If you’ve followed my blog for any time at all, you know that I love words. I love to write and to wrestle through a thought, pounding its’ meaning out on my keyboard. More than action, words come easily for me. I’m sure you’ve caught on by now that I am anything but brief when it comes to my writing! There is something about expressing my inner thoughts that just takes me a little while to explain.
Today the name of Jesus that I am studying is one of my favorites, for a word-girl like me! This is a name used only by John to describe Jesus, but it’s a rich one. If you remember, John was one of Jesus’ disciples, also known as the “beloved disciple” because he had the closest earthly relationship to Jesus. He opens his gospel account by referring to Jesus as “The Word.”
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning.” John 1:1-2
“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 1:14
Each of the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) are written to portray Jesus Christ as the central figure, but with a different audience in mind and a different emphasis about Jesus. They all agree with one another because all of the Bible is inspired by God, but they are intended to persuade differing groups of people for differing reasons.
-Matthew was written primarily to a Jewish audience to prove that Jesus is from the line of David, which would have convinced them of the Messianic prophecy that stated the Messiah would come from the house of David.
-Mark was written for the Romans, presenting Jesus as a “Servant of the Lord” to a people who were interested in what a person did, more than who they were. This is the account where the most miracles are recorded and no genealogy is included.
-Luke was written to a Greek audience, portraying Jesus as the perfect man. The Greeks were interested in the “ideal man” and Luke proved that Jesus was unlike any other man, tracing his genealogy back to Adam.
-John was written for all people and with one very important goal, to present Jesus as God. His deity is emphasized more than anything else, showing that no one else but Christ could possibly be the Son of God, confirming Him as part of the Trinity and therefore also God. This is key to know because the name John gives Him is “The Word” and it further proves this point.
The greek word for “Word” is logos. For both the Greeks and the Jews, this title would have been one that they could identify with. The Greeks were thinkers, always pondering and wondering about the ideas and thoughts of men expressed, which is what logos means. The Jews were also used to God revealing himself through His words to them. Either spoken or revealed in the Ten Commandments, the Law and through the prophets, until now, when John presents us with the idea that Jesus is also The Word of God. He is literally the revelation of the Father, the heart and character of God the Father, expressed through His Son. The Word made flesh gives us the thoughts of God, with skin on. In John 14:7-9, Jesus said of himself:
“If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know Him and have seen Him...anyone who has seen me has seen the Father.”
Hebrews 1:3 also tells us that Jesus Christ is the “exact representation of his being.” Later in first John, we again hear this same idea, that Jesus is the Word of life, brought to life and wrapped in humanity.
“That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched-this we proclaim concerning the Word of life.” 1 John 1:1
And in the last book of the Bible, as described in the vision God gave John about the last days, Jesus is painted as the Rider on the White Horse, about to come with the armies of Heaven in justice, to make war with his enemies and to judge the people of Earth. Even then, He will come down as the Word of our God. As a representative of the Father, a member of the Holy Trinity. What we see in Him, we will know about the Father.
“He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God.” Revelation 19:13
That is a lot of theology and a lot to comprehend, but why does it matter? What difference does Jesus being referred to as the Word, make in my life today? I love this title for Him because it is one of the most important things that sets Christianity apart from every other religion on Earth. Because we have a God who wants to be known, we do not have to guess about who He is, we do not have to wonder about his nature and we do not have to earn our way into his presence or work harder to be accepted by Him. Every other religion on Earth is a works-based system. You keep the rules, you obey the commands, you perform, you keep chasing an untouchable leader, and perhaps if you’ve done everything correctly you will have understood enough and done enough to be found acceptable. But there is never a guarantee. Until your dying breath you will be left wondering if it truly was enough.
But God offers us a relationship that is completely backwards to that notion.
-He acted first and is before all things
-He saw the fatal problem we all have and instead of making us claw our way back to Him, He came up with a solution to buy us back
-He came down to us
-He offers salvation and eternal life to us
-He requires nothing but faith to accept it
-He wants us to know Him
-He wanted to live with us and be like us, so he could stand in our place as our sacrifice
-He gave his life on our behalf
-He lives today and still stands in our place as mediator between us and the Father
-He gave us Jesus and the Word of God (the Bible) to see his heart, to get a glimpse of his character, to study to his ways, to have his thoughts and wisdom available to us, and to give us a way to know Him more.
For Jesus to be called The Word, is a gift for us to know the Father. To see and feel and touch and love the Creator of the Universe, that’s what the Word becoming flesh is all about. So for me? In my daily life as a woman, a wife, a mom, a sister or a friend...I can know who my God is. I can know what my God says about how to live a life that is purposeful and meaningful and worthwhile. I can look to the ultimate example of one who lived and walked in this same kind of skin and these bones and still was without sin. I have a place to run when I am confused or torn or completely clueless about what to do. The very words of my God are expressed in the pages of my Bible and in the person of Jesus.
When I’m exhausted and my kids are on my last nerve, I look at Jesus and I remember that He washed the feet of the very men who would deny and betray him hours later. When I want to make a judgement about somebody and dismiss them as one who will never learn, I think of Jesus at that well, talking to a woman who was the talk of the town and despised in every way...He made time for her and He loved her enough to be full of grace and full of truth when she needed Him most. And when I start to think that I’ve really got this Christianity thing under control, that I’m pretty good in the morality department and that surely He loves me more than the one who struggles, I cringe at the words He spoke to the Pharisees that pierce my own self-righteous heart. He’s the Word and what He said and what He did lets me know what the Father thinks of that kind of sin.
My Jesus is the grand reveal of the Father. He is the bridge between us and the One who gives me life. The Word informs my life, He informs my thinking, He informs my decision making, He informs my heart. And so much of Him has been revealed, I have only scratched the surface of knowing Him after walking with Him for over 25 years. And what’s more, I will never grow tired of going deeper with Him or reach the end. Remember that verse from Ephesians 2? He will show us the riches of His grace for ages to come! No other god can deliver that. No other god stands in comparison to that. No other god satisfies like The Word.
Maybe some questions to dwell on today…
-What difference does Jesus as The Word make in my life?
-What do I know to be true of the Father because it’s been expressed through The Word?
-Where do I usually go for words to guide me? Is it to The Word made flesh? Or do I look to mere flesh for words that tickle my ears and make me feel better?
-Whose word stands as most significant in my life?
With my kids today…
This isn’t an easy one for littles to grasp, but today we’re talking about the power of words and whose words they can trust, more than any others. I’m just reinforcing, especially with Ava, that lots of people will fill her ears with words. She’s off to Kindergarten in the Fall and there will be new words and new sources of words filling her heart and mind. We are taking every opportunity to remind her that Jesus’ Words are the Words we obey first. We’re also making brownies today, which is a great opportunity to teach her how important the words on the recipe are, the amounts and the directions. If she disregards what it says, our brownies will be pretty lousy. But if we pay attention and we read carefully, we will find success. There are so many different ways you could go with this, but for today, let’s challenge each other to share with a listening ear, the importance of our words and the importance of whose words we believe and obey.
Happy Friday, friends! Praying today that you will go to The Word for what you need most! The Father expressed in the Son, what a gift of grace that is to us. Let’s not forget what’s been given or made available to us. Let’s look to Him first and prioritize what He says more than how we feel or what we want to believe.
Jesus...the God who Saves and the Word made flesh...amazing!