“BUT TO ALL WHO DID RECEIVE HIM … ”
Today we start reading John; this is a gospel which challenges us to think very carefully and make sure we harmonise our thoughts about various passages of Scripture. The Gospel starts, “In the beginning was the Word” What beginning?
The very first words in the Bible In Genesis are “In the beginning God created … “ The original Greek in this place for “word” is ‘Logos’ – a word translated several ways, a particular sense is ‘a word that has been spoken’- see for example John 18 where it occurs in both v.9 and v.32 “this was to fulfil the word that he had spoken”.
We recall that at the beginning of the world God spoke at the start of each day and certain acts of creation took place. We have God’s word through Isaiah, “so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose” [55 v.11] This happened at creation. It is a challenge to note and absorb Peter’s words in his first Epistle – that Christ “was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was made manifest in the last times for your sake who, through him, are believers in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.” [1 v.20,21]
We read today, “And the word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth” [v.14]. God’s word of foreknowledge had “become flesh” – it was all God’s doing. What in the beginning was God’s word, his plan, brought life and light to the world and ultimately it was made flesh in the person of his Son who came to speak God’s message as we will see most clearly as we read John’s Gospel this month.
John the Baptist testifies of Jesus, “Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” [v.29] The world has just celebrated (?) Easter, but for most it is a meaningless celebration. But for those who know his voice. They will say, as Nathaniel said to him, “… you are the Son of God! You are the king of Israel” [v.49] And one day (how soon now?) he will return to be king, not just of Israel, but of the whole world.
We must take into our hearts the point made in v.12, “But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.” Let us receive him and the way we start (or have started) is to confess our faith – from our hearts, not just our head, and be baptised.
Let us build up our faith, and, as we will soon read in Isaiah, “Build up, build up, prepare the way, remove every obstruction” [57 v.14] that we may “receive him” with all our heart.
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