Examining John: Explaining the Role of Jesus to the Modern Reader of the Gospel

John’s gospel, more than Matthew, Mark and Luke, emphasizes the Christ’s identity as the Word of God. In this post, I will deal with several common questions you might encounter about the Jesus described in John. In addition using John 1, I will explain the role of Jesus to a modern reader of the Gospel?

  • Why does John call Jesus’ the “Word” in the Prologue?
  • What are the potential sources for John’s depiction of Jesus as the “Word”?
  • How does this depiction of Jesus as the “Word” relate to John’s Gospel as a whole?

Jesus is identified as the “Word” or Logos by John in the prologue of his book, so that readers might be introduced to the idea of Jesus’ Deity as the major theme throughout his gospel. To support this concept, he parallels the first chapter of the Old Testament, the book of Genesis. The point of his reference is to establish that Jesus has pre-existed before the beginning of time and that He is not a created being, but the Creator. In addition, according to Dr.Elmer Towns “the Word was God” or “theos en ho logos,” is a grammatical structure used to represent intimacy and communion and implies the Word and God were in face-to face-relationship.”[1] Towns is also saying, “that he is conveying that the Word is of the very same character, quality, essence, and being as God.”[2] This supports the idea or concept taught in scripture that Jesus Christ is the eternal God, the Second Person of the Trinity.

The gospels of Matthew and Luke include in them a genealogy outlining the humanity of Christ. But in the gospel of John, there is no reference to human lineage. Throughout his gospel, Jesus is revealed as God, the Father’s agent involved not only in creating the universe but taking on human flesh in order to reconcile men to God. D.A.Carson, author of “The Gospel According To John” states, “John’s presentation of who Jesus is lies at the heart of all that is distinctive in this Gospel…Jesus is peculiarly the Son of God, or simply the Son.”[3]The Invisible became visible, the supernatural One reduced Himself to the natural, and this makes it possible for Him to perform signs and wonders. If God at the beginning, spoke the world into existence, He is also capable of speaking to the winds and waves causing them to cease; speaking and resurrecting Lazarus from the dead; speaking and restoring the paralytic servant and so much more. It was His earthly miracles, signs, and wonders that confirmed His Deity and proved,to those who would hear and see, that He was “the Messiah Who is coming.” (John 4:25)

Having read the gospel of John, the modern student will understand the true identity and person-hood of Jesus Christ. Satan, masquerading as an “angel of light,” has deceived many into believing that Jesus is not God, that He is one of many gods, or that He is only a man. According to Dr. Towns, The New World Translation has erroneously translated this phrase into “the Word was a god,”…but fits in well with their Jehovah’s Witness denial of the deity of Christ.”[4] However, the Bible obviously teaches that God provided His Only Begotten Son, as a sinless sacrifice, in order to become an appeasement or satisfaction for God the Father. It is through His death, burial, and resurrection that He proved that He was both the Messiah and God incarnate.

Carson, D.A. The Gospel According To John. Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans , 1991, pg. 95
Kostenberger, Andreas J. Encountering John. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 1999.
Towns, Elmer. The Gospel of John: Believe and Live . Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers , 1990, pg. 34
Ibid, pg. 35
Ibid, pg. 34

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