There are four Gospel (meaning “Good News”) accounts about Jesus’ life and teaching. This devotional focuses on the first chapter in the Gospel of John. John chapter 1 is different than the other accounts. Rather than beginning with Jesus’ birth (the famous “Christmas” story), it begins with poetry, calling Jesus the “Word” and describing his relationship with God and with us.
John 1: 1-5 & 14
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.
14The 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.
Questions to Consider
1. Why do you think the author chose to call Jesus, the “Word”?
2. According to John, what is Jesus’ relationship with God?
3. What do you think it means when it says, “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us” or in the Message version, “the Word became flesh and blood and moved into the neighborhood?” What does this tell us about Jesus?
4. What would it look like if God moved into your “neighborhood”? Into your dorm? Onto Greek row? Into your fraternity house?
All around us there are amazing and beautiful things: sunsets & sunrises, random acts of kindness, healthy relationships and true brotherhood & sisterhood. But amid the good, something is wrong. Conflict goes unresolved. People hurt one another and themselves. Politics seem to result in more division than unity. And the world constantly grieves over death and suffering.
We as Christians believe that God created the whole world for holistic good. Not a cheesy kind of good, where everyone has fake white smiles, perfectly molded bodies and the sun shines every day. But adeep and real good, what Jewish people refer to as “shalom” (peace). Everything and everyone is right with one another. Shalom is a world filled with deep love, forgiveness, sacrifice, generosity, and grace.
But something is wrong. For some reason, whether it’s fear, pride, or stubbornness, we reject God’s leadership- his idea of goodness. We cling to control, to the idea that we can be “gods” in our own life, hurting others and ourselves in our effort to control everything. God, in his eternal love and grace for us, didn’t walk away and leave us in this mess. And he didn’t require us to clean ourselves up and come to him. Rather, he came to us. God, in the form of Jesus, put on flesh and blood and moved into our neighborhoods, to show us what it looks like to truly love, to truly forgive, and to experience a full and whole life, both now and for eternity.
Where are you at with this idea? What questions do you have? What blocks you from inviting Jesus to move into your neighborhood?