“IN THE BEGINNING was the Word. This is where the story of Jesus begins – “In the Beginning.” My story begins in a hospital in Thailand in 1973; my children in a hospital in High Point in the early 2000’s. Every person who has ever lived as a birth date – the beginning of the story.
But not Jesus. He was there in “the beginning.”
Central to these verses are two of the most difficult concepts in the Bible: ETERNITY and TRINITY. None of us can completely understand either. On one hand, what does it mean to be there in the beginning? Jesus had no beginning. There was never a day when He “wasn’t.” He IS, and He always has been. How do you get your mind around that?
John goes to proclaim that Jesus wasn’t just “with God;” He “was God.” In Heaven and on earth, Jesus is part and parcel of the Godhead. He is equal with God. He IS God. That fact is nearly impossible to understand, especially when you read stories about Jesus submitting to the Father and praying to the Father.
The truth is, though, it doesn’t bother me that I can’t understand those things. In fact, I’m glad I can’t understand them. These verses at the beginning of John thrill me in a way I can hardly explain precisely because I CANNOT explain them. They remind me that I serve a big God; a mysterious God; a powerful God; a supernatural God. They remind me that Jesus wasn’t just some shepherd who stroked lambs in a dewy meadow, as Church art loves to depict. No! When a person stood in front of Jesus, he was standing in front of GOD. If he could have seen His true identity, he would have fallen at His feet and groveled in the dust.
If only people could have seen the real Jesus, no one would have dared insult Him or betray Him or lay a finger on Him in anger. Instead, they would have elevated Him and pampered Him and crowned Him ... as if He needed their crown.
The Gospel is precisely that conflict. It’s the story of how our all-powerful, Creator-God lived among us, how we refused to accept Him, and how He sacrificed Himself for us anyway. It’s a story of light in the darkness, and how darkness could not overcome it. It is, without question, the greatest story ever told, and it’s key to remember, it didn’t start in Bethlehem. It started all the way back “In The Beginning.”