May 9, 2016

Flashback . . .

If you were to line up Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John for a family picture, what a sight you would see. Matthew, Mark, and Luke would be the triplets—all the same height with similar complexions and weight. John would stick out from the other three. He’s the one who looks nothing like the others. John is in a category all by himself.

Matthew, Mark, and Luke are known as the Synoptic Gospels. Synoptic means “seeing together” and that’s a great description. They are like three witnesses to a fender bender on the street. All three saw the same thing and tell it basically in the same way. John saw it too, but from the other side of the street. He recounts things in a completely different way from the triplets.

We are going to spend our summer weeks in the Gospel of John. Think of John’s Gospel as a “Flashback.” By the time John penned his account, he may well have already read the other three. So he told the story of Jesus admitting that he skipped many details: “And there are also many other things which Jesus did, which if they were written in detail, I suppose that even the world itself would not contain the books that would be written” (John 21:25).

Our Daily Bible Readings will take us through every verse of John’s “Flashback” on the life of Jesus. So get ready to remember the life of Christ as told from John’s unique perspective.

Stephen G. Hatfield

John 1:1-5

Why is it important that “[The Word] was with God in the beginning” (1:2)?

The Word is a peculiar way of describing Christ to us as 21st-century English readers, but the original hearers and readers of the Gospel of John would have understood it fairly easily. The Word or Logos in Greek meant more than just words on a page. It lent itself to an understanding of wisdom (a god to the Greeks). More than that, it describes Christ as God’s main worker in the world. As God’s worker in the world, the Word is part of creation at the beginning and part of redeeming in the present and future.

Why is it important that “he was with God in the beginning”? As we read the Gospel of John, we will learn that John is concerned with telling the people about Jesus as God. This does not mean John will ignore Jesus as man in his gospel, but John portrays Jesus differently than the other three gospels. John wants to make it clear at the beginning of his gospel that Jesus is God and has been God since the beginning of time. Jesus is God. “He was with God in the beginning.”