Summary: 4th in a seven part series on the incarnation from John 1.
Black Friday took on a whole new meaning this last week in Valley Stream, New York when a throng of 2,000 shoppers trampled to death a worker at a Wal-Mart store there. According to witnesses, other workers were trampled as they tried to rescue the man, and customers stepped over him and became irate when officials said the store was closing because of the death. And I can’t help but wonder how many of the people in that crowd called themselves Christians and were maybe even among those who would claim to want to keep Christ in Christmas.
That incident just goes to show how much that our culture has completely dismissed the real meaning behind Christmas. But, as we’ve seen already, the beginning of John’s gospel is the only real antidote to our culture when it comes to remembering the significance of Christmas.
So as we’ve done for four weeks now, let’s read out loud together verses 1-5 and 14:
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it…The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
John 1:1-5, 14 (NIV)
For the past three weeks, we’ve focused on the first two verses where we’ve seen the “logos’” presented as eternal – He is uncreated and without beginning or end – as being a person with personality, and as begin completely God. This morning, we’re going to move on to verse 3 and discover one more attribute of the “logos”:
Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.
This verse reveals another important attribute of the “logos”:
The “logos” creating
There are two very significant aspects of the creative work of the “logos” that we’re going to focus on this morning:
1) The “logos” embodies all aspects of creation
John, as he often does in his writings, uses a positive statement accompanied by a negative statement for the purpose of emphasis. He starts with the positive – “Through Him all things were made…” The word that John uses for “all things” is a word that implies not just the creation in whole, but every single individual element of that creation. And he picks up that idea again with the negative statement that he uses for emphasis – “…without him nothing was made that has been made.” Again John is making the point that not one single thing was made that has been made apart from Jesus. John does not want to leave any doubt whatsoever that Jesus is the creator of all.
Paul gives us some even further insight into this principle in his letter to the Colossian church:
For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him.
Colossians 1:16 (NKJV)
I’m using the NKJV translation of this verse because it is one of the few English translations that accurately shows that Paul uses three different prepositions in describing the relationship of Jesus to His creation. In doing so, Paul is addressing the Greek philosophers who had long taught that everything needed a primary cause, or a plan; an instrumental plan, or a power; and a final cause, or a purpose. When it comes to creation, Jesus fulfills all three of those roles:
• The plan – primary cause (by Him)
The word “by” could also accurately be translated “in”. Paul makes it clear here that Jesus is the primary cause of creation. He, along with God the Father, planned the creation.
• The power – instrumental cause (through Him)
Jesus is also the instrument of creation. He is the power through which the creation came about. Both John, in the beginning of his gospel, and Paul, in his letter to the Colossians confirm this fact.
• The purpose – final cause (for Him)
Not only did Jesus plan the creation and then carry it out through His power, Paul writes that the creation is also “for Him”. In other words, He did it for His own pleasure.
The clear teaching of both John and Paul is that there is no aspect of creation that is not embodied in the “logos”. And once again, that is a testimony to the deity of the “logos”. Since no one but God is both uncreated and capable of creating, then the “logos” must be fully God