Our reading for Monday, April 8, 2019 is John 1:1-5.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4 In him was life, and that life was the light of men. 5 The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.
Of course from reading farther on in John’s gospel we learn the identity of the one he calls “the Word” as being Jesus. Tis is first suggested and then definitively revealed in verse 17. The reason behind John’s use of “the Word” to describe Jesus is due to the biblical record. In Genesis God is described as having created everything by speaking it into existence. We speak in words and John’s contention is that Jesus is God in human flesh. Without going into much detail concerning how this can be he explains his faith that Jesus, or at least his Spirit, was co-existent with the Father Creator from the beginning.
John also relies on the concept of word because his audience is not particularly Jewish, but Greco-Roman for whom philosophy and words were particularly relevant. While the first followers of Jesus were basically Jewish, the church had grown within forty years after Jesus to become comprised of predominately non-Jewish, or Gentile persons. John’s record is a great
deal later than the other accounts. John was a younger if not the youngest disciple and he was writing this gospel to a predominately non-Jewish constituency in Ephesus in Asia Minor which is now modern day Turkey.
While John’s gospel is markedly different than the other three we have in our Bibles the reasons are due to time, circumstance and the need. The witness is the same and the chronology of events and incidences selected to be told by John are done on the criterion of the need of his intended readers. The world view of the Greco-Roman placed emphasis on “light” or knowledge as the way to discover truth. This is the reason why John’s gospel is so attractive and mostly frequently quoted by contemporary Christians today as we too place such importance on human reason and knowledge.
Darkness is equated to ignorance and ignorance breeds human dysfunction and evil. The idea was that if a person embraced the right knowledge the path of earthly life would be blessed. Most of us would agree and so the reason our culture places such importance on education. The only problem is that knowledge in itself does not bring fulfillment. We have evolved through centuries of ever expanding knowledge and human capability only to discover that evil and injustice remain. Some today are on a misguided path believing that if we just permeated a humanistic agenda emphasizing science and technology that our world would be perfected.
Human enlightenment though without the knowledge and influence of God will not lead to human perfection. As God, Jesus is both the “Light of the world” and “Way, the truth, and the life” or way to true enlightenment and to quality of life God intended for humanity to possess. However, Jesus came into our human scene, spoke and demonstrated the truth, and humanity as a whole still has not received the truth or life Jesus reveals. The world we live in still does not accept the testimony of Jesus and remains in the ignorance of knowledge of the grace and will of God offered through faith in him.
You and I who are convinced of the truth of Jesus and have committed ourselves to be his disciples embody the truth of Jesus and are to be his light and conveyor of his life to a world still predominately controlled by darkness. The futility of the human agenda without God will only expose new ways to express the same problem of human evil. The world will still struggle to understand the light of his life and remain in the spiritual and moral darkness the world has known from our recorded history. Yet, as we witness faithfully to the truth of Jesus there will be those who will come to understand and embrace the truth to discover salvation from darkness and hope for eternal life both in terms of time and quality of life.
Let us live up to and boldly proclaim the truth of Jesus through the Word of Jesus and illuminate the dark places of life in our world with his love, grace and mercy.
Blessings! Brian Homan, pastor
Liverpool First UM Church