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Day 1 : John 1:1-2  In the beginning...

 
Imagine two scenarios nearly 2000 years ago: two households each with a copy of John’s gospel.
 
If you were a First Century Jewish child and you read these two verses you would likely nod your head at verse 1 but then a confused shake as your eyes slide into v2. Why? Well because you know that God’s powerful word is how he creates. He speaks and life happens, universes come into existence, lives are transformed. And in v1 it all starts off so well, but then comes the word ‘He’. John is saying to us ‘The Word’ is not an impersonal ‘it’, or a force or an idea. No, the Word has a name.  John says track it back and before you and before me and before the exile.  Before David, before Joshua, before Moses, before Abraham, before Adam, before the world, before the universe, before anything that God made. Jesus was there
 
He was with God in the beginning.
 
The second household, perhaps in a different part of town, is a Gentile household; for John knew that this document would not simply be read by those waiting for their promised king.  If Greek philosophy for Dummies exists (and it probably does) it might say that at the heart of the universe is an idea. The world as we look at it and experience it, is not muddled or chaotic or random but rather there is an impersonal principle or concept of order at work: A Logos. 
 
And so as they read, they too are nodding along, until they once again reach that word ‘He’.  For John says this principle of Logos is not impersonal. 
 
He was with God in the beginning. 
 
To both households the word ‘He’ is meant to jar. But it’s not until v17 that the ‘He’ is given a name. 
 
John begins his gospel by challenging our categories, wanting to stretch our heads and our hearts as we contemplate Jesus because, really, Christmas doesn’t start with stories of shepherds and angels. It doesn’t even start with the promise of a serpent-crusher. It’s starts ‘In the beginning’. Just as the account of creation begins with an ‘in the beginning’? Well so the account of re-creation with the arrival of Jesus.
 
Dan Steel, 21/11/2022