Monday, July 15, 2019. The beginning of the gospel of John is one of the most prominent and most fascinating texts of the bible. It is about Jesus, who is also called the word. The gospel introduces its main topic in its first verses, telling us what is important and why.
The biblical story is about life as a whole. It is about creation. It is about humans. It is about insight and the principles which govern our actions. Thus it is also about conscience, about reason, about emotions, about decisions.
Let us read the beginning of the gospel of John. Look into the original, the biblical text, full of images, full of insight and wisdom, full of power:
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. 4 In him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. (from John 1)
Let us briefly explore the text here, the various dimensions of life which are touched by this biblical lines.
First, it talks about the beginning. This is not about the beginning of time alone, about the big bang or the development of our physical world in the first nano seconds. It is about what was before, about creation before it started, then about the creation of the physical world itself. The laws which govern the world, all the energy and matter and space constituting the world … all that is created. All things were made through him - through the word. Nothing was made without him. Christ Jesus – the word – is the beginning of all what is. The claim formulated in the gospel of John could not be reaching further into the origin of creation!
But this introduction of the gospel of John does not only talk about the physical world. It also talks about humans …
Principles of Action …
“In him was life, and the life was the light of man …”. Life is surrounding us. Life is in plants, in micro-organisms, in animals, in humans. Life is the most fascinating thing we know on this planet. We are part of it, we ARE life ourselves.
When we hear that life was in him, the statement is beyond the simple fact that God lives, that the world lives. The life which is meant here is the original life, the eternal life. It is the life which cannot die. It refers to something beyond the life we know on our planet. It is a life which is God's life, which is God's character, his being, original life.
These few lines already bear deep meaning of life beyond measure. They imply the life of love, the life of the spirit, eternal life. And this life has been the light of man, ever since. It has been the light of man at the beginning of creation. It has been this light throughout the history which is reflected in the Old Testament. And it has been the light in Jesus and his followers since 2000 years ago.
The original light of life shines in the darkness. We need to understand what darkness means. Darkness in the biblical sense is life which does not see, which is separated from God, which is not filled by the Holy Spirit. But the light of Jesus shines through this darkness. He came to save. He came with mercy. He came to bring you and me back into the community of life. And darkness has not overcome this message. You can still hear it. You can still listen, you can turn, you can trust, you can see. The door is open, as it has been for centuries, for you and for me. There is light to see, light to live, light to trust! Yesterday, today and tomorrow … (Roland Potthast) ... further texts