This post is part of an ongoing series in the study of John we are doing during January. Subscribe to the blog for daily updates in the Bible Study posts. Subscribe to the podcasts to hear our discussion of the book of John throughout this month. Join us in your daily devotions as we travel through this fascinating account of the life of Christ.
He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. John 1:2-3 (NKJV)
The word beginning comes from the Greek word arche. We still use this Greek word today. Think of words like archangel or arch enemy. The arch in these words derives from the same concept as arche used for the word we translate as beginning in John 1. Arche means the foundational thing, the first, the principle, the unbroken, or the first thing declared.
In our last post in this ongoing study of John, we looked at the uniqueness of John’s gospel. Another significant element of that uniqueness is the overwhelming centrality of Christ in the gospel. Perhaps that seems redundant. Don’t all the gospels tell us about the life and mission of Jesus Christ, and so aren’t they all centered upon Christ? All of the gospels are about Christ, but John’s gospel takes us out of the boundaries of the historical, cultural, or earth-based perspective of Jesus. He introduces us to Christ, the center, the beginning, and end of all that ever was or will be. The centrality of Christ described in the gospel of John goes beyond time and space, seen and unseen. Everything that ever was, is, or will be, has Christ at the center of it.
He first explains that the Logos we met in verse 1 is not merely a concept but a person. John has not told us that person’s name yet, but even before we get to that important detail, John transitions to describing the Word (or the Logos) as He in verse 2 of the gospel. He was the arche. This person is the center of everything.
What Is Real?
In the late 90s and early 2000s, there were several movies that included a central plotline in which reality was questioned. The Matrix is the one I remember most. Everything we see around us is an illusion. What is reality? Other movies did the same thing. A Beautiful Mind, Identity, and Fight Club were just a sampling of films that played with the idea of reality and how we define it.
The question, what is real, is something that philosophers have considered since ancient Greece to the present. An often-used adage today is, “Perception is reality.” The way we see things defines our reality. I have always buckled against that thought. There must be something more rooted in truth to define reality than my own potentially misguided perceptions.
In fact, there is. John describes the Logos or this Person we are looking at in the gospel as the basis, the defining standard for what is real and not real.
All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.
If it did not originate in Christ, it is not real. It is an illusion. We may be able to touch it, experience it, and even own it. But unless Christ is the origin for it, it is not real.
This concept might challenge many of us. What about this thing or that experience? How can this not be real? Like Neo in the Matrix, many of us can build a whole life system upon beliefs, values, dreams, and even fears that are not rooted in reality. Our life is built upon a house of cards, and it will crumble and fade into nothingness because it was never real to begin with.
On the other hand, the elements of our life in Christ which this world so lightly esteems are truer, more profound, more real than anything else.
The reality that John describes here is not limited to our traditional religious perspectives of Christ. He suggests we can go to Christ and draw out reality for the life we are living now. Family values. Career. Self-image. Purpose. Everything! The gospel of Christ was not presented for a church service. It was presented for us to build real and authentic life.
Christ is the standard of reality, and our objective is to draw all that we are, know, and believe from Him. He is the foundation of reality, and apart from Him, nothing exists. Everything outside of Christ is only an illusion at best.
Considerations from John 1:2-3
- What areas of my life am I confident their origin is in Christ?
- What areas of my life am I not so confident that Christ is their origin?
- Can I turn to God today and ask His Holy Spirit to develop personal sight regarding these areas in my life?
- More importantly, can I trust in the Holy Spirit to lead me to a reconstruction of my life so that all things I believe, hope for, and trust in, find their origin in Christ?
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