The Wonder of His NameThe Word
Leslie Basham: Nancy Leigh DeMoss reminds us why it’s so important to study who Jesus is.
Nancy Leigh DeMoss: You will never know the will of God, the thoughts of God, the mind of God, the heart of God, any better than you know His Son, Jesus.
Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss for Friday, March 7.
You can’t find anything better to fix your eyes on than Jesus. And we’re looking at Jesus together by studying thirty-two of His names. Nancy’s continuing in a series called “The Wonder of His Name.”
Nancy: In the city of Rome, there’s a massive fresco that is known as the Aurora. It was painted by an artist named Guido in the early 1600s on the ceiling of a large hall in a palace. If you were to visit this palace and try to study the painting from below . . . first of all, you’d get a stiff neck.
You might get a little bit dizzy, and you’d probably find it difficult to make out all those magnificent figures on the ceiling. (I’m getting a little dizzy just looking up there.) But, thankfully, the owner of the palace installed a large, tilted mirror near the floor so that visitors could look into the mirror and get a better, clearer, more detailed view of the fresco up on the ceiling.
We approach a God who is majestic! He is magnificent! But He is a Spirit, and He is far above us—He is transcendent. First Timothy 6 tells us that He dwells in unapproachable light. It’s impossible for us to see Him, much less draw near to Him, on our own.
Thankfully, Jesus came to this earth to mirror for mankind the cosmic presence of God that is so far above us that we could not see Him. Jesus was God’s mirror. He came to reveal God to man. He came so we could see what God looks like.
We want to take a look today at a name for Jesus that expresses this aspect of who Jesus is. If you have your Bible, let me encourage you to turn to the Gospel of John, chapter 1, and begin reading at the very first verse.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made (vv. 1–3).
Now skip down to John 1:14:
And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.
The apostle John is the only New Testament author to call Jesus “the Word.” He does so in the Gospel of John, and in his first Epistle of John, and also, as we’ll see, in the book of Revelation. When he talks about the “Word,” that’s the Greek word logos. So when you see the “Word,” that’s the logos.
What does the word logos, one of His names, tell us about Jesus? The opening of John’s gospel tells us that Jesus, the Logos, the Word, was eternally pre-existent. He always existed. “In the beginning was the Word.” Before the heavens and the earth were created, before Jesus came to this earth, before there was any history, Jesus was. He was eternally pre-existent.
This passage also tells us that the Logos, the Word, was God . . . that Jesus is God. This is one of the clearest statements in the Bible regarding the deity of Christ. “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God.”
Interestingly, Jehovah’s Witnesses translate John 1:1 differently. The New World Translation says, “The word was a God,” versus the more accurate, “the Word was God”—it’s important to get that straight. The Word was pre-existent in all of eternity past; the Word was God.
Then Scripture tells us that the Word, the Logos, Jesus, became a man—it speaks of the humanity of Christ. “The Word was made flesh and dwelt among us.” God’s mirror—so that we could see what God looks like. He took on human flesh so that God could be revealed to mankind.
Here’s how the apostle John talks about it in 1 John chapter 1. He says,
That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word [logos] of life—the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us (vv. 1–2).
The word, the logos of God, was made manifest. We saw Him with our own eyes, we heard Him with our own ears, we touched Him, we lived with. The logos . . . something that people could never do with God before the logos came to reveal God to us.
The term logos in the Greek language would have been familiar to both Jewish and Greek readers in John’s day. John used this term—it’s really fascinating—he used it as a bridge to connect with contemporary culture. For centuries before Jesus was born, Jewish and Greek philosophers had discussed the concept of logos.
To the Jews, the Word of God was the revelation of God, the revelation of God’s will. You may have heard of the Septuagint, which is the Greek translation of the Hebrew Old Testament. It was translated about the third century before Christ. In Jesus’ day when Jews read the Old Testament, they would often read the Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Hebrew Old Testament.
We see this Greek word logos in that Greek translation of the Old Testament. For example, in Genesis 15: “After this, the word [logos] of the Lord came to Abram in a vision.” Psalm 33, verse 6: “By the word [by the logos] of the Lord were the heavens made, their starry host by the breath of his mouth.” So the Jews understood that the Logos, the Word of God, was God revealing Himself, God creating, God acting, God alive in His creation.
You’ve heard, I’m sure, that the Jews highly esteemed the sacred name of God. They reverenced it—JHWH (Yahweh)—and didn’t want to speak that sacred name aloud for fear of tainting it or using it in some disrespectful way, so when they would read the Old Testament, the Jews often substituted the Aramaic term that means “the word.” It’s the word memra. When they would see the word Yahweh, they would substitite that word, "the word"—memra in Aramaic, logos in Greek.
You didn’t know you were going to get a language lesson today, did you? And by the way, I’m not smart enough to know all this stuff without looking it up. You can get it the same way.
This is the God who reveals Himself. It’s one of the Old Testament titles for God—the Word, memra, logos. The Old Testament Jews expected God, the Messiah, to come as the Word of God—the One who reveals God, the One who expresses God to us. Their prophets called the Messiah the Word. They expected the Word to come.
The Hebrews were familiar with this concept of logos, the Word. But the Greek philosophers talked about logos as well. Plato and Aristotle talked about the logos as a tool to help people grasp the concept of ultimate, transcendent reality that was above and beyond themselves. They used logos to mean the final, definitive word, the “bottom line” on a matter—the ultimate reality—that was the logos.
Philo was a Jewish rabbi in Alexandria who lived from 20 B.C. until about 50 A.D., so he would have been alive during that time that Christ was here on this earth. A few years before the death of Christ, Philo wrote extensively on the word logos. In his writings he brought together the Greek and the Hebrew concepts, and he talked about the logos as the means by which a transcendent God, up there, out there, who was a spirit being could have contact with His creation . . . by means of the word, the logos.
He talked about the logos as the means by which mankind could approach that transcendent God who was otherwise unapproachable. He talked about the logos as God’s way of revealing His will to humans, being active in the world. So by the first century, when the apostle John was writing the gospel, and his epistle, and the Book of Revelation, this word logos had become a familiar and important concept to both Jews and Greeks.
When the apostle John started his gospel, “In the beginning was the logos”—the word—he knew that that word would get the attention of his readers. It was a powerful way of introducing both Jews and Greeks to Jesus, the Logos of God. Under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, John infused this word with a richer, fuller meaning.
To the Greeks, you see, logos was an impersonal force, never a person. But John said this Jesus, this Logos, was not an impersonal force—He was a person. The idea that the logos was personal—was made flesh and dwelt among us, that we could see and hear and touch Him and walk with Him—that whole idea about logos was distinctive to Christianity . . . not an impersonal force but a person, God made flesh.
This Logos, this Word, was that ultimate transcendent reality that philosophers had sought to understand for centuries. He was God. Jesus was God’s mirror, God’s way of making Himself known to His creation.
If you think about what words do, they reveal the thinking, the mind, the heart of the person who’s speaking. They express what the speaker is thinking. If somebody is thinking but they don’t use any words to express themself, there’s no way of knowing what they’re thinking.
I may be thinking, for example, Would someone please close that door in the back of the room? But nothing is going to happen until my thoughts become words—until I say, “Would someone please close that door in the back of the room?”
Jesus is the physical manifestation of God the Father. He’s the expression of the Father’s thoughts, the Father’s heart, the Father’s will. Jesus makes the invisible God visible. He makes the unknown God knowable. John says in chapter 1:18,
No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father's side [Jesus, theLogos/Word of God], he has made him known.
Jesus was the final, the complete revelation of God in person.
He was the living word, the living Logos of God. He revealed the Father. God would have remained utterly incomprehensible to human beings if Jesus, the Logos, the Word, had not revealed Himself to us. Jesus, the Word, is God’s wisdom expressed to mankind. He is the means of communication between God and man.
When Jesus speaks, we are hearing the voice of God, the message of God, the thoughts of God. Jesus unveils God to us.
Second Corinthians 4:6 says it this way,
For God, who said, "Let light shine out of darkness," [that God who spoke in Genesis 1] has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God [how?] in the face of Jesus Christ [the Logos, the Word].
So, through Jesus, that transcendent, invisible, unknowable God draws near to us.
Aren’t you glad that He can be known? He makes it possible for us to know God.
In the Old Testament, there had been shadows of God, seen in creation, heard through the prophets, but Jesus, the Logos, the Word, is the ultimate fulfillment and the true substance of those shadows. Jesus, the Logos, is God’s revelation.
Hebrews 1 says it this way: “Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son . . .” the Logos, the Word of God. Jesus is God speaking His revelation, and Jesus Christ the living Word was active not only in revelation, but in creation.
The Logos active in creation, Hebrews 1 again: “[God] has spoken to us by his Son, through whom also he created the world” (v. 2). Hebrews 11: “By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word [the logos] of God”—by Jesus, the revelation of God (v.3). “By him all things were created, in heaven and on earth” Colossians 1"16 tells us.
So, Jesus was active in revelation, active in creation, and not only did He create everything that is, but He sustains and holds together the world that He created.
Going back to Hebrews 1, “He is the radiance of the glory of God, the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word [the logos] of his power.” He didn’t just speak the world into existence, He’s holding the world together. He’s got the whole world in His hands, upholding it by the word, the logos, of His great power.
Jesus is the Word of God. He’s the means through which God spoke the whole world into being, and He’s the Word that expresses and reveals the invisible Father to His human creation.
But not just revelation and creation . . . the Word, the Logos, is also active in redemption. First Peter 1 says, “You have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word [logos] of God” . . . active in our redemption (v. 23).
Then, that Word, that Logos, provides illumination: revelation, creation, redemption, and illumination. John 1, again, “In him was life, and the life was the light of men” (v. 4). Psalm 119:105, you know that verse: “Your word [in the Septuagint, that would be logos] is a lamp to my feet, and a light to my path.”
Who is the lamp to our feet and the light to our path? It’s Jesus, the Logos, the Word of God, the Light of the World. He is the One who shines light on our steps. Jesus is the eternal Word of the eternal God, active in revelation, in creation, in redemption, and in illumination, and He will always be the personal, visible expression of the Father.
One day, this Word, this Logos, will return to earth in His glorified body. Let me read you a paragraph from Revelation 19 that describes the scene—one of my very favorite passages in all of God’s Word.
Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war. His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are many diadems, and he has a name written that no one knows but himself. He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word [the Logos] of God (vv. 11–13).
The Word, the Logos, comes back to this earth, this time to conquer and reign and rule. His robe dipped in blood reminds us that it was at the cross that this Word, this Logos, proclaimed to the world God’s message of forgiveness for rebellious sinners. The Word of God, dressed in a robe dipped in blood.
Let me remind us, as we close this session . . . As we look at each of the names of Jesus through this series, remember that they are life-changing names of Jesus. These are not just things to fill our heads with more knowledge, and I know I’ve dumped a lot of things on you today about Greek and Hebrew and Septuagint and logos.
Some of you are still scratching your heads. You can go to back to ReviveOurHearts.com, and pick up the transcript and go through this study more carefully, especially if you’re saying to yourself, I’m not sure I caught all that.
As we look at each of these names, we want to say, “What does this mean to us as we live our lives today? What difference does this name make in my life? What difference should it make it my life?” So as we consider Jesus the Word, the Logos, of God, I want to remind us, first, that Jesus didn’t just come to give us the Word of God—He did that—but He is the Word of God.
He is the very expression of the thoughts, the heart, the mind, the will of God. When Jesus speaks, God speaks. He gave us Himself—God spoke to us through Jesus, and He continues speaking to us through Jesus, the Living Word, and through this written Word of God.
God has spoken through His Son. Jesus is the Word, the Logos, of God. He reveals, discloses, unveils God to us. He reveals the way to the Father. Jesus is God’s final word. There is no more word. There is no more new revelation. Jesus is God’s final Word: “In these days God has spoken to us through His Son, Jesus.”
Here’s the obvious question in my mind: God has spoken. Are we listening? Are we listening to Jesus? Are we hearing the Word of God? “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.” Are we listening to God’s Word, or are we filling our minds with all the other “words” of this world?
Are we filling our minds with the world’s novels and TV programs and movies and music, or are we filling our minds with Jesus, the Word of God? Are we listening? He has spoken loudly and clearly! John says, “We saw him; we touched him; we heard him.” He has spoken! Are we listening?
The wonderful truth is, because of Jesus, the Logos, the Word of God, we can know the Father. It’s amazing! But, you can’t know God if you’re not getting know His Son. You can’t hear God if you’re not listening to His Son speak, and His Son speaks to us day after day after day through this Word, illuminated by the Holy Spirit of God to our hearts.
You will never know the will of God, the thoughts of God, the mind of God, the heart of God, any better than you know His Son, Jesus. Jesus is the Logos, He is the Word. Do you want to know God? Get to know Jesus. The Holy Spirit of Jesus lives in us to make Jesus known to us, to make the Father known to us, to make the will of God known to us.
Do you want to know God’s will? Listen to Jesus. Do you want direction for your life, do you want light for your steps? Listen to Jesus. Let Him speak to you through His Word.
Leslie: Nancy Leigh DeMoss has been inviting us to get to know Jesus—the Word made flesh. Nancy will be right back to pray.
That teaching is part of a series called “The Wonder of His Name: 32 Life-Changing Names of Jesus.” Yesterday we looked at the first name—“Jesus.” And today has been “The Word.”
This series fits in well with the heart of Revive Our Hearts. We simply want women to know Jesus. That will transform everything.
As you listen to this new series, you’ll realize you can get to know Jesus in a whole new way by studying His names. To help you do that, we’d like to send Nancy’s book, The Wonder of His Name. Each devotional entry in this book will help you dig deeper into one of these names of Jesus. You’ll learn about Him, and you’ll also be invited to know Jesus Himself.
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