Monday, October 5, 2015

The Gospel and the Incarnation (John 1:12, 14-18)

With verse 14, we arrive at the climax of the prologue, maybe.

It could be verse 12, depending on how you look at things. Both should be considered. In verse 12, we have the central idea of a giant chiastic structure. I love chiasms, even though I think there is a huge danger of seeing them where they don’t exist, or in reading too much into them.

Here, we have a pretty clear case. (A) has verses 1, 2 and 18 talking about the Son’s relationship with the Father. Trinitarian imagery. (B) sees verses 3 and 17 deal with creation and revelation, two of the main works of God. With (C) John talks about the Word bringing light, illumination, and life to men in verse 4, while 16 parallels that discussing how the Word has brought us grace.

In (D) we get the two parenthetical sections (6-8 and 15) about John the Baptist’s witness.

Verses 9, 10, and 14 (E) deal with the Word coming into the world. (F) sees verses 11 and 13 talking about relationships and nations, our fleshly connections.

Then you get the simple Gospel of verse 12. (G) talks about receiving, believing in Christ. The central idea (H) shows what God has given all who trust in Him, the right to be His children. So, verse 12 is a huge verse. It is the central idea, in both structure and meaning, of this Gospel prologue.

However, to me verse 14 still has more weight. It takes this whole prologue from being a theoretical, philosophical, wide open idea, to something concrete and narrow.

What makes the Gospel so specific is the fact of the incarnation. God didn’t just deal in theory. He didn’t symbolically come to us and “show us the way.” He became flesh. He entered into creation, and into this world that is in rebellion against Him. Jesus went from being a person of the Godhead to becoming a person like you and me, a man.

When we embrace the Gospel message, we are placing our trust in the Man who is also God, we follow a real person named Jesus Christ in obedience.

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