John says that Jesus is the “true light” and that He “gives light to everyone.” In other words, if we can see, know, or understand truth, it is because He has given light to us. Jesus is not only the truth but also the way to know the truth.
The college I attended offered chapel services every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Usually, we’d sing a few worship songs, and then the main speaker would come up to offer a message. Yet, before the main speaker, before the one we were excited for, came the introduction.
The introduction was often given by a student. While I was never asked to give one, people I knew from my residence hall or from classes got up to the podium to introduce the speaker. Of course, they were more qualified than others to do this because they had a personal relationship with the speaker. They not only knew about their accomplishments, but they could speak to their character.
John 1 is this kind of introduction. The stories and words of Jesus are coming, and readers anticipate those. They are the main event of the Gospel of John. And, as someone who knew Jesus personally, John offers his introduction. And here are three snapshots of how John describes his friend and Savior.
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 was not any thing made that was made. (John 1:1-3)
Immediately, we see the allusion to Genesis 1:1. The first words of John 1 speak an incredible truth. Compare them to the first words of Genesis 1:
In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.
Notice the verb created. That means the heavens and the earth were not there until the beginning. And if their creation marked the beginning, then God who did the creating was there before.
And John 1 says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God.” So John is clearly saying Jesus, the Word, was not created but pre-existent. Eternal.
Consider how God created. How did He go about it? He spoke (Genesis 1:3). And what did He do after things were created? He named them: “God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night” (Genesis 1:5). Language was essential to creation.
John, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, calls Jesus the Word. No wonder he says, “without him was not any thing made that was made.” You can’t speak without the Word.