1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. (1 John 1:1)
I get a kick out of athlete’s nicknames. According to the author of “25 of the Best Nicknames in Sports History”[i], they usually say a lot about the athlete and person. NBA superstar Karl Malone was known as the ‘The Mailman’ because you could count on him to deliver when it mattered. NBA & LA Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant was known as ‘Black Mamba’. The Black Mamba is one of the deadliest snakes in the world and Kobe was a ferocious competitor who often killed his opponents will with daggers when it mattered the most. Major League Baseball Hall of Famer, Lou Gehrig, is known as ‘The Iron Horse’ because of his incredible consecutive games streak of 2,130 consecutive games. And sometimes nicknames even replace actual names. Few people realize that Tiger Woods’ actual given name is ‘Eldrick’. Eldrick got his ‘Tiger’ name early on because of his ferocity on the golf course and his ability to devour his competition.
There is one legendary person with an almost endless list of nicknames, which speaks to who he was and is – Jesus. He was known as: Christ, Lord, Master, Son of God, Son of Man, Son of David, Lamb of God, New/Second/Last Adam, Light of the World, King of the Jews, and Rabbi. Each of those nicknames is fairly easy to comprehend but one other name is more difficult to understand: ‘Logos’ or ‘The Word’. John 1:1 reads: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”
There really is no explanation given in Scripture as to why Jesus is called the Word of God, but we can make some reasoned observations. ‘The Word’, also known as the Scriptures, were God’s communication to humanity. Likewise, Jesus revealed the Word of God to the world; he was the personification of the written and spoken word. “The testimony that God revealed through the prophets during the Old Testament period was now made human with the coming of Christ. Hence the Word became flesh.”[ii]
Why is it of importance to us as Christians that Jesus is called the Word, and that he is inseparable from the Word? It would seem logical that we have the same love of the Word then that we have for Jesus. However, there seems to be a trend today for many Christians to say: “I love Jesus, and that’s all I need.” Many have abandoned the church, even though: “…Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her” (Ephesians 5:25a), and even though we are instructed to “not [give] up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” (Hebrews 10:25). And when it comes to the Word of God, the Logos, many Christians have distanced themselves from the Bible because much of what it has to say is “offensive” to the world.
There is a far greater offense that Christians should be worried about though, that is an offense to God. If we distance ourselves as Christians from the Word of God, or we attempt to alter its intended meaning to suit our purposes (or the world’s purposes) we distance ourselves from Jesus, and he does not mince his words when talking about that. 32 “Whoever acknowledges me before others, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven. 33 But whoever disowns me before others, I will disown before my Father in heaven. 34 “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.” (Matthew 10:32-34). How about you? Are you disowning the Word? You are then disowning Jesus.