John 1:(1-9), 10-18 (NRSV)
Chapter 1In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. Verse 2He was in the beginning with God. Verse 3All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being Verse 4in him was life, and the life was the light of all people.
Verse 5The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it. Verse 6There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. Verse 7He came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. Verse 8He himself was not the light, but he came to testify to the light. Verse 9The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. Verse 10He was in the world, and the world came into being through him; yet the world did not know him. Verse 11He came to what was his own, and his own people did not accept him. Verse 12But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God, Verse 13who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God. Verse 14And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father's only son, full of grace and truth.
Verse 15(John testified to him and cried out, "This was he of whom I said, 'He who comes after me ranks ahead of me because he was before me.'") Verse 16From his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. Verse 17The law indeed was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. Verse 18No one has ever seen God. It is God the only Son, who is close to the Father's heart, who has made him known.
With powerful prose John declares the mystery and majesty of the incarnation. Word of God becoming flesh and blood, full of grace and truth. I have to confess, it’s still difficult to wrap my head around this. In seminary I learned that “lived among us” could literally mean the Word “tented” among us. As one who likes camping, I like that image. I also find helpful Eugene Peterson’s paraphrase of verse 14, that the Word “moved into the neighborhood” (The Message). This could sound threatening at first, and indeed, Jesus challenges every dark and dusty corner of our lives. Yet his neighborly presence seeks to bring us into the light, to fill us with love, hope, and peace. All that is promised in him is still offered to hurting people in a hurting world. All who receive him and believe in his name are given power to become children of God. One could not ask for a better neighbor.
Word of God, we are grateful you pitched your tent among us. We pray all our other neighbors would welcome your presence too. Amen.