John opens his gospel in a different way than Matthew and Luke. Matthew and Luke begin by telling about Jesus’ birth, John goes back even further. John echoes the first words of Genesis, but he goes back even further than that, to the time before creation. In the beginning of everything was Jesus, the Word.
Three statements are made about Jesus in John 1:1. In the beginning was the Word harkens back to Genesis 1:1, In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The origin of creation is written about in Genesis 1:1. This is how everything in this world began. John is writing about the origin of all that exists, the very foundation of existence. Everything is derived from the origin or source of all things, and Jesus is at that origin. Everything has its beginning in and from the Word.
Second, the Word was with God. Here John writes about relationship, Jesus’ relationship with the Father. The Word was in the closest possible relation to the Father that he could be. Jesus didn’t only know God, like you might know someone who lives next door. Jesus wasn’t a long lost relative that you haven’t seen in a long time. Jesus and the Father are one in connection and relationship.
Third, the Word was God. Here we have to think like first century Jews. The Romans had a number of different gods, but the Jews believed in one God. They were what we call monotheists. They didn’t understand God as a Trinity, three persons in one God. John implies the Trinity here, and Scripture teaches that there are three persons in the godhead. God is a relational Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Jesus is not a created being, or another god, he is God. Nothing less than God can be said about the Word.
This verse may be hard to grasp, but that makes it no less true. Jesus was and is God. He is the source of all, one in the closest relationship possible with the Father. Worship Jesus, the Word, as God today, along with John!