Problem, Action, Reaction
Sovereign Lord, I dedicate this new day and New Year to do justice, to love mercy and to walk humbly with You.
Read JOHN 1:1–18
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4 In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
6 There was a man sent from God whose name was John. 7 He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all might believe. 8 He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light.
9 The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. 11 He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. 12 Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— 13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.
14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
15 (John testified concerning him. He cried out, saying, “This is the one I spoke about when I said, ‘He who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’”) 16 Out of his fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given. 17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known.
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Who has seen God? Who can introduce and explain him? The true Light has shone into our darkness and enlightened us. Praise be to God!
In his preface, John outlines a problem, an action and a reaction, which he then expounds in the rest of his Gospel. No one has seen God, so people do not know him—this is the problem. The world and its people are enveloped in darkness. Assuming that John wrote primarily for a Jewish audience, this is an outrageous claim. Steeped in the Scriptures (our Old Testament) and rich experiences of God, surely they would know God.
In John’s analysis, however, people did not have a saving knowledge of God. Similarly today, people may have heard of the God of the Bible, and even be regular churchgoers, yet not know God personally and intimately. To overcome this problem an action was required. If people did not know God, he must be introduced to them—but who would (or could) do this job? If no one had seen God, humans could not solve the problem. God therefore had to act to introduce himself. And he did! God became one of us. God introduced himself in a way that we could recognize. This Jesus, this eternal, divine, incarnate Word, introduced God to people—and he still does.
According to Isaac Newton’s third law of motion, every action is matched by an equal and opposite reaction. When the embodied Word came into the world to introduce God, how did people react? John describes two reactions. Although the world was created through the Word, it did not recognize or accept the Word. There were, however, people who did accept the Word, who did believe in him, and they became part of God’s family through a new birth. Today, more than 2,000 years later, John’s portrayal is still accurate: some will accept Jesus but many will reject him.
What has your reaction been to God’s grand and gracious action? How will you, like John the Baptist, explain to people the human problem and the divine answer?
Loving Lord, You have shone into the darkness of my life with Your light in Jesus. I return my thanks and praise, and ask for wisdom in presenting Your light to others.
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