Readers are reminded that though the following is written and composed by me (Derek McKelvey) it is written as if it has been composed by John, the disciple and author of the Gospel about which it is written.

 John’s Blog (2)  How to begin?

THE PROLOGUE:  John 1:1-18 .

It is always hard to begin anything – but if your whole being is on fire to put things right in the hearts and minds of the present generation – then the possibility of getting it wrong in over-enthusiasm or the temptation to take sideswipes at those who are misleading or misinterpreting my Jesus.

As the Church has grown and the years have passed, there have been more and more people who don’t quite get who Jesus was and is – and sadly there have been those who want to make him fit their agendas, become a reflection of their philosophy, be only known to those who have the ‘knowledge’ their in-group has. This is so wrong – Jesus was transparent in who he was (and is[1] ). He was the only person who could without a hint of pride or even the faintest incongruity say ‘Before Abraham was I AM’. Using God’s name that we Jews would never ever say and yet still being the one who happily washed our feet or chatted to a Samaritan woman at the well-side.

So I struggled with the beginning – commentators, I believe have called it a ‘prologue’ – it will do for a name – for me it was to make it clear that the man I walked with, chatted to, prayed with, laughed with is none other than the eternal Son of God. But what words to use? And then I got it – what better word than word itself. The Greeks have long used it in their philosophies and for the Hebrew  the Dabar[2], the word of God.

Every word was carefully weighed – sorry for the unintended pun! I realised that Christ was a new beginning – so like Genesis all over again – ‘In the beginning was the Word’. I struggled so hard to get the next bit right – your English language is so inadequate to convey what I meant. The Word was with[3] God. No not just with but in total dynamic continuous interaction with, giving glory to his Father, being glorified by His father – I could go on – in fact I did – if you want to know what I meant by with God, read the rest of the book. But in case you still didn’t understand ‘the Word was God’ – let there be no doubt about it. I walked round with the man who flung the stars into space and created the world.

The world could not ‘overcome’ or ‘understand’ him[4] – the double meaning was deliberate it could do neither – that in part is why I am writing. They could neither write him off or understand him.

I could try to explain every phrase – but you are not that slow – so indulge me and let me just have a couple more that you might miss.

‘He came to ‘his own’ and ‘his own’ received him not.’ Your English lets you down again – the first is neuter and the second masculine. The world knew him well enough – he calmed the storm, rebuking the wind and waves, he walked on the water, fed 5,000 people with a boy’s packed lunch – but his people, the very ones whom God called his chosen people, could not, would not recognize that their God was standing right in front of them – and they killed him to be rid of him. But you don’t get rid of God that easily.

‘The word became flesh and ‘dwelt’ among us.’  There are endless words for dwelling – I chose the one which means to pitch your tent. I wasn’t to know that camping would be your short-term holiday option. Jesus ‘pitched his tent’ – a permanent act – reminding us of the tabernacle that stood in the middle of the people wherever they went and indeed also of the Tent of Meeting where Moses went to talk to the Lord as a man would talk with his friend.

He tabernacled with us – we talked with him the way Moses did with God – and because of the gift of his Spirit (wait for Chapters 14-16) you can too.

‘No-one has seen God at anytime, but the one who has sat on the lap of the Father he has made him known’ I did not sit on his lap but I have rested my head on his breast, and He is still as close as then.

Make no mistake – this is Jesus – God’s eternal Word made flesh for us.

 

Talk to you next week.

john@fisherwick.net

Please read the rest of Chapter 1 for next week. Michael Ots will deal with the latter part of the chapter on 7 October; I will deal with 18-35 on 14 October. A bit back side foremost but there are good reasons.

 


[1] From here on can we take it that references to who Jesus was implicitly include who he is, as he is ‘the same yesterday, today and forever’ Hebrews 13:8.

[2]Hebrew for word or word/deed as it implies much more than written or even spoken word. The real Hebrew understanding of Dabar is found in Isaiah 55. A word spoken includes its fulfilment

[3] The Greek word is ‘pros’ which normally means ‘towards’.

[4] The Greek word means both these things – literally to ‘take down.’

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