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2.08.2005    |    Words matter
The Gospel of John is quite different than the synoptic Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke. It is the most mystical, and, in one sense, perhaps kabbalistic, although it's unlikely that John would have known the term -- it not having been in common use for at least another thousand years. The giveaway phrase is "Word made flesh."

Jesus, as the incarnation of God, is also the incarnation of God's Word. In one stream of thought in kabbalah, God created the universe, and then mankind, by first emptying Himself, then creating the Hebrew aleph-bet in His mind. Which He then used to bring forth all creation. Thus, in a sense, the building blocks for our reality -- our very universe and our souls -- derives from the building blocks for literal (Hebrew) words. At least that's one school of thought. (My limited knowledge of kabbalah has just been virtually exhausted; a good survey book is by Gershom Scholem)

When I was brought up in churchly things, I was taught that John's gospel simply represented the idea that the Bible, the Word of God, had been brought to life in the form of Jesus. We never learned of the Jewish mystic thought that may have informed John's view of God.

Switching gears, we also know that not only was Jesus the Word made flesh, He was of the Spirit, and brought us God's grace. From John's introduction of Jesus in Chapter 1:
14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. 15 John testifies concerning him. He cries out, saying, "This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’" 16 From the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another. 17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only, who is at the Father's side, has made him known.
Word made flesh made grace and truth. Is it any wonder that it all may be found in God's Word, the Holy Bible?

Not to me. After all, it is sola Scriptura.

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About this site and the author

Welcome. My name is John Luke Rich, (very) struggling Christian. The focus here is Christianity in its many varieties, its fussing and feuding, how it impacts our lives and our society, with detours to consider it with other faiths (or lack thereof).

Call this blog my way of evangelizing on the internet.

Putting it differently, we're only here on this earth a short time. It's the rest of eternity that we should be most concerned about. Call it the care and feeding of our souls.

I was born Jewish, and born again in Christ Jesus over thirty years ago. First as a Roman Catholic; now a Calvinist by persuasion and a Baptist by denomination. But I'm hardly a poster boy for doctrinal rigidity.

I believe that Scripture is the rock on which all Christian churches must stand -- or sink if they are not so grounded. I believe that we are saved by faith, but hardly in a vacuum. That faith is a gift from God, through no agency on our part -- although we sometimes turn a deaf ear and choose to ignore God's knocking on the door.

To be Christian is to evangelize. Those who think it not their part to evangelize perhaps haven't truly understood what our Lord told us in Matthew 28. We must preach the Gospel as best we are able. Using words if necessary.

Though my faith waxes and wanes, it never seems to go away. Sometimes I wish it would, to give me some peace of mind. But then, Jesus never said that walking with Him was going to be easy...

Final note: I also blog as Jack Rich on cultural, political and other things over at Wrong Side of the Tracks

Thanks for stopping by.