Monday, September 26, 2016

It's a Mystery

It's interesting to read and compare the four gospel writers at the beginning of the New Testament, as they give their account of Jesus entering the world. Matthew takes us through the genealogy of the earthy ancestors which led up to the physical birth of Jesus. Mark begins with some words of prophecy from Isaiah about John the Baptist, seeming to skip a lot of the introduction of Jesus into the word, but giving us a glimpse of the happenings of Jesus' life, all very early in the gospel narrative. Then comes Luke with the beautiful story which we read and study each Christmas season, telling all the details of the virgin birth as its meaningfulness intertwines into history.  Finally, gospel of John really get us into deep thinking when he seems to focus on who Jesus is and the mission of the Lord while he lived in an earthly body.  John's account is often neglected because it is a more difficult to understand than reading a genealogy or listening to a story.

I picture a mood of boldness and confidence from John as he begins his gospel writing, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. "

To give us a little hint in understanding John, it's good to know and appreciate that John's reference to the "Word" is speaking about Jesus. Following that, we may be faced with more difficulty in understanding because we think the message is about the beginning of Jesus, but John wants us to know the Word was with God in the beginning (that's back in the Genesis days.)  Not only that but Jesus, the Word, was with God, and the Word was God. Jesus played a vital role in the creation of all things, and it is in him we find real life, the light of all mankind.  Even in a dark and dismal world, the Word is the light which shines in darkness and darkness will never overcome it. 

So to put it plainly, Jesus was present with God and was himself God, since the very beginning.  Generations before the baby Jesus was born in Bethlehem he was the active power in creation. It is difficult for even some Bible scholars to understand. Can the Creator become the Created? That is John's way of introducing us to the mystery which God does not expect us to understand with our brain, but to believe and accept with our hearts. The real power in all of this for you and me personally is a few verses into John 1.  "The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace" and truth.

This is how personal he becomes to us.  God sent his Son, giving us life, the light of all mankind, just for me to overcome the world's darkness. God gave his Son to die a death that I deserved, but instead he offers me forgiveness, grace, love, and eternal life. Sin leaves us all unlovable, but God still loves us and grants us the right to be called his children. 

The mystery of the ages, and he calls on us to believe. 


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