Vol. 4, No. 10
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John 1:1 states that the Word was in heaven with God at the beginning of the universe. And it states that the Word was God. This tells us that there is more than one person in the Godhead, God the Father and the Word (we also know from other Scriptures that the Holy Spirit is in the Godhead). From studying the Bible, we learn that the Word here is Jesus Christ.
But why did the inspired writer John use the title of Word here for Jesus? Are there any references in the Old Testament that might give us a clue? Would those who first received the Book of John understand who the Word was?
I want you to look at a few Scriptures, Genesis 15:1-18; Jonah 1:1-2, 2:10 and 3:1-2. In Genesis 15:1, we notice that the "word of the Lord came unto Abram in a vision." In verse 2, Abram refers to the Word as Lord God. In verse 4, the "word of the Lord came unto him saying." In verse five, this Lord God brings him forth abroad. In verse 7, this word says, "I am the Lord that brought thee out of Ur." Abram and the Lord continue to converse through the verse 18. I believe this is possibly an instance where Word of the Lord refers to Christ operating in the Old Testament.
Then in Jonah 1:1, we have the "word of the Lord" coming unto Jonah. In verse 2, the Word of the Lord refers to "me." This would indicate it is a person speaking. In chapter 2 verse 10, we have "the Lord spake unto the fish." In 3:1, the "word of the Lord" comes again to Jonah and refers to himself in verse two as "I." The Bible makes a distinction between the speaking to Jonah as opposed to the speaking to the fish. Again, I believe this may be another instance where Jesus, the Word, is active in the Old Testament.
I do not believe that every time we read "the word of the Lord" in the Old Testament it refers to Christ. But I do believe that these are two instances where it does. If I am right, then the Jews who first heard or read John's book would know that this "Word" was the same person of the Godhead who spoke with Abram in Genesis 15 and with Jonah in Jonah chapters one and two.
This is just another example of how much we can learn from reading and studying the Bible. We can know that Jesus indeed was alive in the beginning. And we can know that he was always God.
The word execution refers to putting someone to death. When someone committed what the Romans considered a terrible crime, he was executed. There were several different ways the Romans might put someone to death. Jesus was crucified.
The Romans had some regulations as to where a person was to be put to death by crucifixion. The person was to be crucified at the scene of his crime. This was particularly true if the person was a pirate or an enemy of the State. If it were not possible to crucify the person at the scene of the crime, then he was to be crucified at the site where he was captured. And if that were not possible, then he was to be crucified near a main road or a high ground that was heavily traveled. This is so that the person would be very humiliated and so that others would not want to commit the same crime. The Romans were very pleased if more than one of the conditions could be met.
It is interesting that Jesus met all of these conditions in the eyes of the Jewish leaders when he was crucified. Even though he had committed nothing wrong, he was the one that Pilate ended up giving to the Jews for crucifixion. Jesus had been praised as King on the Mount of Olives just a few days before his crucifixion. Without Roman permission, no one was to be proclaimed a king. Jesus was arrested on the Mount of Olives. The Descent of the Mount of Olives was a very heavily traveled road, especially at this time of year, the Passover. Many Jews would be traveling the road into Jerusalem.
There really would be no reason for the Romans to crucify Jesus anywhere but on the Mount of Olives. The Roman regulations on crucifixion would have required them to crucify Jesus on the Mount of Olives near the summit on the west side of the mountain. From this location, Jesus would have been able to see over the east wall of the Temple into the Temple complex.
I am grateful that Jesus was willing to die for my sins. I am grateful that God gave us the Bible so that we could learn what he wants us to do to live with him eternally in heaven. It is sad to think that Jesus came to save man from his sins and yet the Jewish rulers hated him. They mocked him while he was on the cross.
Do not be like the Jewish rulers. Do not mock Jesus and refuse to believe in him. Keep studying your Bible.