Why is Jesus called the Word? It’s clear that John wants us to understand the Word as divine and eternal. He is God. Having established that, John goes on to say: “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14).
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. (John 1:1, NKJV)
If I were to open with the words, “fourscore and seven years ago,” your mind would immediately go to Abraham Lincoln’s address at Gettysburg. His words hearken back to the signing of the Declaration of Independence that brought the United States into existence and set the stage for what he had to say.
The Bible’s opening words are “in the beginning” (Gen. 1:1). It is with those words that John launches his Gospel account. He uses this familiar phrase to orient us to creation. He weaves together themes of creation, light, and life. Beyond what has been made is the eternal, uncreated God. Now, invoking the words of Genesis, John begins a new creation account.
The Synoptic Gospels – Matthew, Mark, and Luke – start their narratives with the earthly ministry of Jesus. Matthew and Luke record accounts of His birth. John, however, begins with the pre-incarnate Christ. He is eager for us to know that Jesus is God, eternal, self-existent, and uncreated. In a sense, John can’t call Him “Jesus” yet because Jesus is His given name, His human name, the name assigned Him at His birth.