sexta-feira, 9 de janeiro de 2015

WORD, LIGHT, LIFE AND LOVE


In him was life,
and that life was
the light of all mankind.

John 1.4 (read 1.1-18) - NIV

 

John says that Jesus is the Word of God. Through the Word, God created all things and nothing was done without him. This same Word dispels the darkness and is the "light of all mankind". The Word of God is living and active and present, fulfilling the divine plan in all of creation.

The Bible is a witness of the Word, not the Word itself. To say that the Bible is the Word of God is to deny what it says about itself. The Bible is made of paper and ink by human hands and is subject to manipulation. It is used as a pretext to support a multitude of dogmas and doctrines, setting standards and rules, formation of a wide range of rival churches and the manipulation of men and women. But its real purpose is to speak of something beyond itself which is the true Word that illuminates all humanity.

Humans have a tendency to create idols and worship them as if they were divine. Many Christians do the same. They attribute sacredness to the Bible, to the Church and to church structures (bishops), etc. Someday all these things will cease to exist.

But Jesus who is the living and eternal Word cannot be manipulated. There are attempts to manipulate him and limit him to exclusivist groups. The American religious right makes him into a Caucasian with blue eyes and blonde hair who supports their biases. But Jesus is greater than any interpretation we can make of him.

The Gospel of John gives witness to Jesus as being cosmic and above any tribe, nation, race, ideology or religion. The other three Gospels connect Jesus to Jewish traditions with limited openings to the Gentile world. The Gospel of John, written last, presents Jesus as being very close to all mankind. It is not necessary to know the Jewish customs to understand him.

This Word is not necessarily spelled J-E-S-U-S which would make it impossible for him to enlighten all people. As light, the true Word reaches all mankind in the form of Enlightenment (LIGHT) regardless of language, culture or religion. Regardless of religiousness or irreligiousness all who love are of God. The atheist can be just as much of God as any professedly religious person.

But many people reject new Light, preferring to live in the darkness of preconceived biases. You can spell J-E-S-U-S correctly and reject the LIGHT of the WORD. Today, the people who promote war, prejudice and hatred also spell correctly JESUS and profess the Christian faith. These people use the Bible to promote their agenda of attitudes and acts contrary to the LIGHT of the WORD.

The LIGHT of the WORD is LOVE! The LIGHT of the WORD dwells in those who really LOVE. The heart of the Gospel is LOVE. The phrase, "God so loved the world" is the miniature Gospel.

Jesus did not come to establish a new religion, or reform the old one. This would limit the Word to a group of privileged people. The Word of the Gospel is open to the whole world. In contrast, throughout history churches have erected barriers by barring people and separating them into categories: the saved and the unsaved, believers and non-believers, elected and unelected, forgiven and unforgiven, good and bad, Christian and pagan, etc., but love knows no barriers.

 

John 1:1-18New International Version (NIV)

THE WORD BECAME FLESH

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

There was a man sent from God whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all might believe. He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light.

The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God — children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

(John testified concerning him. He cried out, saying, “This is the one I spoke about when I said, ‘He who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’”) Out of his fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known.

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