Lesson from Sunday March 21th, 2010
This week, the passages focus on the person of Jesus including his divine and human nature, his birth, and his baptism and temptation. John uses the Greek term logos to describe Jesus as the originator, focus, and sustainer of the universe. This is an interesting choice because of the significance of the term logos in ancient Greek thought. It was in ancient Greece a master term. The world itself was the result of and currently animated by logos. For them the term had a range of meaning from the concrete (word, speech) to the abstract (reason, rationality). The world could be understood because it was governed by rationality and reason and human beings had the ability to understand it and speak of it, also using logos. Thus, the universe and humans had this logos in common.
It is interesting to consider the different reactions to Jesus by specific people such as Mary, John the Baptist, Herod, and the gospel writers but also more generally in terms of how the Gentiles and Jews of the day generally reacted to him. This question persists to this day as a defining issue: what do you make of Jesus of Nazareth? Christians are those who have responded to his invitation to become his children by receiving him (John 1:12, 13), while to this day, many choose to see in Jesus a wise teacher, but something less than the divine Son of God.
It is likely that John draws from an early hymn about Jesus in the opening to his gospel. Scholars see this in the first 16 verses, taking out verses 12, 13, and 15.
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 men. The true light that gives light to every man 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.
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
1. What do we learn about Jesus from the first 18 verses in the gospel of John?
2. What do we learn about Jesus in the words of angel that appears to Mary in Luke 1:30 – 37, from Mary’s song in Luke 1:46 – 55, the prayer of Simeon in Luke 2: 29-32, and the words of John the Baptist in Luke 3: 7-9?
3. Notice the questions that are asked about Jesus in Luke 3: 30-34 and the responses John gives. What questions might be asked about Jesus today?