Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Christmastide - Eternity

The third day of Christmas is the Feast of John the Apostle. As with the second day, John's feast isn't officially connected to Christmas proper, but it does fit in quite nicely. Because John, with his profound teachings clothed in simple words, is the New Testament writer who tells us most clearly that this was no ordinary child that was just born...

Thinking of a fellow peasant Jewish craftsman as the Eternal God who made the universe was quite a stretch for 12 fishermen and internal revenue agents. They knew while still traipsing the hills of Galilee that this was quite a special person: "You are the Christ," Peter the Apostle exclaimed maybe 3/4 through Jesus' ministry, "The Son of the living God." But I've always gotten the vague feeling, from the early bits of the Acts of the Apostles in particular (chapter 4 verse 30 for instance), that Jesus' students needed some time to think it through before they could grasp who exactly he was.

The other 3 Gospels call Jesus such pregnant terms as "Christ" (meaning, Messiah), "Son of God" (pointing to divinity but capable of meaning other things), and "Son of Man." Paul uses "Lord" in a way that points back to God's covenant name ("Yahweh," usually translated "Lord" in English Bibles) in the Old Testament .

But it's John who comes right out with it:

  In the beginning was the Word
   and the Word was with God
   and the Word was God.
The Word was with God in the beginning.
Everything came into being through the Word,
   and without the Word
   nothing came into being. 
(Gospel of John, chapter 1 verses 1 - 3, Common English Bible)

No comments: