The intro to this gospel can conjure up all the big, existential questions we ask ourselves:
- What is the meaning of life
- How did we get here
- Is there something bigger at work
- What or who is the source of life
- How did this all begin
This is a book a child could read, and scholar could be perplexed by.
“Words create worlds”
Whoever said this must have been influenced by Gen.1 and John 1.
In Genesis 1, the text says that “God said”, and then it happened.
In John 1, the spoken Word becomes flesh to come live with us.
It’s our words (and actions) that give expression to imagination, fear, love. We use words as the medium to communicate longing, dreams, hopes, hurts. It’s a word that can change the trajectory of your life: you’re hired, fired, promoted, you’re doing a great job.
Jesus comes as the principle Word to give light and life. And our response, based on his activity in us, is to receive and believe. In some ways, I think it must be in that order: to receive his grace and truth, and that turns into believing. Not the other way around. I’m sure it’s a both/and paradigm.
Jesus…the Face of God
There’s no doubt who or what this book is about. Maker of heaven and earth. The One who existed before the beginning. The one who is light and gives life. The phrase “through him” is repeated three times, not including all the “He” statements followed by the action (i.e. made). And why does this matter? Does it matter that you and I believe and receive this figure who makes these claims? Does it matter what you put your trust in, hope in?
v. 10-12 says that his own didn’t recognize or receive him.
“Why do we struggle to believe and receive Jesus as the One True God? “
I know I do.
Something happens to me when I visit the beach. I feel so small and displaced as the center of the universe. I’m grateful that I’m not the center or the one who is fully in control. That comforts me.
- If you want to know who the source of life is.
- If you want to know who the CEO is…
- If you want to know who God is….
John is going to tell you right up front: look long and hard at Jesus.
v.18 – No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known.
I remember visiting an employees neighbor who was given weeks to live, and during our conversation, I asked him what he hoped would happen after death. He said he was an atheist and didn’t think anything would happen. I asked him how he felt about that. “I guess I really don’t want that.” I asked him, “What WOULD you like?”
“To see my wife and be young again.”
We talked a little about my faith tradition and asked if we could pray. He was very open and receptive.
Jesus is moving into the neighbor, our hearts. Would you recognize him and receive him? He receives and recognizes you. He believes in you. He’s had you in mind even before the beginning. I know…it’s a scandalous statement that Jesus makes. But it’s comforting, isn’t it?
Peace be with you.