Saturday, April 4, 2015

In the beginning was the Word—

       In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.
The first five verses of the gospel written by John the beloved, majestic and mystical. He continues:
       There came a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness, to testify about the Light, so that all might believe through him. He was not the Light, but he came to testify about the Light.
       There was the true Light which, coming into the world, enlightens every man. He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.
There is great beauty and elegance in these words and, at least if we've grown up in the church, we've heard them so often we tend to gloss over them and not really stop to ponder them. But, if we do-- there is so much present: unity with the Father, from before creation began, and the full attribution of Author of all that exists; the distinction of Light from darkness and the fact that darkness does not comprehend Light. That explains a lot, actually.

And in the second block of scripture, verses 6-13, we see the true Light, coming into the world, enlightening humanity, and the world is basically oblivious: it doesn't know the Light. The King James Version says, "He came unto his own, and his own received him not," one of the most poignant phrases in all of literature. Jesus, Yeshua, suffered rejection and profound misunderstanding - and He felt it, as any human, and He bore it, as perfected humanity.

We also see that the popular phrase "brotherhood of Man under the Fatherhood of God" isn't scriptural. Verse 12 says explicitly, "But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name". In other words, there is a selective "brotherhood of man under the Fatherhood of God" which is those who believe in Jesus: we are made brothers and sisters in Him and He prays that we will "be one" just as He and the Father are one.

That is a prayer realized in heaven but not yet here on earth; look at the schisms and divisions in Christendom and clearly we are not yet enjoying that holy unity which one day we will enjoy.
       And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.
Jesus, Yeshua, pitched His tent among us - He "tabernacled" among us. The Greek word is σκηνόω and what an evocative word-picture it is, what a great description of the Incarnation: the Creator before-space-and-time-existed steps inside His own creation and becomes a part of it, subjects Himself to its constraints and the vagaries of humanity (not to mention the harassment of fallen angelic beings)—how extraordinary! (the Greek word skēnoō).

For a long time I've thought that John's gospel is like a knife-edge, growing ever-sharper until finally you must come down on one side or the other: either you come into agreement with John that Jesus, Yeshua, is God Incarnate and died in our place—or you don't. It's not a fence upon which you can sit.


  1. Some of my favorite words in scripture are, "And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us...."

    Thank you for this post, Lynn. I have long enjoyed your insights into the Bible, and I look forward to reading them in this blog. May God continue to give you wisdom as you write.

    1. Thank you for your encouragement, Joe, and I gratefully receive that prayer.