The struggle for meaning can shatter you. Karen is strong, confident, and capable. She is successful. Women want to be her. Men want to marry her. Then she failed, very publicly. Her confidence collapsed. She became insecure, introspective, and incapable. “I don’t even know who I am anymore!” She groans. Keith has always struggled. He was a self-conscious kid, now he is a self-conscious adult. He was a deep feeling and quietly despairing kid, now he is as an adult. Keith reasons, “If there is a God, and he is all-loving, then he must not be all-powerful because of all the pain and suffering in the world.” He continues, “And if he is all-powerful, then he must not be all-loving because of all the pain and suffering in the world.” The struggle for meaning can shatter you. Welcome to John 1:1-5, where the Apostle John unleashes the meaning of life.
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (verse 1). “The Word” is mentioned three times. It is a big deal.
The ancient person would have heard verse 1 this way: “In the beginning was Reason, and the Reason was with God, and the Reason was God.” For the ancient person, reason was the mystery of meaning. Reason is a transcendent rational principle embedded into everything. Therefore, living a meaningful life is discovering, tapping into, or living by reason. Today, we simply add science and technology to reason’s power to create meaning. The Bible as a whole simply asks us to consider, “How do you reason love, hope, and even a meaningful life?”
The Apostle John takes a different approach. In verse 5 he writes, “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” The darkness here is not physical darkness but spiritual darkness, specifically a Dark Power loose in the world. John is asking us to consider, “How do you make sense of that – the dark extra human force lurking in human nature?” And perhaps more importantly, “How does reason overcome that?” John wants us to consider something, well, more meaningful.
The goal of John’s prologue in chapter 1 (verses 1-18) is to give an optic lens to consider Jesus, the Word. John is saying, “While we look at Jesus’ historical life and ministry, put these lenses on!”
Put on verse 1: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” Jesus is God himself, come to end the struggle for meaning.
Put on verse 4: “In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.” “Life” here is not biological life. It is original life, primary life, source life, or un-created life. Jesus is the meaning of life, come to end the struggle for meaning.
Put on verse 5: “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” In Jesus God descended into the depths of darkness, to the very dead center of meaninglessness, nothingness, despair, Sin, Death, and primal Evil. Once there, he drew the night to himself - Sin and its misery, Death and its horrors, Satan and his terrors. He drew all sources of active meaninglessness to himself. And overcame them, ended them.
The struggle for meaning is over. Receive Him, to end your darkness, to end your struggle for meaning.