Summary: Humanity dies with Adam and Eve but God’s plan is to bring us back to life through his own Son who renews creation.
By Tim Johnson
When you think of great rescue missions, what do you think of? My mind jumps to the extraordinary rescue of two yachtsmen, Tony Bullimore & Thierry Dubois, from the Southern Ocean off Antarctica in 1997. Both had been competing in a solo around the world race when a massive storm capsized their boats. They were stranded in near freezing water, enduring 12 metre waves and 115km/h winds.
Thierry Dubois spent 24 hours clinging to his upturned yacht Wondering how long it would be before he died. In this dire predicament, he must have wondered how he could possibly be rescued. He was 3,200km from Australia And in such high seas what chance was there of a rescue. Yet in this dire situation a rescue came.
The Australian navy sent the HMAS Adelaide after him and after dropping him a life raft - in which he floated for another two days. Eventually they were able to send out a Seahawk helicopter and lower a rescuer down to Dubois, who winched him to safety.
It has been described as one of the greatest rescue operations of all time! A dire predicament - with little hope of rescue yet help came as someone reached down and plucked Dubois to safety.
In this series on ’humanity in focus’ we have seen that our predicament is far worse than that faced by Dubois. Despite the good creation of God, despite being made in the image of God, despite being crowned with glory and honour by God, humanity rebelled against him. So dire is our predicament that the Apostle Paul writes, in Romans 3:
"There is no one who is righteous, not even one; there is no one who has understanding, there is no one who seeks God."
All of us have rebelled against and rejected God, our creator, and that is a far worse situation than even 12 metre-high seas and freezing water God is the one who made and controls the sea! And to rebel against him, puts us under his right judgement.
How can there be any possible rescue from that situation! From such a dire predicament, a radical rescue mission is needed. What is needed is the greatest rescue mission of all time. And that rescue mission is described for us in John 1.
A Human Saviour is born
V.1 starts, ’In the beginning…’ Hang on. That sounds familiar! It sounds exactly like the start of Genesis 1, the start of the bible. It takes us right back to the beginning, to before humanity’s rebellion against God, and shows us the credentials of the great rescuer.
’In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2He was in the beginning with God.’ Humanity’s predicament is so bad that we need the very best person to save us. We actually need God himself to do it. And here we get a glimpse into the majesty of God in Trinity. Here we see God the Son, described as ’the Word’, one who is with God but who also actually is God. And since the Word is God, He is also the agent of creation.
This is put both positively and negatively in v.3
’All things came into being through him,
and without him not one thing came into being that has come into being.’
You’ll notice that I’m using the reading of v.3 given in the NRSV footnotes, rather than the main text. Both are possible ways to read the punctuation in vv.3-4 And in the end a decision needs to be made in terms of what makes more sense in the context? That’s why I go with the alternative at the bottom and, in fact, most other English versions of the bible translate it that way too. Again, what is being emphasized is that the word is responsible for creation
’All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being that has come into being.’
So whatever I think of, cows, buttercups, mountains, rivers, Patagonian toothfish… He made it. And without him it wouldn’t exist! That is an impressive CV!
But wait, there’s more (v.4) ’In him was life, and the life was the light of all people. Because the Word is God, he has life in and of himself. That is not true of you and me. We have life because God gives us life. But the Son of God, the Word, has life in him by his very nature. That idea is developed throughout John’s gospel. Can you think of any passages in John where Jesus speaks of himself as life?
Jesus says, ’For just as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself.’ (5:26) ’The Son gives life to whomever he wishes.’ (5:21) ’I am the resurrection and the life.’ (11:25) As we read here, In him was life, and the life was the light of all people