Summary: Our true vocation in life is to bear witness to the light, to reflect the glory of God, to mirror His majesty, to glorify Him.
Jesus is called many things in Scripture. In the Gospel of John alone, he is called the Lamb of God, the light of the world, the bread of life, the gate of the sheep. He is even called a Vine. But here in chapter 1 he is called “the Word.” And there’s a reason for that. In Jesus, God is saying something to us, something we dare not miss. Jesus is what we might call “God’s Word on the street.” He came down from heaven, took upon himself our humanity, moved in on our block, so to speak, and nothing has been the same since. So, lean forward in your seat, cup your hand to your ear if you must, but do not miss what God wants to tell you through his Son, Jesus Christ, the Living Word.
The very first verse in the Gospel of John says, “In the beginning was the Word.” When you read that verse, you can’t miss the connection between it and the very first verse of the Bible, Genesis 1:1. There we also read the words, “In the beginning.” And what follows, of course, is the account of creation.
Now, I want you to notice something. I want you to take note of the parallels between Genesis 1 and John 1. John says about Jesus, the Living Word, that “all things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made.” So, just as in Genesis, here in John we start off with what? the creation.
And how does Genesis tell us that God brought the creation into being? It was by the spoken word, wasn’t it? How does it go? “And God said, ‘Let there be…,’ and there was…” (Gen. 1:3). God spoke words, and called into being things that were not. And now John makes it clear that the Word through which God created all that is was none other than Jesus Christ. “The Word was with God,” John says, “and the Word was God.”
At the outset of the book of Hebrews, we read that “long ago and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son” (Heb. 1:1f.). That is what John is telling us. God has spoken to us by his Son. And what is he telling us?
He’s telling us that, since God created everything that is, your life and mine has purpose. We live in a time when the consensus no longer rests with creation. Many voices, high sounding voices, seemingly intelligent voices, tell us that there is no such thing as a creator, and so what we call the creation is not a creation at all. It is simply a vast empty cosmos.
Now, if that were true, it would mean that there is no design, because there is no designer. And if there is no design, there is no point, no purpose. Your life and mine would be essentially meaningless. But the Scriptures counter such a view. The Bible declares that there is a Creator and that the creation is ordered according to his plan.
So what’s the plan? The plan is that everything will reflect the glory of the Creator. That’s the point of it all, and that is the substance of life’s purpose.
Think about it this way. What’s the first thing God created? According to Genesis, what was it? It was light, wasn’t it? “And God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light.” Go back to John. What is the first thing he mentions when he tells us that all things were created through and by the Living Word, Jesus Christ. It’s light, isn’t it? Verse 4 says, “In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”
Already we see a conflict between the light and the darkness, don’t we? “The shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” Believe me, it’s tried. The darkness always seeks to extinguish the light, but it will never succeed.
Now, notice what John says next. Just like in Genesis, the creation of light is first, then the rest of the universe, and then what follows? The creation of man. Isn’t that what we see in Genesis? “Then God said” – again, notice that God’s creative power is exerted through the spoken word – “then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image…’” (Gen. 1:26). And so, John, following the pattern of Genesis, talks about creation. He talks about light. And now he says, what? “There was a man…” (John 1:6). There was a man. And what does John say about him? “He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light…. He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light.” The man, of course, had a name. It was John. He was not the same John who wrote the Gospel, but rather John the Baptist. The point I want you to see, however, is the order in which the Gospel introduces things to us: creation, light, man, or humankind.