Soul Food: “Was Jesus Eternal?” by Rev. Geoff Hatley
John starts his gospel off with what is often called the prologue. John introduces his gospel with a statement about who Jesus is. Remember, if we can trust the early church fathers, John was writing his gospel much later than the first three gospel authors. He was writing to a more mature church and wrote, not to explain all the facts of Jesus’ life, but to fill in what the other gospel writers did not cover. His prologue really sets the tone for John’s gospel. This is no simple work. He’s not covering the basics as Mark does, and he’s not working through the historical account that Luke does, nor is he focused on preaching the gospel to a Jewish audience as Matthew does. Rather, John is interested in teaching a more mature church about Jesus in a much deeper way. We get this right off the bat in John 1:1-5 (ESV):
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
2 He was in the beginning with God.
3 All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.
4 In him was life, and the life was the light of men.
5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
John is using a recent concept in Hebrew thought, although in Greek thought the concept was much older. He’s using the Greek word “logos.” This term was useful because it resonated with Jews and Greeks alike. Logos was a term that had been used by the Jewish philosopher Philo, who by John’s day was fairly famous. Simply put, “logos” means “Word,” but in reality, there is nothing simple about this word. It’s a term that John uses to capture the breadth and depth of Jesus. So he says that in the beginning was the Word, which would have then and does now bring back anyone who knows their Scripture to Genesis 1:1-3 (ESV):
1 In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.
2 The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.
3 And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.
The “light” and the “beginning” statements in John 1:1-5 directly link to Genesis. John says that Jesus was in the beginning with God and He was the light. This is a statement not to be missed. It speaks to the fact that Jesus is more than just a human. He is not simply some great philosopher, or great teacher. He is in fact God!
About the Author: Geoff Hatley
I married a woman who I had been best friends with for several years before it dawned on me, wait a minute maybe. . .just maybe. . .Ha! So I guess I’m grateful that God even works on the thick-skulled ones. My bride, Kelly, and I are both graduates of Virginia Tech, where we met, fell in love, and got married in 1991. We have three kids and are recent empty-nesters. Needless to say, life has changed quite a bit over the last year! I’m a graduate of Reformed Theological Seminary, and I’m the founding pastor at St. Andrew’s Anglican Church which was planted in 2004. I’ve been a Christian since I was 12 and active in evangelism and discipleship of some sort since I was 13. I’ve been in full-time ministry as a youth minister and then a pastor for 22 years. I love to do lots of things, but I guess primarily I love working out, martial arts, running, reading, and hanging out with friends.