What if there were no words?
Parents wouldn’t be able to encourage their children to use your words. We would be unable to communicate with each other in the rich, substantive way that words make possible. Without words, our ability to process anything intellectually would be severely diminished. We wouldn’t be able to think our way through some of the most basic situations in life. That would be chaotic and distressing. No words is not a good thought!
Words are the file folders of our mind. We sort through the multitude of sensations occurring within and without by locating the folder they belong in. In doing so, words define, organize and give specific expression to the realities we experience.
When God was ready to create the cosmos, He used words to do it. He didn’t just think the words—He spoke them. Let there be light. He called the light day and the darkness night. Creation is God using His words! And one of the important ways we image God is through our use of words.
John wrote his gospel long after Matthew, Mark and Luke had written theirs. His words are meant to be supplementary to what they wrote. For example, John doesn’t have Jesus instituting the Lord’s Supper, but it does contain the only account of Him washing the feet of the disciples. While there are many commonalities with the synoptics, it’s obvious that John is on a different track. The word kingdom is used by Jesus a total of 104 times in the synoptics, but John has Him using it only 5 times in his gospel (O’Neal). O’Neal also tells us that in Matthew, Mark and Luke have Jesus uses the personal pronoun “I” a total of 36 times, while John records Him using it 118 times.
And when it comes to Jesus, John’s initial presentation of Him is not as savior, king or Messiah—but as The Word. Jesus is The Word who was with God in the beginning when God spoke His creative words. More than that, God made all things through The Word (1:3). More than that, The Word was not just with God—The Word was God (v. 1)! And with that opening salvo, you can drop a rock into John’s words and it will take a very long time until you hear it splash because it is deep, deep, deep.
All these things root Jesus in the past, but John moves forward to tell us the compelling news that The Word who was present at creation, who was with God and is God, became flesh and made His dwelling among us. As God had tabernacled with Israel in the wilderness, Jesus tabernacled with man. This One who was far off came near—not as a spectator, but as a participant. The Word is God living as a man.
This leads us to John’s summation in v. 18: No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is Himself God and is in closet relationship with the Father, has made Him known. Jesus is The Word who gives full, complete and utter expression to God. Our questions, our concerns, our anxieties are answered and put to rest in the person of Christ.
Jesus is God using all His words!