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 came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it. John 1: 1-5
I promise that my daily posts, as we read our way through John’s Gospel, will not typically be this long. I hope that you will think of today’s post as an introductory note on what John might mean to and for us. I truly love John’s Gospel, sometimes called “the maverick Gospel.” It is often dismissed as too “gnostic,” too ethereal, and depicts a Jesus is too much “in control” to be truly human. We can, perhaps, discuss some of the issues raised above later. I see the Gospel of John, however, as a wonderful compliment to Mark, Matthew and Luke partly because its vision of Jesus is, in many ways, a bit different than the others.
Speaking of John 1: 1-5, our first passage in the Good Book Club’s program for reading John through the season of Epiphany, I have always found great courage and strength in the Evangelist’s opening salvo in verse 5: “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.” I find myself, like anyone, sometimes becoming discouraged about things, with the apathy of so many Christians being the most difficult challenge for me at present. But, if we embrace John’s vison of God in Christ, we come to know that the force that created the universe has come among us and that He was and is the Light of all people. Nothing can vanquish the powerful lifeforce, not even death, that is born to us in Christ and lives in and for us, because of God’s love for us. John tells us right away that God has given us the ultimate ally in our battle with spiritual malaise and the even more pernicious enemies to the Gospel: hatred, bitterness, racism, anger, hostility, and exclusionary attitudes and practices. We have been given “the life that was the light of all people.” Today, let us prepare to experience the particular light of John’s Gospel that attempts to illumine the fulness of hope that we have in the light of Jesus Christ.