March 2, Wednesday
The Word Saves*
John 1:1-14 (NRSV)
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it. There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. He himself was not the light, but he came to testify to the light. The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world came into being through him; yet the world did not know him. He came to what was his own, and his own people did not accept him. But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God, who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God. And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth.
I like to view Chapter 1, verses 1-14 of the New Testament’s Gospel of John as a bookend to the Old Testament’s Book of Genesis narrative. In the latter, the text describes creation as a sequence of events with significant milestones that include the creation of Adam and Eve, the Fall, Abel’s dastardly murder of his brother, God’s covenant with Abraham, and the continuance of a relationship with Abraham’s descendants. While Old Testament prophets were frequently utilized as lightning rods to help bring a frequently wayward nation into line, prophets served as seers, prophesying events and admonishing the people to mend their ways. The Old Testament Prophet Isaiah stands above all others as having articulated a foreshadowing of the Abrahamic Covenant, that Divine promise to redeem humanity. Unfortunately, for two millennia the Covenant God made with Abraham has been misunderstood as an exclusively ethnocentric agreement between God and a certain national group to the exclusion of others, and as a real estate transaction between God, Abraham and his descendants. Hence the prevailing misinformed notion among numerous evangelicals claiming that current events in the Near East are part of God’s grand design.
Because a cornerstone of Christian dogma is based on revelation, the very first verse in the Gospel of John establishes the following certainty: God was, is, and will be; God is the Word; He is the source of life and light, a light that “shines in the darkness.” The operative words and phrases in verses 1-14 are: “Beginning;” “Word was with God, and the Word was God;” “All things through Him, … in Him was life, … [and] life was light. … And the Word became flesh and lived among us.”
No doubt influenced by Neoplatonic concepts and in scholarly style, the Apostle John utilizes the first 14 verses as a prologue to succinctly declare that God is the Alpha and Omega, and that the ancient covenant made with Abraham was fulfilled when God offered himself as a sacrificial lamb, and in human form, to die for and to save all of humanity. Jesus’ human suffering and his resurrection are an affirmation that we are redeemed and assured eternal life through His son.
Inevitably, at certain instances in our personal journeys on the road we call life - when and if we encounter doubt – what can we draw from this text?
During this season of Lent we are reminded of the significance of Your word and promise of eternal life, a life that can only be attained through salvation. We are reminded that You offered Your son as a sacrificial lamb, a lamb who suffered excruciating pain so that we may attain eternal life through him. Forgive us of our sins and give us the wisdom and fortitude to do Thy will so that Your light will shine in our lives.
By Raouf Halaby, former CBFAR Coordinating Council member
First Baptist Church, Arkadelphia
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