Saturday Sermon: Slow down, thank the Lord
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"In the beginning was the word, and the word was with God and the word was God. He was in the beginning with God.
- John 1:1
It is surely no coincidence that the Gospel of John begins with the same words as the book of Genesis, the first book of the Bible.
In the very first sentence, John makes it plain that we are not dealing with some human messiah, but the King of kings and the Lord of lords, who alone dwells in immortality and unapproachable light.
This first phrase should make us tremble. He was with God in the beginning.
Paul makes this connection as well when he writes, "For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities - all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together," Colossians 1:16-17. Jesus is eternal and self-sufficient.
Second, note that Jesus Christ is not merely an expression of God the Father, but is in fellowship with God the Father- "the Word was with God."
From all eternity, God the Father and God the Son have not merely co-existed, but enjoyed perfect and intimate and infinite joy in fellowship with one another.
Third, we see, "The Word was God." Paul says, "He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation," Colossians 1:15. Jesus Christ was there in the beginning not simply as a spectator to the glory of God as revealed in creation, but as the glory of God Himself - as the Creator Himself. "Yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ through whom are all things and through whom we exist," 1 Corinthians 8:6.
One last thing, John does something in these first two verses that are very important to his readers. He repeats himself. "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God."
It's as if he were saying, "Did you get that? Do you understand what I am saying? Are you following and appreciating the magnitude and weight of this glorious reality, namely, the eternal existence of the Word, Jesus Christ? Let's make sure, for it is that important. Let it sink in deep. Do not read too fast."
We are so prone to read the Bible too quickly, especially familiar passages like this one. Let us slow down and thank the Lord for seeing fit to repeat himself. I have often thought of the words of C.S. Lewis "We need to be reminded more than instructed." I find these words to be so true. Every morning I need a simple reminder of the gospel (at the very least), a simple reminder of who God is and what he has done for us through the Eternal Word, Jesus Christ. This sustains and strengthens my soul. We don't need to know a lot of things. We just need to get what we already know.
Mike Singenstreu is pastor at Christ Presbyterian Church.