So the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son. (John 1:14 NLT)
In the original Greek that the Gospel of John was written in, “the Word” is rendered as Logos. More than 500 years prior to John, the Greek philosopher Heraclitus was the first to use logos to refer to a philosophical concept. Much of his teachings concerning logos are a bit muddled, though they can be best summarized by his own words: “For this reason it is necessary to follow what is common. But although the Logos is common, most people live as if they had their own private understanding.” Later philosophers – such as Aristotle and the Stoics – further refined the concept of logos to suit their needs. By the time the book of John was written, in certain circles logos had taken on a kind of agency all its own, both as the source of and the instrument of universal truth, something we could tap into.
John takes this idea and builds on it. Logos is not just the source of truth, it is the source of everything. Logos is not just the instrument behind logic and reason, it is the one who set the world – both seen and unseen – in motion. The Word spoken in Genesis 1 is also the One who spoke it. As John writes of it, the concept of Logos – the Word – is intrinsic to our understanding of who God is and how he interacts with our world. The philosopher and theologian Paul Tillich states, “He who sacrifices the Logos principle sacrifices the idea of a living God, and he who rejects the application of this principle to Jesus as the Christ rejects his character as Christ.”
For Jesus to be the Messiah, the one who redirects the course of history and redeems our world, he must be at the center of all things – not just at the beginning but continually, throughout all time. This would also mean he currently is active and vibrant in our world; he has “made his home among us” and continues to live with us as Immanuel, and as Logos.
Read John 1:1–18, followed by Colossians 1:15–20, then reflect on the supremacy of Jesus and his active role as the one who both “holds all creation together” and “is also the head of the church” (Colossians 1:17–18).