“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 present 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 judgment, 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 gospel 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 words 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 causally walk away from words like that.”
This above introduction to the book of John was delivered by Eugene Peterson, a well-known theologian, pastor, and passionate Bible scholar whose life’s work was to put God’s Holy Word into the language we speak and understand today. He spent his life as a pastor translating and paraphrasing God’s Word in ways those he pastored could relate and internalize so they could grow in more intimate relationship with God. We applaud his work. We will use The Message as we read through the book of John, Jesus’ beloved disciple, who wanted the world to believe in Jesus and realize the extent of His love.
John 1:1-18, The Message
1 1-2 The Word was first,
the Word present to God,
God present to the Word.
The Word was God,
in readiness for God from day one.
3-5 Everything was created through him;
nothing—not one thing!—
came into being without him.
What came into existence was Life,
and the Life was Light to live by.
The Life-Light blazed out of the darkness;
the darkness couldn’t put it out.
6-8 There once was a man, his name John, sent by God to point out the way to the Life-Light. He came to show everyone where to look, who to believe in. John was not himself the Light; he was there to show the way to the Light.
9-13 The Life-Light was the real thing:
Every person entering Life
he brings into Light.
He was in the world,
the world was there through him,
and yet the world didn’t even notice.
He came to his own people,
but they didn’t want him.
But whoever did want him,
who believed he was who he claimed
and would do what he said,
He made to be their true selves,
their child-of-God selves.
These are the God-begotten,
14 The Word became flesh and blood,
and moved into the neighborhood.
We saw the glory with our own eyes,
the one-of-a-kind glory,
like Father, like Son,
Generous inside and out,
true from start to finish.
15 John pointed him out and called, “This is the One! The One I told you was coming after me but in fact was ahead of me. He has always been ahead of me, has always had the first word.”
16-18 We all live off his generous abundance,
gift after gift after gift.
We got the basics from Moses,
and then this exuberant giving and receiving,
This endless knowing and understanding—
all this came through Jesus, the Messiah.
No one has ever seen God,
not so much as a glimpse.
This one-of-a-kind God-Expression,
who exists at the very heart of the Father,
has made him plain as day.
Jesus, Son of God, sent to save the world from sin, all because of God’s unconditional, relentless love for His creation. Can we get an amen? Can we raise a hallelujah or praise with grateful hearts? Yes, and Amen! “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3;16
Believe and be saved.
Teach us about your love and help us to realize the depth of your love for us in the coming days ahead.
In Jesus Name, Amen