Summary: 2nd in a seven part series on the incarnation from John 1.
The Christmas season is so busy for all of us. There are decorations to put up, gifts to buy, parties to put together or attend. And as Christians we often bemoan the commercialization and the busyness of Christmas, but then it seems that we often get caught up in all the very same things that we lament.
The time around the very first Christmas was very busy, too. There was a census being taken, and it may also very well be that devout Jews had descended upon Jerusalem and its surrounds in order to observe the Feast of Tabernacles. The crowds and the busyness are certainly reflected by the fact that Mary and Joseph could find no suitable lodging.
But God broke into the hustle and bustle of that world in a way that very few could have even imagined. Matthew and Luke record many of the events surrounding the birth of Jesus. But, as we began to see last week, it is John, in his gospel, who provides us with the deeper meaning behind those events. Let’s read our passage out loud together:
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)
In the midst of the busyness of the day, God broke into our world as the “logos” became flesh and made his dwelling among us. Once again this morning, we’ll see how the incarnation can help us to keep from getting caught up in the busyness of the season and keep our focus where God intends for it to be.
You’ll remember from last week that the word translated “Word” in most of our English translations is the Greek word “logos”, which in Greek means much more than just “word”. It is a word that John used to describe the pre-incarnate Son of God, the second person of the triune God. So as we progress in our journey through the first part of John’s gospel, I’m going to do the very best I can to be consistent with John’s practice of referring to the Son of God as the “logos” as He existed prior to His incarnation and then use the more familiar terms like “Jesus”, “Christ” and “Lord” to refer to Him subsequent to the incarnation.
Last week, we looked at the first phrase of verse 1 and we focused on the fact that the “logos” was eternal. Since He has no beginning or end and He is uncreated, He is by definition eternal and therefore must also be God, since only God is eternal.
This morning we’ll move on to the second attribute of the “logos” which we find in the middle of verse 1 and then repeated again in verse 2:
…and the Word was with God… (v. 1)
He was with God… (v. 2)
At first glance, these two short phrases don’t appear to reveal a whole lot about the nature of the “logos”. But the fact that He was “with God” does in fact reveal a very important attribute:
The “logos” – His personality
As John opens his gospel, he is very careful to refer to the “logos” with personal pronouns such as “He” and “His” and not impersonal words like “it”. That is a very significant distinction, because he makes it quite clear that the “logos” is a distinct person and not merely an attribute or characteristic of God. And as a person, He is therefore able to be “with God” and have a relationship with Him. In other words, the “logos” is a person with his own personality.
I’m not sure that we often think of God in those terms. And in a sense that is certainly understandable. We certainly don’t want to bring God down to the human level and merely view Him as some kind of exalted human. But once we understand the terms “person” and “personality” in their proper Biblical context, then I don’t think we’ll have any problem at all with the concept of the personality of God and the corresponding personality of the “logos”.
• The term “person” is not limited to the human form
In our language, we use the term “person” to show individual identity, as we find in this definition of “person” from the Free Online Dictionary:
The composite of characteristics that make up an individual personality; the self.