September 27, 2017
10 He was in the world, and the world came into being through him; yet the world did not know him. 11 He came to what was his own, and his own people did not accept him. 12 But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God, 13 who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God.
14 And 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. 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.’”) 16 From his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. 17 The law indeed was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has ever seen God. It is God the only Son, who is close to the Father’s heart, who has made him known.
This is the second half of John’s opening prologue. It’s linked to the first half by a literary device called chiasm, where words fold and unfold like an accordion – with the beginning and ending having something in common, the second part and second to last part having something in common, and so on, drawing attention the the center.
We won’t talk about this again and again, even though some people think every single episode in John is written in this form. Perhaps it’s enough to know that all through this book, John is essentially writing poetry. Perhaps it helps to know that he’s stating and restating phrases and ideas, helping them lodge in our memories. Perhaps it helps to know that he’s often drawing our attention to the middle of things.
At the center of this prologue is a shocking thought – that God is speaking God’s word into the world through a God-person living with us, full of grace and truth, and most people missed it. Generally, we don’t recognize God.
Does that match your experience of the world? That we often miss what’s clear before our eyes, what’s most important and most full of light? John thinks this is so, that God can be living with us and speaking to us and we can miss it still.
Take just a single phrase from today, perhaps one of these:
-the world did not know him
-the power to become children of God
-the Word became flesh and lived among us
-full of grace and truth
-From his fullness we have all received
Meditate on it. Let it sit in your mind for a few minutes, continue to look at it, repeat it. Where does it take you? Open yourself to the possibility of God speaking to you through it. What do you “hear”? What would God love for you to not miss but to see today?