John 1:1-5: The Story of Everything
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How do you view the world? What story do you tell of the world around you? Different people, different cultures have different stories about the world.
Some see no story. They simply see the random results of time and chance.
Some see a self-improvement story. A world on its way ever upwards, based on the essential goodness of people.
Some see a world full of spirits and gods needing to be pleased and appeased.
Some see chaos, a world full of sound and fury but no real meaning.
We have reflected on how Jesus re-tells the story of God. We now understand God to be one God, Father, Son and Spirit. But there is more to be said. The coming of Jesus also helps us to understand the story of us…the story of reality, the story of humanity. We are told that through the Word all things were made and that apart from the Word nothing that has been made was made (Jn 1:3).
Christians believe in a world that has been created. This is a fundamental plank in the Christian world view and has profound implications. We do not live in a random universe that has come about by a combination of chance and time. We are meant to be here. Our world is meant to be.
In Colossians 1:16 Paul helps us see this in Christological focus when he says that in Jesus all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. In John 1:4-5 we are told that the Word, Jesus, is the source of life and light, with the focus falling on light.
As the light Jesus brings the knowledge of God to all people. This can mean both illumination or understanding, and also salvation. The light, John says in verse 5, shines in the darkness.
There is darkness. This is disturbing and hints at the fact that things are not all they are meant to be. There is a darkness into which light can and must shine. Something has gone wrong and there is a battle between light and darkness, good and evil. The light shines in the darkness like a lighthouse sending out a piercing and clear beam of light. The darkness does not overcome the light. The word John uses can be translated understand or overcome. The Bible commentator, Don Carson suggests the translation ‘mastered’ to capture the ambiguity.
It is an interesting ambiguity. On the one hand there is an element of tragedy in that the darkness does not understand the light that is a source of life. On the other hand, there is a note of hope that the light will in fact prevail, that the darkness will not overcome it.
The story of the Word and the world is being told here in the largest possible cosmic terms. This is the story of everything.
We live in a world that is purposed and purposeful.
We live in a world created through and for Jesus Christ.
We live in a world that is engulfed by darkness.
We live in a world where the light shines and will not be mastered by the darkness.
These are the building blocks of a biblical worldview that can help us live in this world with a sense of meaning and purpose; an understanding that the world is going somewhere and is not out of control. We can live realistically, acknowledging the reality of darkness. And we can live with hope, knowing that the light shines in the darkness and is not overcome.
Lord God, thank you that in your word we learn about you, and we see the truth about our world and ourselves. Help us to live in this world in the light of your word. As we contemplate your light shining in the darkness, we pray that you will help us to live with hope and for the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ, in whose name we pray, in the power of your Spirit. Amen.
Pray with us today's prayer request:
Suffering Church. 2 Kings 6:18 'Elisha said 'Strike these people with blindness ..'’.
Pray that Afghan Christians be concealed from the Taliban and that there would be confusion over the Taliban's communication regarding Christian individuals and groups.
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