Sunday 7 February 2021

The Light, and Not the Light

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
The same was in the beginning with God.
All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.
In him was life; and the life was the light of men.
And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.
There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.
The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe.
He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light.

That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.
He came unto his own, and his own received him not.
But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:
Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. (John 1:1-14)

Doesn't the introduction of the Baptist in the middle of the Prologue of John's Gospel jump out? 

There's a deliberately mythic message worked into a rhetorical structure there - Ian Paul works it through very nicely.  All the Genesis echoes, and the Greek "Logos" overtones. And right in the middle of the works of creation and salvation - here's John the Baptist. Kind of jars, suddenly bringing a mere bloke into it. And then putting him to one side for later.

I does break the poetic flow. But then I think it's done for a very important reason - to emphasise Christ's origin against everyone else's.

John's "sent from God" - and we know Luke fills in some detail of John the Baptist's birth, whether or not the Fourth Evangelist knows. John is the latest in a long line of men who were sent from God - the prophets. A fine and noble tradition, and he's the latest witness. He gets a privilege over his predecessors. Theyto witness directly to the light. He introduces the light, sets the scene for the light, and ritually drowns the light before it rises again to the surface.

Sunrise over Pitsford Reservoir, Northampton

But you know he's not the light. He's witnessing to the light. He's reflecting the light. But he's not the light.

Jesus Christ is also sent from God. But the Evangelist is saying - but this is the light. He is coming from a different place. They're both alike - both preached, both came to nasty ends at the hands of authority. Both men. But - one was just John. And the other - the other was there from the beginning of time. Made everything you are. Made everything that is. Shone light all down the ages. And then - we - we blessed people - we saw his glory when he came in flesh.

And where John came and bore witness - Jesus makes us God's children. This is the critical difference. Listen to John. But be changed by Jesus. And you will be caught up into the story of eternity, a singer of the music from the beginning of the world, a part of the story of how the whole world is saved.

1 comment :

  1. Careful - Roy Hodgson may be looking for a new position come summer.


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