Summary: This sermon is part of the Names of Jesus series. In this sermon we're looking at the title/name the Apostle John uses in describing Jesus as "The Word."
Names of Jesus
If you want to express yourself, you could use actions, or as they say, “Actions speak louder than words.” Or, you can use your words to convey your thoughts. Actually, the best way would be through both, allowing both your actions and words to speak to your intent.
This is exactly what God did in sending His Son, Jesus Christ. Both God’s actions and words are tied into the name the Apostle John uses in describing Jesus as “The Word.”
When Jesus Christ walked among us as “The Word,” He expressed what was on God’s mind, from His actions (performing miracles, healing sickness and disease, raising the dead, and His death and resurrection), to His words (what He taught of God’s love, forgiveness, salvation, and God’s kingdom, to His prophetic words of His death, resurrection, and eventual return).
This is all tied up in the first several verses found in John’s gospel, which is probably one of the most compact statements about Jesus, from his existence from all eternity, to His identity as being God, and then His relationship with both God and man.
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.” (John 1:1-5 NKJV)
John begins his Gospel the same way the Genesis account begins in the Old Testament, “In the beginning.” (Genesis 1:1) But Jesus achieved what 4,000 years of law never could and never did, and that is humanity's salvation, that is, bringing humanity back into a right relationship with God. You might say that after 4,000 years, Jesus reset history.
In our passage John says that “The Word,” which we will see is a name for Jesus, is fulfilling the plan God had in mind all along.
So powerful is the truth found in this name the Apostle John uses that he couldn’t help using it again in his first letter to the church.
“That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, concerning the Word of life—the life was manifested, and we have seen, and bear witness, and declare to you that eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested to us.” (1 John 1:1-2 NKJV)
John is telling us that Jesus is the exact representation of who God the Father is, both in His actions and words.
The writer of Hebrews sums it up rather nicely saying that Jesus was the brightness of God’s glory and the express image of His person, Hebrews 1:3a.
Jesus didn’t mince words of this reality when Philip asked Jesus to show them the Father. He said, “He who has seen Me has seen the Father.” (John 14:9b NKJV)
John uses the Greek word 'Logos' or "The Word" to describe Jesus. But what does this name, “Logos,” or “The Word,” mean?
Merriam-Webster brings out two definitions
(1) “The divine wisdom manifest in the creation, government, and redemption of the world and often identified with the second person of the Trinity.”
(2) “As reason that in ancient Greek philosophy is the controlling principle in the universe.
Therefore, the word John uses, “Logos,” resonates with both Jew and Gentile.
The Jewish thought concerning this word we see in the Scriptures.
The term is used referring to God’s healing and deliverance.
“He sent His word and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions.” (Psalm 107:20 NKJV)
The term was also used as the agent of creation.
“By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, and all the host of them by the breath of His mouth.” (Psalm 33:6 NKJV)
The “word of the Lord” was God’s message to His people through the prophets.
“The beginning of the word of the LORD by Hosea,” (Hosea 1:2 KJV)
The Jews also saw it as the standard for holiness found in the law.
“Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You.” (Psalm 119:11 NKJV)
We could say that in the Jewish mind, “The Word” is the full and complete expression of God
But the word, “logos,” also had a history in Greek philosophy, which would have resonated with the Gentile believers. It was commonly used relating to reason and thought, and was thought as being the primary principle in shaping and directing the universe.
Either way, the name, term, or title, “The Word,” refers to the universe’s controlling agent, and there is really no other term that holds more meaning to both Jews and Greeks.