With the arrival of Jesus, the world is tangling with its Maker.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4 In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
6 There was a man sent from God whose name was John. 7 He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all might believe.8 He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light.
9 The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. 11 He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. 12 Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— 13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.
14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
I don’t know if you get frustrated with God, but I get pretty frustrated with him on a regular basis. Instead of me being shaped by God to be like him, I just think it’d be best for everyone if I could shape Him to be like me. Do you ever think that? When things go pear-shaped, I wonder how God can claim to be wise: can’t he see the wisdom in what I see? Or when things go crazy: are you really in control God? Doesn’t look like it sometimes. When things do start settling down and going my way, I wonder why God can seem so distant. Then, when I’m not left alone to be comfortable, I question how God reckons he can comfort. Who is this God who continues to defy my expectations?
In John 1:1, in the beginning of his gospel, the disciple John takes us right back to the beginning of the Bible, right back to the creation of the cosmos. He takes us back to remember Genesis 1:1-4:
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness.
The Beginning. God. Creation. The Spirit of God, the words of God. The light, shining out amidst the darkness. Except that John, the gospel writer, isn’t retelling Genesis. His tale’s about the coming of Jesus: the ultimate beginning. The Word of God, breathing the Spirit of God. The light, shining out amidst the darkness, and the darkness not overcoming it.
When my family sat down for breakfast recently, we read Genesis 1 and John 1 together like this. One of my boys looked up immediately and asked, ‘Dad, is John saying that basically, Jesus is God being visible?’ Yes. That’s it mate. You’ve got it.
Even children can hear what John is saying: that with the coming of Jesus into the world, it was the coming of the divine; that when it comes to what we do with Jesus, you and I are dealing with the God who became a man; that with the arrival of Jesus, the world is tangling with its Maker.
As we wrestle with our expectations of God each day, we need to remember who’s dealing with us. If our idea of God is someone other than Jesus, then we don’t know who God really is. But as John says, if we believe his testimonial about Jesus, then we can really know who we’re tangling with.
Head: If what we think about God doesn’t line up with what we hear about Jesus, then we’re misunderstanding who God really is. What is your biggest beef with God and how do you imagine Jesus speaking to you about it?
Heart: We’re going to see in John’s testimonial that Jesus came to speak words of new life, new hope, a new beginning for anyone who receives him. As we set out on this series, ‘The Spirit of Jesus’, do you know you have the Spirit at work already in your heart? Have you been moved by his Spirit to receive Jesus? If so, ask God what he’s teaching you today. If not, ask the Spirit of Jesus to make his home in your heart.
Hands: Say something outrageously encouraging to one person you spend most of today with. Surprise them with the generosity of your words. Pray that Jesus’ Spirit would help you to speak words of life and love and hope, instead of the sarcasm and small talk which may otherwise consume the day.
Prayer: Our Father in Heaven, thank you for your Son, Jesus, the Word of God. Thank you for speaking this world into existence, and for speaking words of new life through Jesus. Over the next term Lord, please help me believe, and aid me to see. Help me to wrestle with who you really are, by helping me to hear and receive Jesus each day. I pray this in the name of Jesus, and by the power of the Spirit of Jesus, Amen.
A song to listen to: Spirit of Jesus
This Grow Daily was originally posted as part of a previous series called the Spirit of Jesus in 2016. During the School Holidays we take the opportunity to look back at the best of Grow Dailys over the years.