John 1:1-5 NIV
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.
“You had to be there.”
If we’ve heard this once, we’ve heard it a hundred times. We say this when we’re telling someone about an event that happened, wanting them to enter into the experience through our stellar storytelling. When it’s clear we aren’t communicating well enough, or the person is not connecting with the experience at the level we had hoped for, we cut our losses and say “I guess you had to be there.”
But what if the person was there? They would simply know, like you know, how amazing the experience was. John, in the first verse of his Gospel, talking about the beginning of the cosmos, is saying, Jesus was there. Mingling the opening words of Genesis (“In the beginning”) with the Greek concept of the divine logos (“. . . was the Word”), the apostle John makes a powerful point that has drawn many to faith in Jesus throughout the millennia.
In the beginning of creation, the Word of God, the Son of God, Jesus Christ, was there. And having been there, he knew why it all started, how it all started, and where it is all headed. In other words, the living Word had the Father’s eternal agenda stirring in his heart as he lived and moved among us.
New creation. Out of the chaos. That’s what the Trinity does. That’s what the Creator did in the beginning. And that’s exactly what the Word made flesh, Jesus the Son of God, came to do among us. Can I get a witness? He’s doing that work in my heart as I write and it’s moving me to worship; I believe he’s doing it in your heart as you read. How? By the same Spirit who formed creation and who raised Jesus from the dead—the same Spirit that lives in you and me at this very moment.
Imagine John, the beloved disciple, sitting down to write his documentation of the life of Jesus. He saw the miracles. He witnessed the transfiguration. He saw Jesus alive again after his brutal crucifixion. He was present when Jesus ascended into heaven. And he was filled with the Spirit at Pentecost with everyone else, finding that God was willing to do the same kinds of miracles through him that he had done through Jesus! John has no need to inflate Jesus’ story or make anything up for posterity. He’s good. He’s ready to write what really happened—because John was there.
Walking into the pages of the New Testament will reveal Jesus’ most profound work, and if we could have been there at the very beginning of time, we would feel just how in concert Jesus’ ministry is with the Spirit’s creation work in Genesis.
With the Spirit empowering him for ministry, Jesus brings order to the chaos in the human heart, breath to spiritually dead humankind, covenant perfection in relation to the Father, signs and wonders that signal the presence of God is truly in our midst, and good news—for the poor, the captive, the prisoner—no matter our situation.
And Christ in you, through you, speaks God’s loving order into the chaos of the human heart.
Let’s get started in our journey with the Holy Spirit through the New Testament.
Jesus, I receive the Holy Spirit. My life is an example of you speaking your powerful word into the chaos and the disordered desires within, making me a new creation. Come, Holy Spirit, make me not only a vessel of that new creation, but a catalyst of new creation in the lives of others. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Think about your own story of awakening to Christ. How has Jesus been speaking into the chaos of your life bringing his good news to transform it into something that shows off his glory?
For the awakening,