Dr. Phillip Brassfield
The Prologue of the Gospel of John, (John 1:1-18), as it’s commonly referred to, is one of the most foundational Christological texts in the New Testament. In it, John introduces Jesus Christ as the LOGOS of eternity who made everything, sustains everything, and brought light and life into time and dimension, and into the world. This divine LOGOS became a man and lived with us.
What is the LOGOS?
John was writing to a largely Greek audience who would have had a general working knowledge of the LOGOS from a Greek philosophical perspective. But, what is the LOGOS? The Greeks believed that there was an unseen, ordering and uniting principle or divine logic that caused everything to be, and function as it should. They called it the LOGOS (Heraclitus 535-475 CB). They considered it the source and the force of the universe.
Later, they came to believe that there was a LOGOS within each individual person akin to the LOGOS that pervaded the universe. This personal LOGOS was from the same divine source and allowed for harmony and union with both the universe and the organic beings that lived within in it. The LOGOS was essentially the cause and explanation of everything and permeated everything. Late Stoic thought equated the LOGOS with the pneuma or spirit that was filled with divine reason or purpose. But for John to identify this LOGOS exclusively with a specific individual was radical!
John takes this abstract concept that is undefined and nebulous in the mind of the Greeks, and introduces it with personal pronouns, the He and Him, in verse two of chapter one. From John’s perspective, the LOGOS as Jesus Christ is what makes the invisible God knowable, discernable and tangible. He is God in human form, God with skin, God in the flesh. In Jesus, a reality is established that allows for an interface between the Greek academy and the monotheistic God of the Old Testament in a way previously unexplored. According to John, in Jesus we see the intersection of God and man in human form. Jesus is then the source of everything created, the defining principle and ordering force of eternity that has now become a man of and from God, who is very God and very man.
This is the basis of the rest of the story John would write. His general theme is that God became a man and dwelt (tabernacled) among us, and came to save us. Later in his gospel, he produced evidence to support this idea in the form of seven miracles and seven sayings or affirmations by Jesus that he considered to be claims of divinity. This was finally supported by Jesus’ resurrection from the dead and victory over death, hell and the grave. John’s goal in all of this was recorded in his own words, “… but these things are written that you might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.” John 20:31