Updated: Feb 3
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.
There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. He himself was not the light, but he came to testify to the light. The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.
He was in the world, and the world came into being through him; yet the world did not know him. He came to what was his own, and his own people did not accept him. But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God, who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God.
And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth. (John testified to him and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks ahead of me because he was before me.'”) From his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. The law indeed was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God. It is God the only Son, who is close to the Father’s heart, who has made him known.
This is the Gospel selection for the First (and Only) Sunday after Christmas, Year B 2017. In will next be read aloud in church by a priest on Sunday, December 31, 2017. It is important because John applies the symbolism of Logos to Jesus Christ.
As the lone Sunday of Christmas, between Advent and Epiphany, this Gospel reading represents Christmas – a summation of the twelve days thereof: the Gifts of God to the world. In this regard, it should be noted that John 1:1-14 is the third selection (Christmas III) as the Gospel reading for Christmas Day (or Christmas Eve) services; so it is recognized by the Church as relative to the birth of Christ. This makes it parallel the Luke 2 options (Christmas I and Christmas II, as variations of verses 1-20: the Shepherds and the Angels). Because Matthew 2:1-12 (the wise men and Herod) is read as an Epiphany lesson (all years), realizing that story occurred after the nativity of Jesus, this reading from John 1 has to be seen as a witness to the birth of Jesus, like that of the shepherds’ visit to the manger. This can be seen in the statement of verse 14: “And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory.”
Still, the importance of the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem is not why we traditionally read the Luke 2 reading; and it is not the reason we read this rather enigmatic reading from John 1 in the Christmas season. Think about it. Who else in history is known for having done something historically significant on the day of their birth, such that part of the world wants to focus on the infancy of that great person, more than the great person’s achievements? No one, Jesus included, as that representation of God being born in human form was not realized until the ministry of Jesus began, followed by his persecution to death, his resurrection, ascension and return. The birth of baby Jesus marks the historic significance of the adult Jesus.
Big Brain Note: If we did not know the end of the story beforehand, the beginning of the story would have no meaning.
In the third Sunday of Advent, the Gospel reading was also from the first chapter of John. In that reading part of this reading is duplicated: “There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. He himself was not the light, but he came to testify to the light.” Those words come from verses 6, 7, and 8. Because the author names “John” there, verses 19-28 are read with those on Advent 3, which are clearly about John the Baptizer.
This reading is not about John the Baptizer, thus (as I proposed in my article for Advent 3) the naming of “John” here is important as being the conditions foretold by John the Baptizer about the Messiah. The separation by parentheses is to denote an example given by the Baptist, as to how to recognize the Messiah. The name “John” has meaning above and beyond the limits of one John, as the meaning behind that name can be seen as directing one to see Jesus Christ as “Yah(weh) Is Gracious) through His Son. John the author does not use that specific identification (“Jesus Christ”) until verse 17 (next to last in this reading), when he wrote, “grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.”
By seeing this reading as a reference to the Christ (the Messiah promised to the Jews) and his birth in human form, John 1:1-18 becomes an esoteric comparison to the literal story told in Luke 2. The visitation of the angel and the heavenly host is comparable to John writing about the “Word” as the heavenly “light” to be in the “life” of “people.”
The shepherds then became “witnesses to testify to the light.” When they reached the newborn, “the Word became flesh and lived among us.” Both Gospel author wrote of Jesus coming into the world, only differently. Still, the continued importance of the “birth of Christ” is when Christ is born anew in Christians. That is how the Word of God continues to be “sent by God.”
This makes “Logos” important to understand. That repeated word of importance appears three times in verse 1, and a fourth time in verse 14. Like the name “Iōannēs” (which is any Biblical entity named “John” or all named to signify “Yah Is Gracious”), the capitalized word “Logos” cannot be limited to only one translation: “Word.” This is because “logos” can also translate as “ground, plea, opinion, expectation, word, speech, account, reason, proportion, discourse, and plan.” As such, verse 1 can be seen as intending the reader grasp this depth of scope, rather than simply repeat the ambiguity of “Word.” One example would be: “In the beginning was the Expectation, and the Reason was with God, and the Plan was God.”
Certainly, Jesus was part of God’s original Idea, from the beginning to his presence on earth, and throughout his many returns in Saints and Apostles. Without the man Jesus as our guide to God, humanity remains lost. Still, Jesus did not come to promote himself over God. It is wrong to read John’s first verse and mentally translate “the Word” as Jesus Christ, because the physical reality that became Jesus Christ was “a Thought” of God. Just as God’s Plan was to bring Jesus Christ to mankind, His Reason was to transform a world of believers into duplications of His Son, all born with the same Expectation through the Christ Mind.
God cannot be limited to only producing one Jesus Christ, although the one Jesus Christ can never be replaced.
Christians (by title) are replications of Christ, which is the Mind connected to God the Father. When one’s heart has married God, then the offspring is a new “Jesus,” via the same Christ Mind, with the link between Spiritual and physical being the Holy Spirit. Jesus represents the joining of the Father to the Son, via the Holy Spirit – as a Trinity on earth. Therefore all Saints are Apostles and Prophets of the LORD, in total commitment to serving God … just as Jesus was conceived to be and born to make that service possible in others.
This means the birth of Jesus Christ is not a one-time scene on earth, away in a manger in Bethlehem. The Christmas story is retold year after year because it represents the rebirth of Jesus Christ in Christians … true Christians who have become Saintly and righteous … in the name of Jesus Christ.
Just as the Angel appeared before shepherds to announce the Messiah had come, the shepherds became the first Saints by experiencing baby Jesus before them. They were filled with the joy of the Holy Spirit. Likewise, John is appearing before us in writing, telling us of the heavenly grace that has come into the world. It is now up to each reader to decide to run and see the baby.
Christians do that by searching the words of the Holy Bible, looking for the “hidden manger” that holds the Messiah of the world. If one acts to seek the light and the life, the grace and the truth, then the whispers of God’s heavenly messengers will lead you to open your heart and receive the Spirit of the LORD. One must love God with all his or her heart and all his or her mind to become married to Him. Total subservience bring the promise of great reward. Then the truth will be so wonderful that one can never go back to serving self. One is reborn then as a new Jesus Christ.
I recommend a deeper view of John 1:1-18. The translation above is conversational English, not Spiritual Greek. I have offered some insights here; but be advised my words expand 300+ words of God into 3,300+ words of explanation. Even at that depth, much is still missed. Each reader must be able to see beyond what John wrote, and beyond what I have written. One needs the insight of the Christ Mind to grasp the wholeness of meaning.
Then one must have a strong desire to share that meaning with others … leading newcomers to their own personal experience.