Welcome back to this second week! I’m still getting my footing as I’m not quite sure which direction to take these studies. I think the desire that is taking shape in my mind is to be able to look at a small piece of Scripture and pull from it a meditation-worthy nugget of truth. I know that I, at least, appreciate manageable bits that can cram into the crooks and crannies of my multitasking mama-ing brain, bits of truth that can be mediated on over the course of a day.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
Today we will take a look at verses 6-13.
There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him. He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light.
The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world.
As I studied I was struck by the words back in verses three and four as setting the stage for our new passage. They read:
All things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men.
My Bible has a footnote rendering the same verses in this way:
All things were made through him, and without him was not anything made. That which has been made was life in him, and that life is the light of men.
That which has been made was life in him. In the book of Acts Paul makes a statement (quoting a Greek poet) that “in him we live and move and have our being.” (Acts 17:28) I don’t have the words to put forth what this idea evokes in me, this idea of having our existence in Jesus. All sorts of poor analogies come to mind such as electricity and outlets and ourselves being plugged in. But it’s kind of like that. We have been made as separate entities, yet we cannot be alive, actually living in the physical sense, apart from his constant live-giving force. To use Genesis again, we are just dust of the ground unless he breathes in us life. So the Word is not just our Maker, but our Life-Sustainer as well.
We live in an age where Creation stories have taken a new spin. No longer the realm of the gods, the beginnings of all things are depicted in the stories of science in the same way they have before been depicted in legend–with faith, with curiosity, with reason. From the beginning of time we have wanted to know from where–or from whom–we have come, and how. We seek explanations.
John offers an explanation at the get-go. His explanation for the origins of life follows the cadence of both the Biblical creation and the Greek creation myth (which are strikingly similar in the very, very beginning, and both important to John’s various audiences). He starts with the idea of ‘the beginning’, names the Creator/Creative force, and includes the theme of darkness and light. Unlike Genesis or the Greek myth, however, John speaks of the light before he mentions the darkness. His emphasis is always on Jesus.
It is the Word who is life and is light in John’s good news, the Word who breathes life and gives light. It is in him as our Creator that we are alive, and in him as our Savior that we are living with a spirit reborn. But of course, all of this is to come. Today we are only 9 verses into the book, and all we know yet is that the Word is with God, the Word is God, the Word made all things, the Word is life, and the Word’s life is the light of men.
John, we are told (speaking not of the author of this book but of John the Baptizer), came to bear witness to the Light, preaching in the wilderness to the crowds that would gather, baptizing those who repented and preparing the way for the True Light to emerge.
The True Light, which gives light to everyone, is about to come.