Blogging Towards Sunday, July 3, 2011
Chosen by a member of the church I serve as one her favorite Bible passages, these opening verses of John’s gospel are hauntingly powerful. The words are carefully chosen by their author. John copies and tweaks the original sentence structure of the creation story in the first verses of book of Genesis. The other gospels (Matthew, Mark and Luke) start with the birth of Jesus (Matthew & Luke) or with his baptism (Mark). John however chooses to start at a different beginning, the beginning of the story of God’s relationship with humanity and creation. It’s not by accident that he does that, calling Jesus the LOGOS – the Greek philosophical word used by philosophers from Socrates to Aristotle for divine wisdom, the intelligence that isn’t humanly attainable, a living word that makes life possible. He doesn’t do it on a whim, but with carefully crafted intention.
The text articulates a global vision of Jesus of Nazareth. In theology this portrait is often called the “Cosmic Christ.” Christ is not just the human being that lived in ancient Palestine, but the eternal Word of God actively present in the movement of creation. John talks of creation as a discussion, a dialogue between God and the universe facilitated by the Living Word through which all things have life. Strikingly verse 5 can be translated with two meanings; either “The light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not understood it” or “The light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it.”
Who do you most identify with: Jesus as the man from Nazareth, God incarnate, or Jesus as the Cosmic Christ, eternally present and active in creation? Why?
· What word, image or phrase in this passage grabs your attention?
· How does that word, image or phrase touch your life and what you’re living or wrestling with these days?
· How do you hear the Spirit of God inviting you – or us as a church – to act, speak or be through this passage?
· How do you experience Jesus as light in your life?
· How do you experience Jesus as a living Word in your life?
· How do you need Christ to help you overcome the darkness in your life today?