tells you to let him know when the letters become more clear. The first try is very blurry. You can hardly make out anything. You can tell there is something out there, but you have no idea what it is. Then the doctor flips the lenses. Wow! That makes things a lot clearer. You still can’t exactly read the letters, but you can tell that they are letters. You might be able to get a few of them right. But for the most part, you still can’t read them. If it was a sentence given for instruction, you wouldn’t be able to read it enough to follow it. Finally comes the wonderful time when he gets the lenses exactly right. You can finally see. You can read every letter perfectly and clearly. Each detail of each letter is crystal clear. That is the same flow that we see in this passage. It shows the historical flow of how God has chosen to reveal Himself. As we move through this historical flow with John we see in the first 5 verses that God reveals Himself transcendently. Look with me at 1:1-5
Since we’re talking about a blurry revelation of God, it only makes sense that I use a really blurry word to describe it. God reveals Himself transcendently. That’s a big word that simply means that God is completely outside of and beyond the world as we know it. He is without bounds or limits. He is outside of time and space. He is completely incomprehensible in His glory and beauty and power and goodness. God’s transcendence is something our minds can’t get a grasp on. When we think of God in this way, only one word comes to mind—awe. All throughout Isaiah 40, the prophet captures this idea. In verse 13 and 14, he says, “Who hath directed the Spirit of the LORD, or being his counsellor hath taught him? With whom took he counsel, and who instructed him, and taught him in the path of judgment, and taught him knowledge, and shewed to him the way of understanding?” In verse 18 he says, “To whom then will ye liken God? or what likeness will ye compare unto him?” God is God and we’re not. Unless, as a sovereign act of His divine will, He willingly chose to reveal Himself, we could never know Him. But in order that He might be glorified, He chose to reveal Himself—in the beginning. Before the foundations of the world, in the eternal councils of the Father, Son and Spirit, God purposed to reveal Himself in a creative act of the Son. Colossians 1:16 tells us that, “For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:” This One who created, who in the eternal councils of God chose to reveal God in creation is the One who John calls the Word in these verses. When we see the word “word”, a different thought comes to our mind than John intended. When we see it, we think of a word on a piece of paper or a spoken word—a piece of language. In the Greek language that John was writing in, “word” meant so much more. It was a philosophical word that was huge in meaning. It was big enough to contain all reason and all thought and all language. It was big enough to be the essence of all being. Ultimate reality. To the Greek, “word” was the answer to life’s ultimate question—“What is the reality behind all reality?” John takes their philosophical word and tells us who the Word is. He is above all and behind all. He created all and sustains all. If He had not chosen to, nothing would exist except Himself. All life is because of Him. And all light is because of Him. Even the light that shows His creation that there is a creator. Psalm 19:1 says, “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork.” Creation exists as an undeniable testimony to the existence of God. For thousands of years man has tried to deny it. He has tried to rationalize it. He has tried to give everything else in the world credit for creation other than God. But God’s creation points to God. Paul put it this way in Romans 1:20: “For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse.” But what is it exactly that creation shows us about God? It shows us that we are not Him. It shows us that He is far above us. It shows us that we can never be Him or hope to attain a relationship with Him. It shows us His transcendence. And look in verse 5 what happens when we are faced with God’s transcendence—we don’t comprehend it. When we try to figure out the vastness of God. When we try to grasp His power and His might. When we try to comprehend God just by looking at His creation, we can’t. we can’t even fully comprehend God’s creation, much less creation’s God. God is not clearly revealed in His transcendence. It is a very blurry picture. All His transcendence does is to simply serve to remove our excuses. It simply serves to show us how far short we fall from His glory. And God didn’t want to leave us in that helplessly hopelessly lost state. So not only did God reveal Himself transcendently, He chose to reveal Himself immanently. Look at verses 6-13: