Saturday Sep 05, 2015

Gems in the Gospel of John - Part 02

Gems in the Gospel of John

Part 2 - John 1:1 - Jesus is God

‘In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.’

So John starts his gospel. He chooses to use a surprising word to talk about Jesus. Jesus is the Word. Why did he do that? There is no clear answer to that question. Perhaps the most probable is that there are a huge number of places in the Old Testament which refer to ‘the Lord said’ or ‘this is the word of the Lord’ and so on. But if the reason he used the word is not clear its implications are.

First: it says something very important about the Triune God. They talk to each other! They are not just one God with no one else to communicate to at the same level. They are not just three untouchable and unknowable parts of God. They communicate. If they did not, or if they had not all existed, it would not have been possible for John in his letter to say “God is Love” (1 Jn 4: 16). It is impossible to love without someone who is the target of that love. In God the Son, God the Father had the necessary target for his love. So he could be called Love, without qualification or addition. And because, and only because, he was Love could he place his love upon us. We, unworthy, undeserving and unholy people, could be loved by God. John says in that letter of his, ‘This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.’ Wow!

Second: this says something very important to this 21st century in which we live. Never, in all the history of mankind, has communication, information, words been so important. Words, words, words are everywhere. Previous centuries have been Ages of Agriculture, or Ages of Industrialization, but this is the Age of Information. Words now fly across the Internet at speeds previously unimagined; more and more of them every day. Many in positions of authority find they are in danger of drowning in words because they receive too many every day in emails. We now know that every new creature carries a coded set of information we call DNA from its parents; and that code is a form of words. Above it all unseen, unheard, unimagined, rejected by many or most, stands one who was called the Word, the Word who was God.

Let us hear again how John starts his Gospel: ‘In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.’

Skipping over all that might be said about the role of the Word in Creation and the way he had a hand in everything that was and is created we read that the greatest thing he made, that was his handiwork, was life and the light that we enjoy so much. To call life ‘light’ must seem strange to anyone who lives in those parts of the world where people are terrorized by other people, where people struggle to keep alive everyday for lack of food, where the pollution caused by mankind threatens to destruct people. There are so many ways that talking of life and light, not sunlight but the light of good living, in the same sentence seems to be a mockery. But we are not finished yet. Paul said, ‘I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. … the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.’

John of Patmos (probably a different John) said, referring to the heavenly Jerusalem, ‘The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp. The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendour into it. … The glory and honor of the nations will be brought into it.’

Have faith brothers and sisters. The Word has walked on this earth, has died and risen again, thus promising us that we will see the Light that shines in the darkness, Light which is so powerful that the darkness will never overcome it.

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