Revealing the Unseen God

The Prologue to John introduces key themes of the Book, including LifeLightWitnessTruthGlory, and Grace. Jesus is the Light of the World, the source of Grace and Truth, the True Tabernacle in whom God dwells, the only born Son of God, and the one who alone has seen the Father. The Prologue concludes by declaring that he is the only one who is qualified to interpret God.

The Prologue concludes with a significant contrast with Moses. Not only is Jesus the one in whom men find “grace and truth, but he alone can disclose and explain the Father. He reveals God and makes Him known to humanity - (“He is in the bosom of the Father, he interpreted” - John 1:14-18).

Winter sunrise - Photo by Ales Krivec on Unsplash
[Photo by Ales Krivec on Unsplash]

The Greek term translated as “
interpreted” is the verb exégeomai. It means to “lead out, explain, interpret” (Strong’s - #G1834). Here, it has no direct object in the Greek clause, no “him” after “interpreted.” The verb is used intransitively. The statement is open-ended.

The one in whom the “Word became flesh” is the final interpreter of all things that relate to God. He is the one in whom the nature of God is manifested for all men to see, and he alone “interprets” information about Him. No one else is qualified to do so.

The clause translated as “only born Son” expands on Verse 14 - “We beheld his glory, a glory as of an only born from a father, full of grace and truth.” He is the one who unveils and provides “GRACE AND TRUTH,” and in the Gospel of John, Jesus reveals the unseen God to his disciples - (“He who has seen me has seen the Father!” - John 6:46, 8:38, 14:7-9, 15:24).

UNVEILING GOD


Jesus is not simply another in a long line of prophets but the ultimate expression of God. The Father can be found and comprehended only through him. John’s Gospel does not present a Messiah who is identical to the Father, but one who knows and reveals the Living and True God. Therefore, anyone who has “seen” Jesus has “seen” the Father, and from him receives “Grace and Truth.”

By using this latter phrase, the Prologue contrasts the “only born Son” with the Mosaic legislation. All things were made according to the “Word,” the Logos that is now manifested in Jesus Christ, and not the Torah.

The Mosaic Law certainly had its place in God’s redemptive plan, and John does not denigrate or minimize it. However, it has been surpassed by the fullness and far greater glory of the “Word made flesh.” Light and Life are found only in Jesus, the one in whom God’s “glory” is revealed.

In the Book of Exodus, Moses was only permitted to see the “backside,” the afterglow of God’s glory while he remained hidden in the hollow of a rock. In contrast, Jesus dwells in God’s very “bosom,” therefore, he is the only one who can “declare” and explain the “unseen God” - (Exodus 33:17-22).

Mountain Sunshine - Photo by Armand Khoury on Unsplash
[Photo by Armand Khoury on Unsplash]

The “
Word made flesh” is the True Tabernacle in whom the presence of God dwells and His glory shines for all men to behold, not the portable tent carried by Israel in the Wilderness or the Temple “made with hands” in Jerusalem.

Thus, the passage in John’s Prologue highlights the full and final revelation of God that now and forevermore is found in Jesus of Nazareth. Only in him has the Word of God “become flesh” – “We beheld his glory, glory as of an only born from a Father.”


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