Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Not just a word, but The Word

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning.
Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it." (John 1:1-5)

When I was a child, the opening chapters of John were my least favorite out of all of the Gospels. I much preferred the Nativity story found in Matthew and Luke, the familiar account of Christ's birth, the celebration of the angels and the shepherds, the gift of the magi, Joseph & Mary's daring flight to Egypt... John's introductory passages just confused me.

However, as I've gotten older, my perspective on these important verses has deepened. Christ's birth is a wonderful story, but we must not for a moment forget that Christ's story predates His own birth! We learn something profound, something fundamental about the nature of God in these verses: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." Christ was not just a man who lived a good life worth emulating--He was, is God incarnate!

This strikes me for two particular reasons: First of all, the realization of Christ's deity and existence outside of time makes the story of His death and resurrection all the more significant--God's plan for our redemption was not a whim, but something that had been in the works even when humans first rebelled against God in Eden. Second, the nativity is made all the more meaningful when cast in the light of God becoming human. One who is eternal, all-powerful, all-good voluntarily becoming a weak human being, capable of being hurt and even killed... Even in this, He was still wholly God, but His holiness was perhaps underlined by the contrast to the weakness of the human vessel.

O magnum mysterium... though difficult for my own weak and limited human mind to fathom, there is nothing quite so amazing!

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