Jesus Is God Come Near

So the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. – John 1:14

God was not content just to proclaim his message to us — his “Word”! God wasn’t satisfied that prophets could reveal his message to us — his “Word”! God wasn’t willing that his message, his “Word,” be confined to a book. No, God’s ultimate message, his “Word,” is Jesus. God’s message, God’s “Word,” is Jesus coming in human flesh to live as one of us to reveal God to us. This incarnation made grace accessible, touchable, and available to human eyes. Yet even in human skin and burdened with human mortality, God’s glory could not be hidden. God’s “unfailing love and faithfulness” are revealed in Jesus. God came near. God became touchable. God’s message became real in Jesus, the “Word”! Holy and loving God, my Abba Father, thank you for the Scriptures, the prophets, the scribes, and the scholars. Thank you most of all for Jesus, who is your Word in human skin. Thank you for coming to my world and showing me how to live and how much you love me. As I journey through the Gospel of John this year, please make your presence and your will known to me as I get to know your Son better. Hebrews 1:1-3 – 2 Timothy 3:14-15 – 2 Corinthians 1:20

Reborn

But to all who believed Jesus, the Word and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God. They are reborn — not with a physical birth resulting from human passion or plan, but a birth that comes from God. – John 1:12-13

Not everyone rejected Jesus. In fact, everyone who believed in him and accepted him was given an incredible gift: They were made children of God! This special gift is something that God alone could achieve for us. It is also something about which Jesus and John will both have more to say. Today, however, think about what it means to be God’s child! Our Father paints the sunrise and displays his artistry again at sunset. He set the boundaries of the universe, which we cannot begin to see. He is the greatest Father anyone could ever have, and he chose us to be his children! Our adoption into the Father’s family is something God did for us to include us as his children. We couldn’t make ourselves part of God’s family any more than a baby can accomplish his or her own birth or his or her adoption. We are God’s children because of his love and grace and Jesus’ sacrifice. In fact, Jesus came as the Father’s Word of grace; we can be children of God, born from above! Expand my heart, O God, so that I can truly show my love and appreciation to you for adopting me into your family. Open my mind, dear Father, so that I can understand your grace and mercy given me through Jesus. I praise you and thank you for making me your child! John 3:3-7 – Acts 16:30-33 – 1 John 5:1

Rejected

Jesus, the Word came into the very world he created, but the world didn’t recognize him. He came to his own people, and even they rejected him. – John 1:10-11

Jesus had made everything in the universe, including the earth and all its peoples. Yet when he came to his very own chosen people, they did not accept him. Think a minute about what that means for us when we feel alone, deserted, misunderstood, forgotten, abused. We HAVE a Savior who knows how badly it hurts to be rejected by those we love; he’s experienced it. He knows what it’s like to be spurned by one we treasure; he felt it repeatedly. He knows what it’s like to be despised by those for whom we have made major sacrifices. So when we have those overwhelming times of heartbreak, we can go to him and know he is a caring friend who has been there. He hears us and will minister to our needs and listen to our cries. Father, it saddens me deeply to know that Jesus had to bear the pain of being rejected by those he loved, by those who watched him grow up, and by those for whom he sacrificed so much. However, dear Father, it gives me great comfort to know that he has experienced those losses and empathizes with me when I feel down, forgotten, abandoned, and forsaken. I know I can come to you, and he ensures me that I will receive grace to help me in my time of hurt and need. Thank you for being so intimately involved in this world. Mark 3:20-22 – Luke 4:23-24, 29-30 – John 7:2-5

Light for Everyone

The one who is the true light, who gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. – John 1:9

John wasn’t the light. No, the true light was going to come for everyone. John’s ministry was primarily in the desert and to Israelites, but his message wasn’t to prepare just Israel for the Messiah. No, we all need his message. Unlike John, the Messiah wasn’t going to set up his ministry in the desert and have people come to him. The true light was coming into the world to save all the world. He was going to shine for all people: men and women, slaves and free, Jew and Gentile (Galatians 3:26-29). Since Jesus is the true light, since he died for our sins and saved us, and since we are his disciples, we need to ask ourselves a crucial question: “What are we — what am I — doing to make sure that everyone gets to know Jesus, God’s true light for the world?” Let’s be a part of letting the world know that God sent his Son to save them! (John 3:16-17). O Father, give me a bigger heart for those that I don’t know. Use me to share Jesus with those outside my cultural comfort zone. Give me a greater sensitivity to those around me so that they can experience your love and welcoming grace because of the way I treat them. John 8:12 – 1 Peter 2:9 – 2 Corinthians 4:4

Witness to the Light and Example to Me

John himself was not the light; he was simply a witness to tell about the light. – John 1:8

John the Baptizer was an incredible man. He was a prophet, inspired by God’s Spirit. He spoke with an authority and authenticity long silent among God’s people. He courageously declared the truth to everyone no matter that person’s rank and no matter his own personal cost. But John was only a witness to God’s light — Jesus, God’s real Word and only Son. And as important as John may have been, his importance was as a servant to the light. John freely testified to this function (John 1:15). He knew his role. He refused to be a point of contention. He is a great example to us of what we can and should be to our loved ones and friends — a witness, someone who points others to the truth and light of Jesus. Thank you, Heavenly Father, for John the Baptizer. Thank you for such a powerful example and such a wonderful person of integrity. Please use me to point those in my influence to the truth about Jesus as I seek to live with integrity before them. John 3:26-30 – John 1:29 – Mark 1:1-4