Where were we in the beginning? Because prior to the beginning was the Word, Jesus. Simultaneously, the Word/Jesus was with God and God. The process of creation was set forth through him and all that exists comes from Christ. Life exists through and in Christ. Life is also light, light shining in the darkness, not to be overtaken by any darkness.
In the beginning we, that is the collective us was in the mind and heart of God looking for creative expression, perhaps part of a divine experiment or an epic story, but more likely, this human existence was the product of God’s love desiring a tangible expression. While I find this the most likely scenario, John 1 does not bring us to that conclusion yet because John is interested in establishing an entrance for and an introduction to Jesus. John conjures up the familiarity of Genesis, the familiarity of fairy tale, and the familiarity of story-telling. John starts us not in the middle but in the beginning and then fast forwards to another man named John.
John the Baptist was a witness, a man who was an announcer, the person on the loudspeaker in a stadium, the person in the fancy clothes hosting an award show, a voice in the wilderness looking for someone to listen. But even more than that, the gospel describes him as one bearing witness to the light or in other words bearing witness to that which should be obvious. Honestly, light is so obvious and necessary it’s hard to be taken for granted.
But light does more than allow us to see, tan and sometimes blind us. More than seeing, it is revealing.
The world did not know Jesus. Even though He came by way of the world and created the world, we were and sometimes still are oblivious to who Jesus is. As obvious as the light is, we can just as easily move our eyelids an inch together and no longer see the light. As easy as it is to see the light, it just as easy to close our eyes to it. That is what humanity did. We went to sleep, yet in our slumber we sensed we were missing something, perhaps everything while we slept. As great as sleeping can be we couldn’t help but recognize we were missing out.
We were missing out on childhood, wide-eyed splendor and wonder of seeing God be and do all that is awesome. Upon reception, or comprehension, or through a simple recognition of a need for Jesus, we were given the privilege to become children of God. Believing in Jesus gives one a massive advantage in that access to God as a Father is now possible, meaning anything we need and want to ask for can be asked for of Him.
We are given a completely new identity. God is Dad. We were not the intentionality or the accidents of our parents. We are the intentional creation and the dearly beloved of the Father and of Jesus Christ.
This is demonstrated to us in Jesus dwelling on earth, so the earth could see him for a little while. To see the heart of God in human flesh. To see the fullness of all that is true and all that is gracious in a living person, but it was too much to handle. It was so foreign for man to observe and experience perfection that the best bet was to kill Him. Kill perfection and see what happens.
But in his life and in his death was released overflowing grace and truth. Trying to stop perfection let loose the levee of love and the world couldn’t remain the same because Jesus has been and is being declared to the world.
In John 1, John the Baptist begins the declaration. Even he, only knows part of the story. He just knows Jesus is greater and better and the one we should look for. For those who have found him and experienced the power of a renewed life in Christ, many other questions and misunderstandings follow. For those who don’t know about receiving Jesus and becoming a child of God, there is simply no greater choice. Jesus reveals Himself and begins to transform those who receive Him.
Word and Light. Hearing the word and seeing the light guides our path. Hearing shapes what we believe and seeing shapes how we live. The people went out to hear and see a man who pointed them to God in John the Baptist.
May we be transformed and gain our rhythm from the things that lead us to Jesus.