Relating the Gospel
John 1:1 is reminiscent of Genesis 1:1. It emphasizes that God and Christ were together at the world’s beginning. He comes to earth to demonstrate God’s redemptive love to fallen humanity. The goal seems to be to persuade the readers that Christ, the human, is another expression or manifestation of God, the divine.
John Claypool relates the story of a young prince who ascended the throne when his aged father passed away. The man was very anxious to be a good ruler, so as soon as the official days of mourning were over, he startled the whole kingdom by doing two things. First, he appointed a trusted uncle to be vice regent of the kingdom and then announced he was going to leave the palace and live among his subjects for a year. This meant that he would dress as they dressed, live in the homes as they live, eat their food, work alongside them; in short, identify fully with the common lot.
This is exactly what he did, revolutionary as it was for those days, and several consequences resulted from it. The most important was the realization on the part of the lowliest citizen of his concern. What happened to them must really make a difference to him, or why would he lay aside the palace privileges to identify with them? They also got to know the young king in ways that would have been impossible had he stayed in the remoteness of the palace. They had reason to believe that now he understood them far better by virtue of his identification with them. Now they could go to him with problems and feel they were speaking to someone with a common awareness. This year’s investment laid a foundation for the most effective rule that that kingdom had ever know, and it parallels the events from John’s gospel to a remarkable degree.
—Rev. Bill Webb
- How do you go about “identifying” with those around you, those you wish to serve? Those in need? In pain? In grief? The lonely?
- Is it necessary to have a “like” experience in order to understand a person? To minister to that person?
- Is it joy or pain and hardship that help you to identify with and to serve others? Why? How?
- How does this passage help you to feel close to and to identify with God, through Christ?
How Do I Act?
- Think about experiences which enable you to identify and empathize with others.
- Bring to mind 3 people who have helped comfort you in a trying period of life. Write them a letter of thanks for their gift to you.
- How have you been helped by a friend or acquaintance to know God in a new or deeper way? Remind yourself how and say a brief prayer to God for their help to you.
- Tell someone close to you about a time in which you were able to help someone understand God and grace in a particular situation. Ask them to share the same kind of story with you.