You may have been at a lecture where the speaker gave you a summary of what he or she were going to talk about in their first few words and then proceeded to flesh out their initial statements. This is what the apostle John does here. Now this book was possibly one of the last to be written of all the New Testament and, as with the other three Gospels, there are specific reasons why John decided to write this account and how he wrote it. The first Gospel to have been written was probably Mark's and when you read this it is all short sentences, lots of activity, it is written as a tabloid and generates excitement in its reader. Matthew was principally writing to Jews, Luke to Gentiles and John wrote to emphatically state that Jesus Christ is God, co-equal in the Trinity with the Father and the Holy Spirit: not a sub-god, not just a great man, not a step along the way to the great Unknown God-as the Gnostics were pronouncing- but God come down, made flesh fully human (not just dressed up as a man), fully God: a greater mystery than man or woman could ever imagine.
John's story then is simply about God, the glory of His character, the nature of His life and His desire to share that life with His creatures. He plunges us immediately into the heart of the revelation by giving in the opening verses clues as to what we are to watch out for in reading the next twenty one chapters.
John echoed the beginning of Genesis in his opening words and emphasises the role of the Word in creation, nothing was made without Him, everything was created through Him! The Word existed before creation and had an equal relationship with God the Father, one with Him, essential to the effective working of the Godhead. Another central theme in John's Gospel is the relationship between the Father and Jesus Christ: ''I can do nothing on my own'', declares Jesus later in the Gospel. The two are one, yet the Word, as we will read in the next verses, has come to live on earth.
We can never completely turn away from the world, as the Word has chosen to live here; we can never reject our bodies, because the Word took on human form.
What an exciting start to a book! When I was young I used to read thrillers by Alastair MacLean and his books always began in the heart of the action. None of his books ever brought me the excitement that the opening chapter of John 1 does!