I like to envision the opening of John’s gospel as a ladder, or when I am zoning out to Led Zeppelin, a stairway from heaven. There are three rungs on this ladder:
- First: “In the beginning there was the word…” Because the author of John is writing before the Church defines the Trinity, he says Logos, or “word” instead of the post-Nicene Son. Further, Jesus hasn’t come down the ladder and been separated from the unity of this divine community. The inventor of this ladder is a Greek scholar. He has enough knowledge of the world’s philosophy and the Septuagint translation of the Old Testament to know that Logos is the perfect word for the creative power of God. So, he takes us down as far as he can before placing the first rung at, “the Logos was God” (John 1:1-2).
- Second: Then he tells us how this Logos is the true light of our world (John 1:4-5). I, as the son of an optical physicist, find this interesting. When scientists talk about light, they get almost mystical. They say that photons, the basic units of light, pop into existence whenever they are needed. That these photons not only travel with undiminished energy between the galaxies, but light also communicates energy within each atom. Whatever is said between the electrons spinning around each atom is said by this logos.
- Third: And then the author of John goes one more step to say that this mystical thing, this true God from true God, this Light, this Logos, became flesh. The Greek implies that God pitched His tent among us.
Each step down this ladder challenges our faith and demands a full commitment:
- Do you believe that Jesus is God?
- Has he become the light of your life?
- Does he live with you in your everyday life?