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A few words about the Word

December 3, 2017

John 1:1-14. It’s been a familiar Bible passage for our carol service over the years.
A wonderful piece of poetry you might think.

In fact that’s probably exactly what it was in its original language – but I’m guessing that even some of the best legal minds in may be thinking “What does it actually mean?”

So let’s take a look.

We have just a few minutes to think about John’s words today, but I could probably talk about John chapter 1 for a couple of hours.

Imagine that:

2 hours.

Multiplied by the number of lawyers here today.

Multiplied by our hourly rates.

No. 5 minutes it is.

In the beginning was the Word.

In John’s gospel there is no reference to a baby, or to shepherds, or wise men. He talks about someone that he calls the Word.

How do we communicate with one another? There are different methods. Today I could share some thoughts with you in semaphore, Morse code or smoke signals, but my favourite way is still to use words.

When people talk to God we call it praying.

But what about God speaking to us? How would He do that?

Through the Word.

The description that John intentionally gives to Jesus in this passage.

If we want to know what God has to say to us, we need to listen to Jesus.

But how can we do that?

John sets up the Word’s credentials. He is eternal. He is God. He is the creator of everything.

But he doesn’t remain distant.

John puts it simply that the Word became flesh. In other words this eternal Word takes on a human body, moves into our neighbourhood and lives among us.

The one who John says made everything, becomes one of us.

The Word is given a name.


And amazingly, although John doesn’t spell it out like Matthew or Luke, as with any other human being, Jesus starts his life on earth as a baby – the one we remember at Christmas.

The creator of everything,needs to be held and fed and cared for by a young woman, with an animal’s feeding trough for a cot.

Perhaps that’s the first thing that God is saying to us through the Word:

“I love you enough to come and live among you, to be one of you, with all the vulnerability that being human entails”.

In 2018 I am very much looking forward to meeting my first grandchild. It’ll be a special thing to spend time with him or her and enjoy those early weeks and months.

But wonderful as that will be, things will move on. My grandchild will not be a baby forever.

We wouldn’t want that. He or she will hopefully have a full life in front of them. It’d be good to think that he or she will live a life in a way which will make a difference for good to those around them.

John doesn’t spend any time thinking about the childhood of Jesus. He moves on to the adult He became and the difference that He made in people’s lives.

He describes how people, whom He created, did not recognise Him when He came. In fact it was much worse than that.

For Jesus who did nothing but love the people of this world, who spoke about love, who showed love in healing the sick, caring for those rejected by society, even raising the dead, was seen as such a threat that He was put to death by the authorities.

Again, how amazing that the eternal Son of God should love us so much that He would become one of us, feel our vulnerability, experience hunger and thirst, rejection, anger, loneliness, bereavement, and even death itself.

Jesus knows what it’s like to be human.

But there’s even better news in this story.

For there were other people, John tells us. They were the ones who did recognise Jesus the Word. They saw the evidence in the miracles He did and in the way He taught – and they believed.

John tells us that those who believed in Jesus, who recognised Him, could claim a special relationship. They could be called children of God.

For that is why Jesus came, that is why He was born, that is why He died. So that people down through the centuries could know God, not as a distant mysterious figure, but as a Father.

So this Christmas, take a moment to focus upon this child, Jesus the Word. Who tells you by that simple act of being born, without words, that you and I are loved by God.

Marvel that the one who made everything, would put on one side the power and authority that was rightfully his and face danger grief and betrayal and even death.

And know that through his death He paved the way for us to know life as it was intended to be. In relationship with God.

For though Jesus the Word was rejected by humankind, death could not have the final word with Him.

And Jesus the Word has not stopped speaking.

Will you allow him to speak to you this year, about his great love for you, through the familiar words of the Christmas story?

Will you listen to the Word?

Will you follow Him?

For to quote the Beatles:

“The Word is love”.


From → Christianity

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