The Gospel account of John starts by bringing us back to the Beginning. Not the beginning of Jesus’s time on Earth, but the beginning of Earth itself, and all of creation. John says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” This bring us back to Genesis 1:1, “In the beginning God”. Genesis is telling us that God supersedes all of creation. John is telling us that Jesus, the Word, was not only with God in the sense that Wisdom was with God in the beginning (Prov. 8:22), rather, Jesus was God from the very beginning. This clues us in on the fact that Jesus was not created, as all other things and beings have been, apart from the Holy Spirit. We are to see a picture of the Father and the Son, two persons of the same Godhead, existing from before the beginning in perfect harmony and relation.
John reiterates, “He was with God in the beginning.” Here it is important to realize that John is building a case, and restating this point is imperative so that we remember that Jesus is eternal. John’s whole purpose, as he will tell us later in Jn 20:30-31, is to record a sufficient account of Jesus as to bolster faith in Christ Jesus, that we might believe that He is the foretold Messiah, The Son of God, and that we may have Life in His name.
We are brought back to the beginning so we can see that Jesus is no mere prophet, nor is He only a mortal being as we are. Rather, Jesus is the God of creation, who co-existed with God the Father before there was a creation. John is combatting the notion that Jesus was just another man who was born and died. He brings us to the Beginning so that this point is made perfectly clear. This also destroys any possibility that Jesus was an angel. This is important because only in knowing that Jesus is in fact God does it become acceptable to worship Him, and follow His teaching as though they are the very words of Yahweh. This reminder of Jesus’s divinity will come back many times in John.
This all reminds me of the “Says Who” moral argument. The fact is that we regularly ignore or disregard the words of others because we are all human. So why should we listen to Jesus? Why follow Him? Why put our faith in Him? John’s answer is that Jesus is not only a human like us, but rather He is the eternal God, who is before all things and over all things. So much like the “Says Who” argument we find the the call upon us to follow, and to have faith comes from One who is greater than we are in every respect. But, this is only the beginning…