There is only one such person whichever way unity. They tell the whole story hanging at the end of John’s pen. This little bit commonly called the prologue is a gem of simplicity and compactness.
It is John’s Gospel in miniature, even as John’s Gospel is the whole Bible story in miniature. You can see the whole of the sun reflected in a single drop of water. You can see the whole of both Father and Son in the action of love in these simple opening lines of John’s Gospel.
Have you ever been walking down a country road till, weary and thirsty, you stopped at an old farmhouse and refreshed yourself at the old-fashioned well, with its bucket and long sweep? And as you rested a bit by the well you wondered how deep it was. It didn’t look deep at all. The water was near, and it was so clear and sweet and refreshing, and so easy to get at for a drink.
Is it deep? So you fish a rather long bit of string out of your pocket, and tie it to a bit of stone you find lying close by. And you let the stone down, and down, and down, till you are surprised to find that the well is deeper than your string is long.
Well, John’s opening bit is just like that. It seems very simple, easily understood at first flush in the mere statements made. The water is near the top. You easily drink. And you are refreshed. But when you try to find out how deep it is, you are startled to find that it is clear over your head.
But it is never over your heart. It is too deep for you to grasp and understand. You never touch bottom. But it’s never beyond heart-understanding. You can sense and feel and love. You can open the sluice-gates into your heart, and have the blessed flood-tide lift and lift and bear you aloft and along. You can love. And that is the whole story.
Was John an artist? Is he making a rare painting for us here? Is he studying perspective, shading and spacing, to an exquisite nicety that is revealed in the very way he puts words and sentences and paragraphs together? I do not know. And if any of you think the thing I am about to speak of is due to a mere mechanical chance of the pen, I’ll not quarrel with you. Though I shall still have my own personal thought in the matter.
But will you notice this? John begins his prologue with a description of a wonderful personality. He ends it with another description of this same personality. Both descriptions are rare in beauty and boldness, in simplicity and brevity. And right midway between the two, at almost the exact middle line of the reading, at what is the artistic center, stands the word “came.”
That word “came” gathers up into itself and tells out to you the whole story about this twice-described personality. “He came” John says. That’s the whole thing. First the He fills your eye, and then what He did—came. And as you step off a bit for better perspective, and change your personal position this way and that to get the best light, you find the picture standing out before your awed eyes.