Summary: Using St. John’s lyrical prologue, frames the agenda of the Church setting the whole of her worship, teaching, fellowship, and outreach activity in the context of bearing witness to the new story of the reign of God established by the Incarnate Christ.
JESUS CHRIST:THE SOUND OF A NEW STORY
INTRO: THE WRONG STORY
Before we look more carefully into John’s Gospel I want to speak with you about an event that happened to the stepson of a friend over the holidays. Derrick was thirteen years old and was spending the night at the home of a friend the night after Christmas. Apparently there were several guys there that were approximately that age. After watching some movies, the boy who was hosting the group broke into his grandfather’s gun cabinet with a stolen key and took out a 357 magnum handgun and loaded it. He pointed the weapon at one of the other boys and pulled the trigger, he turned to a second boy and fired the weapon again. Fortunately, there was not a bullet in the chamber the first two times. The boy then pointed the gun at Darren* and after making some threats pulled the trigger. This time the gun went off and Darren’s young life was tragically snuffed out.
Now after the hundreth such story we have gotten used to asking how such a senseless even could ever happen. We look to blame the parents, the gun manufacturers, the entertainment industry, the schools, peer pressure, and the kids themselves, but few answers really present themselves. What would cause an ordinary teenage boy with his whole life ahead of him to demonstrate such wanton disregard for the sanctity of human life?
The answer is that he is living out the wrong story.
* Not his real name
I. WHERE THE WORLD LOST ITS STORY
A. All of us live life in light of a story. Think for a minute if I ask you who you are you will likely tell me your name. If I press for details however, you will begin to tell me your life story. If I dig even farther you will tell me the story of your family origins, how your family came to be in the United States, you might go into the history of our country. Broaden that far enough and you can see that our very self-understanding is expressed by telling the story of the world and where we fit within it.
As you are probably aware, however, there are different versions of that world story.
B. The boy that shot Derrick was living out the implications of a God forsaken story. From the day that Adam rebelled against God in the garden, and sin entered the world we humans have crafted a story where the self is the center of the narrative. Remember the temptation of the serpent – “What’s in it for you, Adam?”
C. Our culture has picked up on that story and has sold us on a version of the world that is completely devoid of the active, personal presence of God. We have been told our whole life that the goal of living is to have more money, more toys, more power than anyone else. Live fast, get as much as you can. Other people are the means to that end, mere objects to be manipulated for my benefit. Is it any wonder that violence and murder have become such a part of the stories we tell.
D. Often when my father was correcting me as a child he would say that the whole world did not revolve around me, but that is the new story. This story is all about me and my desires. Inexplicable as it may seem, this is story of the world that sinful human beings have chosen to create, to live in, and to understand themselves by.
This is the world that John’s Gospel addresses. . .
I. IN THE BEGINNING WAS A GOD WHO SPEAKS AND SHOWS HIMSELF
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
2 He was with God in the beginning.
A. Against this story, John enters with an alternative story. We can see that this story is instantly different because it is set to music. The beginning of John’s Gospel is poetry not prose. One must sing and exult and resound with joy in worship because this is not the story of a God forsaken world. It is the story of a world where God is present and speaks.
B. In the beginning... John’s is telling recalling us to us the story of the world (Gen. 1:1). The story of the God-forsaken world must be completely re-written.
C. Who is the center to this story? We see very quickly that this lyrical story is about a person whom John calls the “Word” who perfectly reveals God and tells of what God is like. But who is this Word? And why would John use such a cryptic title to describe this person?