"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it." -John 1:1-5
The Word of God, before it was written in the form as we know it, was spoken. Millions of years ago into the void of space, the first sound ever heard was made when it came out of the mouth of God- and that same sound still resonates within the heart of creation- the sound of "life". When God spoke, He did not just make noise. He created. His Word was alive, and when spoken, brought life to the universe. What an amazing concept to try and fathom!
All that is alive today has that same sound of life echoing within it. We all embody the creative sound and force of the Word of God. We are the result of His spoken Word. Though many do not realize it, and some have turned away from it, we must realize that the very essence of who we are is found in this pivotal moment of creation.
Interestingly, the very first thing God chose to create with this sound of life- His spoken Word- was "light", which this passage in John also identifies as "The Word". The Word of God, who we understand to be Jesus Christ, first created light, which is also represented as Jesus Christ. Now, I don't claim to be a theologian. I'm sure there are plenty of professors, students, and preachers who could better explain this passage of scripture in a more doctrinally-accurate way. But I do know that God can speak to even simple people like me through His Word, and this is what I believe He has spoken to me about this scripture.
Jesus Christ is the Word of God, spoken and in flesh. He is also the light of men. Have you ever been in a dark room and tried to listen to someone tell you which direction to go without being able to see? It is difficult to listen to a voice and follow it in the darkness. But when you combine sound and light, the direction you are supposed to go is much clearer. The Word of God is the creative force in our universe. It is the life that resonates within us all. It is what constantly draws us back to our Creator. The Word is telling us which way to go. But in the darkness, we stumble. It is hard to listen to that cry within us longing to be reunited with our source of life when we cannot see. God knew this. So the first thing He created was light.
When Jesus came and walked on this earth, He was both Word and Light in one. He was God- visible and audible. Never had there been such a powerful combination of the voice and light of God than when Jesus spent His 33 years teaching and serving. He made the path to God accessible to all mankind. You would think that all who heard and saw Him would have believed His message. But that was not the case.
"He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God- children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband's will, but born of God. The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father full of grace and truth." -John 1:10-14
"Though seeing, they do not see; though hearing, they do not hear or understand. In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah: 'You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving. For this people's heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them."
So why, when for the first time the Word and the Light were combined to make the Truth clear, would people not recognize it? Why would they close their eyes to the light and not listen to the Word?
Have you ever been in a dark room and had the light suddenly turned on? What is your first reaction? To close your eyes! How about being in a large auditorium and experience high-frequency feedback. What do you do? Plug your ears! For so long creation had walked in darkness and not often heard the voice of the Lord. When Jesus came upon the scene, it had to have been as a burst of sound and light that blinded their vision and pierced their ears. And rather than allow their ears and eyes to adjust, they simply closed them to the life-giving truth that Jesus had to offer.
Now that Jesus no longer walks this earth, we have the Word of God in written form- the Bible. It is the complete and inherent Word of God. It documents the life of Jesus Christ and, although written, is still "God-breathed" with that same breath of life that created Adam. (2 Tim. 3:16) But after Jesus was taken up to heaven, the light was no longer visible on the earth. So once again, we have the voice of God calling out to His children, who are stumbling desperately in the darkness. So how does creation find its way back to the Creator without the light?
"You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven." -Matthew 5:14-16
Jesus said that while He was in the world, He was the light of the world. But He gave us as Christians a command- to let our light shine. If Christ truly dwells within us and if His Word is guiding our lives, then His light will shine through us. The souls of mankind recognize the Word of God. The very life inside of them testifies to its truth. But they need the light.
So how do we continue the work that started at the very moment time began, when God combined Word and Light? We shout His Truth and shine His Light with every single breath we breathe! Every day, every moment, every heartbeat should resonate with the sound of life within us- the life that is found through Jesus Christ. Our lives should shine so brilliantly with the light of Christ that the darkness is shattered and the world can no longer cover their eyes to the truth of who God is. The hope of creation now lies within us.
The Word of God and the Light of men offer hope to all mankind. They go hand in hand. And we hold the amazing plan of God's redemption within us. What are you doing with it?
"...become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life..."