He may have already stopped hoping by the time Hope was born.
Over 400 years of silence from God overshadowed this man’s ancestors. It was a silence that rivaled the 430 years of Jewish slavery in
Egypt. And this Jew, born in the Egypt that had
enslaved his ancestors, thought he may as well have been hoping for a
resurrected Moses liberator as for a Messiah after all that silence.
The way this man Philo saw it, it was time for God to step out from behind His curtain and once again declare “I AM.” But Philo Judaeus wasn’t seeing even a rustling of the curtain, so he decided to yank it aside himself. Moses was lost up on
and Philo took his cue from an impatient Aaron, building his own Messiah in one
Greek word: logos. Mt. Sinai
He used a little dab of Plato, a good helping of Hebrew Scripture misinterpreted as merely allegorical, and sprinkled his new creation with the other philosophies of the day.
He married philosophy with God and birthed his own mediator between God and man: logos, which in his mind meant “reason.”
Meanwhile, the true Logos was being born of a virgin in a forgotten stable in a conquered
Philo, looking back on the baffling centuries of silence, said that God was unknowable. He said that the world was senselessly evil, and that since God could not come in contact with such blackness, He could not have directly created it. This is where Philo’s logos came in, the neither unbegotten nor begotten second-in-command to God, the mystical mediator of God’s powers to humanity, the philosophical substitute for the Messiah.
Meanwhile, the true Messiah was getting to know fishermen and tax collectors. He, as one with God, was performing miracles and changing lives. He was getting dirty and tired and hungry in villages and on roads, yet He was utterly and completely God at the same time.
Philo saw his logos as “reason:” impersonal, archangelic, the Idea of Ideas.
Yet the Messiah on the cross was not impersonal, nor merely angelic, nor a mystical idea. He was Someone greater: the Word become flesh who dwelt among us (John 1:14).
“In the beginning was the Logos” carries with it a declaration as weighty as the entire history of the world:
Jesus is the Logos who spoke the world into existence.
Jesus is the Logos who fulfills the Ten Logoi: the Ten Commandments.
Jesus is the Logos who declares “I AM.”
Jesus is the Logos who broke 400 years of silence.
Jesus is the Logos who was seen by human eyes and touched by dirty human hands and heard and known by His creation. He was just as much the Word when He was in Mary’s uterus as He was when He was bleeding on the cross or sitting at the right hand of God.
Yet Philo may have already stopped hoping by the time Hope was born, settling for a God who needed the universe to avoid a death of loneliness and a logos no greater than the limits of Philo’s own human creativity.
But when John divinely penned, “In the beginning was the Word” and “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us” God divinely shattered Philo’s idol of reason and his convenient pseudo-Messiah that fit his culture, emotions, and demands of God.
With “In the beginning was the Word” God divinely shattered the convenient idols of my age, too: the pseudo-Messiahs that fit nicely into my boxed traditions of who I think God should be. John used the very Greek word Logos that Philo had twisted, with all the weight of the Jewish history, and bridged the way to the the Word for both Gentiles and Jews.
It was the birth announcement of our Hope. And with that, 400 years of silence was shattered by the Word, crying in a stable.
Lauren’s best friends are her family–her parents, Steve and Jennifer, and her five siblings. She is passionate about history, good music, and being a feminine woman in a feminist culture. You’ll find her blogging at One Bright Corner with her twin sister, Mikaela, and typing behind-the-scenes on the Christian Heritage blog and newsletter. When she’s not doing that, she loves teaching music, being outside, and ministering with her family!