Today’s Scripture Focus: John 1:1-18
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“Light and Life: Journeying with John from Christmas to Pentecost”. This will be our theme for the first half of 2015, in which we will cover selected writing from John’s Gospel and epistles. By “John” we mean the Apostle. We’ll write more about him in the weeks ahead. What do we mean by “Christmas to Pentecost”? This refers to the Christian calendar. For over 1600 years, the Church has told the story of Jesus each year by observing His birth at Christmas, His ministry and teaching through Epiphany, His suffering and death in Lent, His resurrection and ascension during Easter, and the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost.
The fourth Gospel is different. Matthew, Mark, and Luke, known as the synoptic Gospels, all follow the same structure, but John uses different language, themes, stories, characters, and an entirely different timeline. John gives us the perspective of a specific Christian community who already viewed themselves as not of this world. Having already been cast out of the Jewish community, they saw themselves as “insiders” (those in Christ), and those who rejected Jesus as “outsiders” (the world). That’s why much of John uses contrast language, such as light vs. darkness, life vs. death, Word vs. world, etc.
Today’s scripture focus is known as the Prologue of John. It is a poem that introduces the major themes of the Gospel. In a society which was mostly illiterate, major teachings were often conveyed in poetic form, and great honor was ascribed to those who could memorize and recite poetry publicly. In this poem the entire Gospel is summarized: God bridged the gap between Heaven and earth by sending the Son, but most of those to whom the Son was sent rejected Him. However, those who welcomed Him became God’s children. John the Baptist served as a witness to this truth. We’ll talk more about him next week.
Word, Light, and Life are three terms important in understanding the writings of John. In many ways, John’s Prologue mirrors the creation account in Genesis 1. The Word was the creative power used by God to create the heavens and the earth. Here we discover that God’s Word took on flesh and came to the creation in order to reveal God’s love. Light in John represents truth. The creation had lived in darkness since the Fall of the first man. Now, a man would come to reveal God’s truth. The word Life is used 47 times in John, as opposed to 14 times total in the other three Gospels. Life will be given to those who receive the Word and the Light of God’s love and truth. In 2015, let us live in that light!
- Go around the table and share prayer requests. Have someone lead in prayer.
- Let everyone who would like to share anything exciting from their week.
- Ask these three questions. Let as many answer each one as they would like.
Many people make resolutions this time of year. What are some ways we as Christians can “resolve” to walk in more light (be closer to God) this year?
Is there anything in today’s scripture that especially speaks to you?
What questions would you like to ask about today’s scripture?