We can ask, when did the story of Jesus begin? The gospel of Mark begins his account with the ministry of John the Baptist. It was when Jesus was about 30 that he was baptized and began his ministry. Should we say that Jesus’ story begins with the baptism?
Some have said that Jesus did not become the “Son of God” until he was baptized and God said, “This is my beloved son, in whom I am well pleased.” But we have go back further.
Matthew and Luke start with the Christmas Story. We could say that the story of Jesus begins when he is conceived by the Holy Spirit. That is when we agree that life begins – when a child is conceived.
Matthew traces Jesus story in the genealogy back to Abraham. Maybe the truth is that Jesus story began when God first called out Abraham to become a father of a nation.
Luke also has a genealogy, and his genealogy goes back to the creation of Adam. We could say that the story of Jesus really began when God formed Adam out of the ground and breathed life into him. Yet Luke adds a little clue. He calls Adam the “son of God” in Luke 3:37. So Luke traces the story back before the human race, to God.
John was the last gospel written. It is different from the other three in its emphasis and style. It tells us about the same Jesus as the others. The Gospel is the same. Matthew seems to show how Jesus came from the nations Israel. Mark shows Jesus as a man of action. Luke shows the human side of Jesus and his compassion for the lost. John shows that Jesus is the Eternal Son of God.
John 1:1 takes back beyond time. He says, in the beginning “was” the word. The beginning in the bible means the creation of heaven and earth. Here John 1:1 is an echo of Genesis 1:1. “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”
So is John saying that Jesus story begins with the creation of the world? No John put’s Jesus story even beyond that. Notice that the verb is in the past tense. “In the beginning was the word.” He did not say, In the beginning, the word began. He said, in the beginning the word was. Jesus was already there before there was any universe at all.
John is saying that Jesus is eternal. Not only is he as old as the Creation, he existed before there was anything. We learn from the Bible that God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit existed in Love and Unity from Eternity. They have always existed that way. Even before we had a sun and moon to mark the passage of time, God existed.