As I began to pray this morning, I was overwhelmed by the incarnation of Jesus Christ, Immanuel, God among us. I could hardly focus on my prayers for the distraction of John 1 and the Genesis 1:1-3. It just filled me with joy as I considered all Jesus had done to fulfill the plan of God.
This time of year, it is easy to think of the birth of Jesus. I know I will read Luke 2 Sunday night before dinner at my Mom’s house, but the sheer wonder of what Jesus did; His love and commitment and His obedience I see in John 1. It could only be perfect obedience, and beyond anything a son of Adam would be capable of doing.
Think about it for just a moment. Genesis 1:1-3 describes what it was like in the beginning.
Genesis 1:1-3 (ESV)
1 In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. 2 The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.
3 And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.
When I read these three verses, I think of John 1. I cannot read one without being reminded of the other.
The Gospel of John is my favorite. When I read it, I see the heart of Jesus? I cannot explain it. There is just something that kindles the fire in my heart when I read and study John.
Chapter one just sets the stage for me.
The first three verses humble me because John reminds me who Jesus is.
John 1:1-3 (ESV)
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.
John reminds me who this man named Jesus is and when I read these verses my heart doubles in size just to take it in, but he does not stop there. Jesus is even more.
He is life itself and light to men, and His power cannot be overcome.
John 1:4-5 (ESV)
4 In him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
John reminds us of what Christ brings to us and His true power. Power John defines but Jesus does not brandish to intimidate. Instead, he comes as a humble servant.
Paul talks also about John the Baptist preparing the way for the Lord, and it is important, but I hit verses 9-13 and am in awe of God.
John 1:9-13 (ESV)
9 The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. 11 He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. 12 But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.
The good news is in these verses. Jesus is the true light, and he offered himself to everyone but not all believed but to those that did he allowed them to become children of God, and I get chill bumps when I read the last of verse 12-13. “he gave the right to become children of God, 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.” John lays out an abridged version of the gospel in these few words. The last of Johns introduction is found in verses 14-18
The last five verses are kind of the crescendo of John’s introduction. I do not know how to describe it other than to place the words on this page.
John 1:14-18 (ESV)
14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. 15 (John bore witness about him, and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.’”) 16 For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. 17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known.
If you have ever opened the Bible and read John 1:1-18 you cannot say that you do not know about Jesus. This short 18 verses touch my heart.
As I reflect on these 18 verses in John 1 and the 3 in Genesis, I am humbled by the Gospel, and at the same time, my heart is filled with thanksgiving.
I know that at this time of year we focus a lot on the birth of the baby Jesus and how all that came to pass. That is so powerful. But for me, I am overwhelmed by John 1 as he gives me the backstory that goes with the birth; A light that cannot be overcome by darkness, and Jesus Christ, the image of God.
Heavenly Father, thank you for everything. Let us never forget the wonder of your plan for us that we might lose grip, but hold fast always. In Jesus name, I pray, Amen.