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    John 1 

    During this fast season we are exploring - through what we read in a chapter a day of the Bible - who God is and what He is like.

    1. Pray and read - preferably together

    2. Pray and share

    If we want to know who God is and what He is like we need to look at Jesus.  He is the image (“exact representation” - Col 1:15) of God.  In this chapter we see He is the “Word” of God - J B Philips translated the opening words as “In the beginning God expressed Himself.”  That is what the word “Word” is all about.  God loves to express Himself, to communicate.

    We often think of God as all powerful and “up there” somewhere.  It is true He is way beyond our understanding and imagination.  But He is not remote.  He may be distant because He is infinite and we are not.  But He made us to enjoy friendship with Him (Genesis 1).  

    We humans distanced ourselves from Him by living independently (because the essence of sin is independence, feeling that we can manage on our own without Him!).  But He refused to keep a distance.  

    The Word was/is/will be always equal with God and always God Himself.  But He came to live among us as an example of what real humanity looks like as well as to show us what God’s love looks like.

    Verse 14 sums up the amazing mystery of “incarnation” - God in human form.  “The Word became flesh” - God who is Spirit took on flesh and blood.  He became human and lived among us.  

    Literally it is that Jesus “pitched His tent.” It is a reference to the Presence in the tabernacle in the wilderness, as the people of God followed Him and learned to live as a community.  As church we too are learning to “pitch our tent” in whatever neighbourhoods we are planted.  We belong to the people around us yet we do not belong: we are tent-dwellers who should be sensitive to God’s Presence leading us rather than part of the world system around us.

    Ever since, some Christians have struggled to understand how the perfect, holy, all powerful God could possibly live as a human, while other Christians have struggled to see how a human could also be God!  It is a mystery that can ultimately be explained only at the resurrection when we see Him face to face.

    Meanwhile we need to avoid the two traps of making God too spiritual and holy for us to get close, or of making God too earthly and matey to transform us.  We need to encounter Jesus as He really is - completely human and completely God.

    When we really encounter Him, we are transformed to be like Him. 

    We don’t want the way we live to put people off by being “super-spiritual” (Jesus wasn’t and it is not spiritual at all to pretend to be “spiritual” and other worldly).  And we don’t want the way we live to put people off by being worldly.  Instead, we want to invite the Spirit to transform us from the inside out, to become more like Jesus.

    3. Pray and act

    Lord, please fill us and transform us from the inside out to become more like Jesus.  That means today …… 

    Chris Horton, 09/01/2019