The Word became flesh and blood,
and moved into the neighborhood.
We saw the glory with our own eyes,
the one-of-a-kind glory,
like Father, like Son,
Generous inside and out,
true from start to finish.
John pointed him out and called, “This is the One! The One I told you was coming after me but in fact was ahead of me. He has always been ahead of me, has always had the first word.”
We all live off his generous abundance,
gift after gift after gift.
We got the basics from Moses,
and then this exuberant giving and receiving,
This endless knowing and understanding—
all this came through Jesus, the Messiah.
No one has ever seen God,
not so much as a glimpse.
This one-of-a-kind God-Expression,
who exists at the very heart of the Father,
has made him plain as day. (The Message)
This is an astounding passage of Holy Scripture! These are verses to savor and not quickly read through. The Apostle John’s opening comments to his Gospel are theologically rich, lovingly beautiful, and missionally sensitive.
The high and holy God has chosen to come and show himself to us in the person of Jesus. We know God through Christ. We learn about what God is like through Jesus. God has condescended to us, bent down and communicated to us through means we can understand and discern, through the Lord Jesus.
In the biggest cities of the world, like Mexico City, Mexico and Manilla, Philippines, there are huge garbage dumps that cover several square miles. On top of these heaps of waste there live thousands of families who have made this their home.
Each day they send their kids out to forage for scraps so they can have something to eat and survive. Few others tread where these families are. Yet, there are believers who make the journey and try to bring the love of God to such a place.
As incredible and sad a situation this is, the journey from heaven to earth that Jesus made has no comparison. Christ came to the sin-soaked dump of this world, to us who were living on a heap of garbage and entered into our lives to save us from our wretched condition.
Jesus did not just appear to be human. He actually became one of us. Christ, the rightful King of the universe, chose to live with all the same things we face from day to day. He “tabernacled” with us, using the imagery of God’s presence with the ancient Israelites through their desert journey.
John and the other Gospel writers were evangelists; they wrote so that people might believe in Jesus and clearly see what God is doing for them amidst the grinding spiritual and physical poverty of this fallen world.
The Apostle John saw and experienced first-hand Jesus interacting with families in the dump. John knew what was happening; God was coming to save the people.
The way to reach people, who are so concerned for scurrying about their business and trying to survive apart from God, is through the incarnation. Christ’s descent to this earth – his earthly ministry, his crucifixion, death, resurrection and subsequent ascension back to heaven – demonstrated how we, as his followers, are to live our lives.
Believers in Jesus testify to what God has done in Christ. They do so through being little incarnations, entering fully into people’s lives with the grace and compassion given them by their Lord. Christians are to be like the moon, not we ourselves producing light, but in the middle of darkness, reflecting the light of the sun (Son) so that the earth may know that Jesus cares and can deliver them.
The sort of God that Christians worship and serve is an over-the-top gracious and generous God who has gone to the most incredible lengths possible to restore lost humanity.
Since God has bridged the great chasm between heaven and earth, the very least we can do is walk across the street, or across the room, and develop a new relationship with someone who needs the sort of deliverance Jesus can expertly provide.
This is the One, Jesus, who shows us the glory of God.
God’s loving initiative can become our own motivation. Sit and soak with this wonderful passage of the New Testament today. Let it seep deep into your soul. Allow it to shape how you live your life.
Almighty God, whose blessed Son, our Savior Jesus Christ, ascended far above all heavens that he might fill all things: Mercifully give us faith to perceive that, according to his promise, he abides with his Church on earth, even to the end of the ages; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen.