Weather Alert:

Church programs for Monday, Jan. 22 will resume their normal schedule at all locations this evening.

Programming Note:

Leawood’s Sunday night in-person worship has been moved to 4 pm for Sunday, February 11. 

Close this search box.

Jesus: God’s glorious light become flesh

December 28, 2021

Daily Scripture

John 1:6-14

John 1:6-14

6 A man named John was sent from God. 7 He came as a witness to testify concerning the light, so that through him everyone would believe in the light. 8 He himself wasn’t the light, but his mission was to testify concerning the light.

9 The true light that shines on all people
was coming into the world.
10 The light was in the world,
and the world came into being through the light,
but the world didn’t recognize the light.
11 The light came to his own people,
and his own people didn’t welcome him.
12 But those who did welcome him,
those who believed in his name,
he authorized to become God’s children,
13 born not from blood
nor from human desire or passion,
but born from God.
14 The Word became flesh
and made his home among us.
We have seen his glory,
glory like that of a father’s only son,
full of grace and truth.

Daily Reflection & Prayer

“From the phrase ‘In the beginning’…to the language of light and darkness, Genesis is ever present in John. John wants us to perceive that the stuff of earth is the stuff of God.”* John’s gospel gave added emphasis to the understanding that since the beginning, the world had grown dark by turning away from God’s light. Into this darkened world, Jesus brought inextinguishable life and light for all who trusted in him.

  • John’s emphasis on “light” coming to the world was not a new idea. “Scripture and Jewish tradition recognized that God’s word offered life (Deuteronomy 8:1; 11:9; Baruch 4:1) and also light (Psalm 119:105; Baruch 4:2).”** But John’s clear assertion that “the Word became flesh” (in the person of Jesus) went beyond what Greek or Hebrew thinkers expected. How does it deepen your gratitude for Jesus that he didn’t just love you from a “safe distance,” but embodied God’s light in his life?
  • “The true light that shines on all people was coming into the world” (verse 9). So many kinds of darkness try to put out the light in our lives—the death of someone we love, a broken relationship, facing unfair or abusive treatment, financial uncertainty and fear, and many more. What does it mean to you that Jesus’ light keeps shining even at those times? How can you keep your spiritual eyes open to take in and apply Jesus’ light to all of life?

Dear Jesus, you gave me (and all of us) yourself as the most precious, life-giving gift of Christmas. I live in continued gratitude for all that supreme gift offers to me. Amen.

GPS Insights

Picture of Brandon Gregory

Brandon Gregory

Brandon Gregory is a volunteer for the worship and missions teams at Church of the Resurrection. He helps lead worship at Leawood's modern worship services, as well as at the West and Downtown services, and is involved with the Malawi missions team at home.

I love the gospel of John. Matthew talks about the fulfillment of prophecy, Mark is the action gospel, and Luke has a lot of details and an outsider’s perspective, but John uses philosophy and poetry to evoke the truth rather than just state the facts. Confession time: when I was in college, I was actually in a poetry club where we wrote and read poetry weekly. Poetry is really underrated as a vehicle for truth. In a world where truth is often interpreted as pure objective facts, it’s nice to see someone who uses art and beauty to communicate truth.

The first chapter of John has some nuances that aren’t immediately clear to modern readers. There was the concept of the Word—the Word was with God, and the Word was God. To the Greek readers John was writing for, they would have immediately recognized this as the Greek concept of LogosLogos, from which we derive our English word logic, was essentially an underlying sense of logic and reason. If a piece of persuasive writing built a solid logical foundation and avoided various fallacies, it was said to use Logos.

Ancient Greece was the birthplace of Western philosophy, so discourse grounded in the Logos was a cornerstone of the modern philosophical movement. Greek readers would have known Logos as something that would bring light into the world. It was a concept that led society away from ignorance and toward enlightenment, and it was a relatively recent innovation, so it was easy to view the Logos as an intellectual savior. So imagine the impact of John’s words in verse 14: “The Logos became flesh and made his home among us.” John had taken an abstract concept that led to enlightenment and equated that to Jesus coming into the world. The Greeks had many gods, so rather than use the concept of another god to describe Jesus, John used the concept of truth and rationality itself.

Modern Christianity talks a lot about the personal nature of God, and it’s kind of lost on us how radical the idea of a knowable god was at the time. Forgetting what we know about God and thinking instead of getting to know the underlying sense of logic and rationality that is used to understand and describe the universe gets us pretty close to understanding how groundbreaking that idea was back then.

Having access not only to a personal savior but also an embodiment of the truth that permeates the universe gives some understanding of the many different things God can be to people who need him. There are times I need the personal God, and there are times I need the cosmic God, and our God is both.

© 2024 Resurrection: A United Methodist Church. All Rights Reserved.
Scripture quotations are taken from The Common English Bible ©2011. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

* Jamie Clark-Soles, introductory note “Genesis Creation” to John 1 in The CEB Women’s Bible. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2016, p. 1337.

** NIV, Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible, eBook (Kindle Locations 239435-239437). Zondervan. Kindle Edition. The book of Baruch, probably written about 100-200 years before Jesus’ birth, was not included in the Hebrew Scriptures, but reflected Hebrew beliefs at that time. Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Bibles include it; Protestant Bibles list it as an “apocryphal” book.