John 1:1-3 (ESV)
On November 13, 1963, an American surf rock band known as the Trashmen released a crazy song called “Surfin’ Bird.” This insanely catchy song asked, “Don’t you know about the bird?” The answer: “Everybody knows that the bird is the word!” Though a completely mindless song, it became very popular, so popular that it was featured on an episode of Family Guy years later (ironically, the episode’s title was “I Dream of Jesus”!) -source Wikipedia, “Surfin’ Bird, accessed 12/14/18.
No disrespect to the Trashmen (or Peter Griffin), but the bird is not the word. Only the Word, the Son of God, Jesus Christ, is the word. All puns aside, the Word is the most important “word” ever to be made known to Man. But what does John mean by “the Word?”
To the Jews of John’s day, “the Word” was used “as a way of referring to God” (NIV Study Bible, Copyright 1985 by The Zondervan Corporation). It was a descriptive yet simple way of describing the mind, thoughts, and personality of God. Simply put, it was Who He is. The writer of Hebrews expresses this idea when he says that Jesus “is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature” (Heb. 1:3). The apostle Paul describes Jesus and His Divinity in similar terms: “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation” (Col 1:15).
When John speaks of Jesus as “the Word,” he was also using a term familiar to Gentiles of his day. To the Greek mind of the First Century, the term “meant the rational principle that governs all things” (Ibid.). It was basically the mind (hence, the Person) that created and oversaw everything. So John took this description of “the Word” and applied it (rightly so) to Jesus.
He said, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God.” In this often-confused statement, John describes Jesus as being pre-existent, equal with God, and Divine Himself. He also defines Him as being a male human, since he calls this Word a “him.” “All things were made though him, and without him was not any thing made that was made” (emphasis mine). Throughout Scripture, the members of the Trinity are always described as male, though the Father and the Spirit do not have physical bodies (John 4:24; 14:16-17; 16:8; 2 Cor. 3:17; etc.). The Bible’s human authors were not chauvinists; they were simply writing what and how the Spirit of God directed them to (2 Tim. 3:16; 2 Pet. 1:20-21).
So why is “the Word” the word? Because He must be spoken about to others. He must be the constant thought of our minds. He must be the topic of our conversations always. His virgin birth, sinless life, ministry, terrible suffering and death, burial, and resurrection are absolutes when declaring the Gospel to our lost world. His imminent return is important for us to share as well, so that people will know there is a day of judgment coming and they must be prepared.
This is the word we must speak: “the Word” of God, the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. Anything less is not worth our short time on this earth. The Word is the word because He is the only One Who can prepare us for eternity (John 14:6). An eternity that is “Word-less” is hopeless.