Our church is journeying through the book of John over the next 21 days. I'm a few days behind already...go figure. I'm going to try and blog some and share my reflections as I read. I'm not going to try and be heavy dig into the text with commentaries and so on this time. I would love to do that, but simply don't have the time to put into it right now. My prayer is that this is encouraging to you.
I love the way that the gospel of John begins. Its not a story about the birth of Jesus or a genealogy showing his birth line. No. John begins his gospel a lot like the book of Genesis. "In the beginning..."
Quickly John establishes that God is the beginning. It is through him that everything has life. Even more, there is a light in this life.
This idea parallels Genesis. God creates and sees his creation as good. The culmination of that creation is man, who is made in God's image. God puts his breath (spirit) within his creation--in the animals and into man. He has given them life. They are good, because he has made them.
There is something different in John though. There is this darkness, a darkness that came about as Adam and Eve ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, breaking their promise to God. From that point on, in my opinion, the Bible is about God trying to restore/rescue his creation back to its divine intention--to be good. The whole Old Testament is the story of this desire to redeem his creation, and his creations inability to see and accept it.
In John something new is happening. Verse 14 holds the key for me. The Word, the Logos in Greek, becomes flesh and lives among us. God worked as he could through interactions with his creation (namely the kingdom of Israel in the OT) and has not been able to catch their attention. So, he must come in a flesh form, as Jesus. The world is about to be turned upside down because the Light has returned to the world! (It feels like we should sing Silent Night now)
This light moving back into the world is Jesus, the Messiah. For the Jews back in the day, the word Messiah meant one thing--an anointed King coming into the world to restore Israel. I would guess they thought of him as a new King David, so to speak--one marked by God to make everything right. Jesus is going to make everything "right", but not in the way they expected it to be.
John is a good story teller. Right out of the gate here in the first chapter, he's introduced us to Jesus. He establishes him as the Messiah--the one who is the Lamb of God. As the priests question (grill) John the Baptist in the middle of the chapter, you can see the tension beginning to mount. Here is this man we have been waiting for, this messiah, this son of God!
The light has come into the neighborhood. Its going to light all the dark places. Its going to show a different way to live and think about the Kingdom of God. Its going to be beautiful and painful, because it means change.
As the chapter closes, grown men are drawn into this Jesus. They quickly ask where he is staying and follow him. They have no idea what they are getting into...
The light shines in the darkness and the darkness did not overcome it...