“In the beginning was the Word.” This is how John begins. No first-century Jew would miss it. ‘Bereshit’ is the Hebrew for “in the beginning.” That is how the whole bible commences, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” (Gen 1:1). John is indicating, the story that I am going to tell you is the story of a new creation. In fact, it is God at work completing His creation. “And the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” Whenever I speak words, it is an expression of myself. I am telling you what I think or feel like or my opinion. But I do so in a restricted sense because what I speak is just one little aspect of what I am thinking. But God who is the source of creation can speak Himself utterly. He can utter a word that carries the truth of what He is. That is why we say, the Father speaks the Son and the Son is the fulness of the truth of the Father. We say in the Creed God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God or as John says here “Word was God.”
Then there is the reference to John the Baptist, the last of the Hebrew prophets. God spoke to humanity from time immemorial through patriarchs, prophets or by extrapolation through all those who spoke the truth and as a culmination of all these figures John the Baptist comes. But the evangelist tells us, this Jesus is qualitatively different from all of them. This consciousness is needed all the more today when Jesus is domesticated as a moral teacher.
Then there is an accusation that the world did not know the light that came into the world. The reality of sin is summed up here. The man was created through the Logos but he failed to resonate the Word. Man did not respond to the Word. “But to those who did accept him he gave power to become children of God.” The church fathers said, God became human that humans might become God. God condescended and took our human nature that our nature elevated and raised up. Only God can do it. Christ became human and allows us a share in His Divinity. We cannot become children of God of our own unless by being assimilated by God`s higher life.
“The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.” The literal Greek has it as God tabernacled among us. The Jews would never miss to think about the Tabernacle of God in the Old Testament. It was the tent of meeting and the prototype of the Temple in Jerusalem. Temple was the place where God came to meet His people, where heaven and earth came together. In the incarnation, we have the full tabernacling of God among His people. This incarnation is “grace upon grace.” It is a free gift of God and we cannot merit or demand it. God freely gives Himself in Christ and He wills the elevation of our human nature.