The prologue of the Gospel of John should be well known to us because these eighteen verses tell us so much about the Lord Jesus Christ. John 1:1-18:
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 apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.
In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.
There came a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness, to testify about the Light, so that all might believe through him. He was not the Light, but he came to testify about the Light.
There was the true Light which, coming into the world, enlightens every man. He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.
And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.
John testified about Him and cried out, saying, “This was He of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me has a higher rank than I, for He existed before me.’” For of His fullness we have all received, and grace upon grace. For the Law was given through Moses; grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ. No one has seen God at any time; the only begotten God who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him.
Jesus is the Word who the apostle John is writing of here, and one of the reasons this passage is so important is that in it we pretty much get an explicit declaration of both Jesus’ deity, the fact that He is fully God, and His humanity, the fact that He was also fully man.
Verse 14 includes the words, “And the Word became flesh.” And it’s those words I want to use as our springboard to the discussion of the question, “What was the Word up to before He became flesh?” When we think of the Lord Jesus Christ we usually think of Him in one of two eras: 1) Either the time of His earthly life and ministry, or 2) the day of the LORD, the time of His return and when His kingdom is fully manifest.
But we must not forsake that little word “became” in verse 14. We must not forget that Jesus Christ did not come into being when the Child was conceived by the Holy Spirit in Mary’s womb. The Word BECAME flesh, which shows that the Word existed prior to becoming flesh. Indeed, the Word, the Second Person of the Trinity, is just as eternal as the Father and the Spirit: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God.”
The fact that Jesus became flesh is foundational to the gospel, and thus it SHOULD be paramount in our hearts and minds, especially when we consider the Greek text from which we get our English “became” carries the weight of Jesus willingly leaving the glory He had to become a man. It was an act of humility for Him to do that, so that He could finish the work of redemption. But Mary’s womb is not where the Person and Work of the Second Person of the Trinity began. Let’s, then, consider Jesus before Bethlehem, Jesus in the Old Testament, or what you might call the work of the Preincarnate Christ. Continue reading