In-person worship services will be held as scheduled this Sunday. Please use discretion when determining whether roads are safe for your personal travel.
If you are unable to travel, consider joining worship online HERE at 7:30, 9, 11 or 5pm, on-demand at Resurrection’s YouTube channel, or on TV at KMCI 38 at 8am or 11am.
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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.
15 John testified about him, crying out, “This is the one of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me is greater than me because he existed before me.’”
16 From his fullness we have all received grace upon grace;
17 as the Law was given through Moses,
so grace and truth came into being through Jesus Christ.
18 No one has ever seen God.
God the only Son,
who is at the Father’s side,
has made God known.
“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 shared his conviction about Jesus. The letter to the Hebrews, likely written before John’s gospel, said, “In the past, God spoke through the prophets to our ancestors…. In these final days, though, he spoke to us through a Son…. The Son is the light of God’s glory and the imprint of God’s being” (Hebrews 1:1-3).
God, you have always wanted your human children not just to know about you, but to know you. Thank you for coming in Jesus to give us the clearest picture of your loving, forgiving heart. Amen.
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 Logos. Logos, 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.
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.
* Jamie Clark-Soles, introductory note “Genesis Creation” to John 1 in The CEB Women’s Bible. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2016, p. 1337.
** William Barclay, Daily Study Bible Series: The Gospel of John—Volume 1 Chapters 1–7 (Revised Edition). Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 1975, pp. 73-74.