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John 1:1-5, NIV
1In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2He was with God in the beginning.
3Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4In him was life, and that life was the light of men. 5The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.
August 23, 2010 I wonder how long it took and how many drafts, for John to write his opening paragraph! The New Testament contains four Gospels which record the events surrounding the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. Only John begins with the astonishing statement that Jesus was present before creation--in the colorless void and deep, dark waters. When God said, "Let there be light", Jesus was the Word.
What an extraordinary way of placing Jesus, the humble Galilean itinerant teacher and healer, into the big picture. Elevated to the level of the Eternal One; Jesus always was and ever is the life-light of humankind! John could see it so clearly. He makes no mention of the stable with a manger crib or shepherds on the hillside. John is not limited by mundane details. He lifted his sights to glimpse it all, in total, and his pen moves with the broadest of strokes. And why not? Immanuel, The Promised One, God Incarnate, our Savior, Redeemer and Lord--the Word of God at the dawn of creation, and the Word still giving life to everyone who believes and receives him. Ablaze in distant galaxies, and up close in our world, too.
God's communication with us and our communication with God mark the beginning of our journey from death into life and from darkness into light. Jesus is the Word igniting that conversation.
More journal entries
October 25, 2001 In the beginning . . . . . Beginning an endeavor is fun, exciting and full of possibilities. I'm still on my first page. I do not know if I can or will be faithful to complete what is in my mind to journal through the Gospel of John.
God's dream for mankind was also full of possibilities. God is a God of hope; then, now and forever - through the bitter and the sweet. When God was on the first page, was God also questioning the wisdom and worth of it all?
Oct 26, 2001 The history of the world according to the Gospel writer is contained in his opening paragraph. From the creation until the advent of Jesus on earth, God ruled by speaking and Jesus has been the word and the life that gives light to all. But the goodness God created has taken a beating. The world just didn't get it.
To say that Jesus is the word speaks volumes about how God works and gets things done. Nothing is coerced. No stick is used. God speaks and the message is one of grace and truth.
What was it the darkness did not understand? That it could never defeat the light? That light is a better choice, a preferred alternative? One leads to life and the other to destruction and death?
If humankind could only see how much God loves them, maybe the light could grow greater and the darkness diminish.
August 24, 2010 Here's something else I wonder about. What was in our Maker's mind at the dawn of creation? What was God's desire for the created world? And why, knowing all things, would God subject himself to all the heartache that would surely follow the giving of freewill--to do good, or to do evil--to humankind!?
Genesis opens with the phrase, "In the beginning, God . . . ." John's Gospel also opens with the words, "In the beginning . . . ." But this time it's not about the creation of the heavens and the earth. This is God's new adventure and it's called a Gospel, meaning good news about God's Son, the one we call our Savior.
And I try to peer into the mind of our Heavenly Father as he weighs the risks versus the rewards of giving up that part of himself that we call God's Son. God the lover; God the risk-taker. The God of all hope; the God of all sorrows.
We didn't understand the first time around. Here's another chance. Maybe this time we will get it right.
February 19, 1982 At the beginning God expressed himself, and it was good. Expressed himself to whom? To Jesus? To the chaos and darkness? Maybe he said something like, "Things have got to change around here."
Did God speak out of his own need to be heard and understood, his need to share who he was and to communicate love? It is God's nature to love, does that mean God has a need to love? And be loved? Or have a I crossed a sacred boundary line? Does God have needs? If so, God found expression in creating the world.
February 20, 1982 The word was with God and was God from the beginning. So when the disciples traveled with Jesus and the crowds came to hear and see him, they were witnessing someone who existed from the beginning and was present at creation!
There could be no doubt then that Jesus knew everything about life and how to live it. He created male and female; so he knows all about us too. He possessed the knowledge and wisdom of God. That is mind boggling. Thoughts like that create a huge gulf between God and the people of earth. But Jesus made God personal, approachable and lovable. Jesus bridged that gulf.
Jesus, the Word, revealed the God of all time. There was nothing about God he didn't know. As I read the Gospel, I should note the characteristics of God which Jesus revealed.
February 24, 1982 Light shines into the darkness, yet darkness still exists. Light illuminates the darkness, and all the darkness in the world cannot put the light out. Light does not dispel all darkness, but provides a patch of safety and a direction to move toward. A candle burning in the darkness is greater than the darkness surrounding it.
Is my back toward the light as I follow the rays into the darkness? Or am I facing the light and leaving the darkness behind me? Do I walk in the darkness as long as there's a ray of light to see where I'm going? Or does the light make me seek more light--the brighter it is, the better I like it?
August 26, 2010 In the beginning . . . . Yet God is not limited by the boundaries of time. So what beginning is this? When is the beginning of something that is eternal? It must mean the beginning as far as we are concerned. It is in the heart of God that "I will be their God and they will be my people." That's God's dream for humanity, for all of us, from the beginning. That's what this thing called life is about according to our ancient but forever new Scriptures.
John wants us to think of Jesus as "with God, was God" from the beginning of creation. Why is that important? It creates an attitude of highest honor and respect for a position of authority equal to God. Sacred time is holy history.
God's communication with us and our communication with God started with the Word and before John's opening paragraph is complete we recognize and identify the Word as Jesus. Jesus is the Word that begins the conversation. God is the great Initiator who loved us first and acted on our behalf to shine the light of Jesus into our darkness.
Jesus used to say that sheep know their shepherd's voice. I'm afraid I don't know my Shepherd's voice. I've lost touch. Sheep are not all that smart yet even they know who to follow, they know who cares for them, who to trust. Why do I make something so simple, so difficult! Why do I withdraw and wander away? And forget the God who loves me? How stupid is that!
August 19, 2010 In the beginning . . . is my desire to read John's Gospel slowly, with an open and loving heart, and then put my thoughts, feelings, prayers, questions, any insights I receive, on "paper" in some form that is meaningful and authentic to me and that may inspire someone else in their quest to know something more about God and the Gospel story.
Where does this desire come from? I hope it is the Holy Spirit stirring me up to be and do more than I ever thought I could be or do. (Twice before in my life I did some journaling from John's Gospel and will draw from those entries also.)
This will be my new/current project. Going forward, I know it will challenge me in every way. There will be days when I will fly high in the bright skies of creativity, and days when I will sink into a well of despair and not want to continue. Progress will be punctuated by lapses and times of disgust for losing momentum. But though my faithfulness will wax and wane, I believe God will be steadfast, and bring me through it all to a good conclusion.
My aim is to be a channel through which our loving Heavenly Father will speak truth and grace to his children. And so I begin this new endeavor.