John 1A Beginning Word

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[Having finished Book I of the Psalms, I decided to turn my attention to the New Testament. And there’s no better place to start that the Gospel of John.]

Questions: How would you begin to tell the most incredible story you ever experienced — especially when others have told it before? What is the “Word” — What is the “Light” — How does it relate to “Life” —

“Read More” to pursue answers in the Gospel of John.

Lord, make me a Fountain of your Love
Draw me into your holy Presence, that I might know you as my Father
And manifest the image of Christ in this world, and the world to come. Amen.

John 1:1-18

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

To me, this is one of the most mind-boggling passages of scripture, even moreso than its parallel in Genesis. As a physicist, I love the Essenic idea that Word/Reason/Logic was present — even co-creating — at the beginning of the universe. Not to mention the idea that mathematical calculation is an intrinsic part of the Godhead. 🙂

The same was in the beginning with God.

Like in Genesis, though, the focus is less on mechanics than on authorship:

All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.

Which the author appears to be using to ascribe Jesus authority as the Source of Life:

In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.

Now, just to confuse things a bit, Author John starts discussing Baptizer John:

There was a man sent from God, whose name [was] John. The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all [men] through him might believe. He was not that Light, but [was sent] to bear witness of that Light. [That] was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.

Having provided such a luminous introduction, the author now gives us a foreshadowing of the conflict to come:

He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and his own received him not.

Ouch! But, there’s a silver lining to that:

But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, [even] to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

Yow! But, lest we think this a purely spiritual discourse, the author (literally!) brings it back down to earth:

And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

I am really struck by the word “beheld”, emphasizing up front that this is a matter of direct observation, not philosophical speculation. Which is reiterated by the witness of John:

John bare witness of him, and cried, saying, This was he of whom I spake, He that cometh after me is preferred before me: for he was before me. And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace.

A bit of a paradox there, just to whet our appetite. And perhaps to set the stage for the comparison to Moses:

For the law was given by Moses, [but] grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.

As well as the tension between the immanent (here, visible) and the transcendent (beyond, unseen):

No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared [him].

To me, this sums up at least one of the primary reasons Jesus came to earth. It really is important to know who our God is, and how can we know if we have not seen? This is why Christianity at its root (and hopefully its fruit!) is fundamentally empirical. Everything we know about God is based on what we (or others) have seen, starting from the firsthand testimony of Jesus.

Which we’ll have to save for another time.

Prayer

God, I feel like I’m standing on holy ground, witnessing events far beyond my ability to comment upon. Lord, teach me to open my eyes and see you, that I might know you even as those early disciples did, in the fulness of your glory overflowing with grace and truth. Not just to me, but to the world. I ask this in Jesus name, Amen.

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