by Mason Dorsey
(Joh 1:1-2 NAU) “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God.”
Stanley Kubrick, director of Spartacus, A Clockwork Orange, 2001: A Space Odyssey, The Shining, and Full Metal Jacket, didn’t see any particular source of light or life in the universe. Instead: “The very meaninglessness of life forces man to create his own meaning. … The most terrifying fact about the universe is not that it’s hostile but that it is indifferent. … However vast the darkness, we must supply our own light.”
And there are those who would agree with Kubrick. It seems that life has a meaningless quality to it. And the universe is indifferent. The universe is not a sentient being, so it cannot care. Look up at the stars at night and tell them your problems. The stars do not care. They aren’t going to move for you to give you an answer. The planets don’t align to give you good fortune the next day, they just line up because that’s where they are in their respective orbits. The earth doesn’t move for us or stop moving so as to protect us. That’s okay, it was not created to.
Of course, where I disagree with Kubrick is that we have to supply our own light. I would suggest that the Light has been given to us, long before we were, the Light came to us.
“In Him was life and the life was the light of men.” Why does Jesus get to be the light of men?
Because He is (in the beginning with the Father). This is not in a sense like Jesus claimed the authority of being the light of the world, so He gets to be. It’s not like your boss walking up to your desk and saying please get this done, because I need it now. And then of course, you’re expected to get it done. It’s called positional authority, your boss has the position and so has the authority.
That’s not the way it is with Jesus. Jesus didn’t get promoted to be the light of men. Jesus didn’t win a “king of the cage” battle against all the other gods and so won the title, “Light of Men”. He’s not the light of men because of what He’s done or because someone promoted Him to be so.
Jesus is the light of men, because Jesus is. John declared that in the beginning was the Word. If there’s a beginning, then there has to be a time when something wasn’t. But then how could Jesus be there in the beginning? Because there is no beginning of Jesus. There’s no time when Jesus started, and previously Jesus did not exist. Jesus did not begin, Jesus is. For Jesus to have been there in the beginning, Jesus is.
The verb that always fits with Jesus is the present tense of the verb be, in the third person. No matter what point in time we are talking about, Jesus is. Before the beginning of all things, Jesus is. At the beginning of all things, Jesus is. In every point in history, Jesus is. Tomorrow, Jesus is. When the heavenly Jerusalem comes to earth, Jesus is. For all of eternity, Jesus is.
The only time we use the past tense to describe Jesus is when we talk about the 33 years He lived on earth and did something at a point in time, like He was born, talked, spoke, ate, healed, delivered, died. The only reason we use “will be” to talk about Jesus is to describe His coming back to intersect our time for the last time and permanently establish His Heavenly kingdom here, forever. But, if we’re talking about Jesus from an existence perspective, we only say that Jesus is.
There was a time when you and I weren’t, but not Jesus. Jesus is. There was a time when you and I did something, but not Jesus. Jesus is. There is this time now, when you and I are doing something. At this time right now, Jesus is. There is a time when you and I will do something, but not Jesus. Jesus is. That’s the beauty of Jesus being eternal, Jesus always is. Because Jesus is eternal, you and I have a beginning. But that also means you and I have an ending. However, because Jesus is eternal, you and I have a resurrection to being a permanent “is” with Jesus.
It’s Jesus who is, who took on our flesh and dwelt among us. This is why we have Advent to prepare us to receive Jesus. This is what we celebrate at Christmas. We celebrate The Word who always is, coming to be the light of men. There is no other source of light for us, for the universe. It’s only the Word who was in the beginning, who was with God, who is God.