Part 2: December 17, 2013
“In the beginning was Jesus, Jesus was with God, and Jesus was God.” This is not how the first sentence of the Gospel of John reads. Rather, John says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” Why did he say it this way? Well, there are a number of reasons, but I’ll keep it simple for all of us. Christ was no longer physically among John’s readers because he had ascended to the right hand of God as many as five decades earlier. 1 But John wanted his readers to know and love Jesus like he did. 2 So he began his very first verse in his beautiful gospel with the primary way that they could also know Christ. In essence, to drink in God’s word is to know Christ. No, they couldn’t touch Jesus like John once did, but they could know him nonetheless. And the only way to truly know Jesus was through his holy word.
The same is true today. If we want to really know Christ and experience his saving, delivering power, and to see him as wonderful as he truly is, then we need to become people who cherish the word of God. This sort of indicts the title I chose for this series of blogs, “Getting Something Out Of God’s Word.” I have to admit, I used it as a hook. In reality, we don’t approach God’s word to merely get something out of it because God’s word is a person, Jesus. And we don’t go to Jesus to merely get something out of him. We build a relationship with Jesus because he is a person. Treating him any less than a person dehumanizes his human nature and insults his divine nature.
My wife’s purse is a mess. Gum wrappers, greeting cards, baby bottles, sippy-cups, loose change, pacifiers, toys, and an array of other random things. She can live with it, so I don’t mind. But on occasion, I have to open it and rummage through it, usually when I’m looking for the car keys. But I never go near it otherwise. Why? Because her purse has no value to me outside of needing to find the keys. If it has no keys, I don’t need it or want it. I fear that many Christians treat the Bible the same way. We usually steer clear of it unless we need to find some “keys.” (See what I did there?)
So, in week two of this blog series, I ask you to count the cost before we proceed any further. If you want to experience “life in his name,” 3 it’s going to require a little more than skimming a few verses each day. It means more than finding an encouraging truth to get you through a tough time, or a key of wisdom so you can make the right decision about something weighing on your heart. It means getting to know a person, Jesus.
Consider how you want your friends to treat you. You want your friends to be thoughtful of your needs. You want your friends to be patient with you, enduring with you through hard times. You want your friends to think of you, to invite you to be with them when they get out to have a good time. You want to know that you aren’t regarded simply because of what you can do for your friends. You want to be valued because of who you are. Are you willing to treat Jesus the same way? Are you willing to treat the Word with the same consideration? Or is he just a messy purse?
1 Luke 24:50-51; John 16:28; Mark 16:19
2 John 20:31-31
3 John 20:31