In Genesis, the first book of the Bible, God is presented as speaking the creation into existence. God speaks the word and it happens; heaven and earth, ocean and stream, trees and grass, birds and fish, animals and humans. Everything, seen and unseen, called into being by God’s spoken word.
In deliberate parallel to the opening words of Genesis, John presents God as speaking salvation into existence. This time God’s word takes on human form and enters history in the person of Jesus. Jesus speaks the word and it happens: forgiveness and judgement, healing and illumination, mercy and grace, joy and love, freedom and resurrection. EVERYTHING broken and fallen, sinful and diseased, called into salvation by God’s spoken word.
For, somewhere along the line things went wrong (Genesis tells that story, too) and are in desperate need of fixing. The fixing is all accomplished by speaking–God speaking salvation into being in the person of Jesus. Jesus, in this account not only speaks the word of God; He IS the Word of God.
Keeping company with these words, we begin to realize that our words are more important than we ever supposed. Saying “I believe,” for instance, marks the difference between life and death.
Our word accrue dignity and gravity in conversations with Jesus. For Jesus doesn’t impose salvation as a solution; he narrates salvation into being through leisurely conversation, intimate personal relationships, compassionate responses, passionate prayer, and–putting it all together–a sacrificial death.
We don’t casually walk away from words like that.
(By Eugene Peterson, The Message, Introduction to the gospel of John.)
John 1, New Living Translation
Prologue: Christ, the Eternal Word
1 In the beginning the Word already existed.
The Word was with God,
and the Word was God.
2 He existed in the beginning with God.
3 God created everything through him,
and nothing was created except through him.
4 The Word gave life to everything that was created,
and his life brought light to everyone.
5 The light shines in the darkness,
and the darkness can never extinguish it.
6 God sent a man, John the Baptist, 7 to tell about the light so that everyone might believe because of his testimony. 8 John himself was not the light; he was simply a witness to tell about the light. 9 The one who is the true light, who gives light to everyone, was coming into the world.
10 He came into the very world he created, but the world didn’t recognize him. 11 He came to his own people, and even they rejected him. 12 But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God. 13 They are reborn—not with a physical birth resulting from human passion or plan, but a birth that comes from God.
14 So the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son.
15 John testified about him when he shouted to the crowds, “This is the one I was talking about when I said, ‘Someone is coming after me who is far greater than I am, for he existed long before me.’”
16 From his abundance we have all received one gracious blessing after another. 17 For the law was given through Moses, but God’s unfailing love and faithfulness came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has ever seen God. But the unique One, who is himself God, is near to the Father’s heart. He has revealed God to us.
WE ARE WITNESSES TO THE LIGHT!
As we begin our walk through John I pray we will see Jesus for Who He is–The Word made flesh who miraculously “moved into the neighborhood” of God’s created humans He was sent to seek out and to save. Jesus laid down His glory and entered earth as a defenseless baby under the care of God’s chosen, Mary and Joseph.
Jesus grows up under the care and watchful hand of God, His Father. Jesus doesn’t do anything until the Father tells Him. Jesus speaks only what the Father tells Him to speak for they are part of each other. Jesus also came to teach us how to serve, not to be served as the world seeks. “I did not come to be served, but to serve” says Jesus. Jesus, “showing the full extent of his love, bent down to serve by washing his disciples dirty feet, even the feet of the one who would betray him!
Yes, Jesus, The Word, existed in the beginning with God. The Word gives Life to everything that was created. The Word is the Light that shines in the dark and this Light, Jesus, cannot be extinguished.
Yes, I believe. Why wouldn’t I? I cannot think of one reason.
As we enter this wonderful celebration of when this Light came to earth, let us center our thoughts on Jesus. Just Jesus.
Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you. Just Thank you.
In Jesus Name. Amen. I believe.