Do you like your skin? Do you feel comfortable in your skin? I mentioned in the preview post here that we are going to talk about Jesus’ skin.
I’m sure each of us has thought more than our fair share about our skin. The ways we don’t like it, especially. The blemishes. The wear and tear. The scars.
Over the years we’ve all probably spent some time and money on our skin. At the very least, I hope you wear sun block because skin cancer is a reality we can avoid.
When you go to the store, there are lots of skin care products, aren’t there? And there’s debate about skin care products. Does the US Food and Drug Administration have good regulations for skin care products, or are they allowing us to put toxins on our skin?
I’m not writing about skin care, but we do need to talk about skin. Jesus’ skin.
Turn in your Bibles to the Gospel of John. As you are turning there, let’s briefly review what we talked about last week, an introduction to the Gospel of John. John was one of Jesus’ disciples, and John lived to be an old man, most likely that last disciple living. There were already three other books about Jesus. We call them Matthew, Mark and Luke. They are very similar, so John wanted to write about Jesus from a different perspective. He wants people who never walked or talked with Jesus to believe in Jesus.
As we’ll see, John talks about his desire for people to believe in Jesus right from outset, in the prologue to his story about Jesus. John was probably connected to the church in the city of Ephesus, which would have likely been a group of house churches. All was not fine and dandy in the church. People were trying teach things about Jesus that John didn’t agree with. As the last eyewitness of Jesus, he wants to set the record straight. Who was Jesus? Why did he come? Or like we’re talking about this morning: skin. Skin? Yup, John talks about skin right near the beginning.
Let’s start with John 1:1-5. When you read those verses, there is no mention of skin. I promise, John’s getting there. So let’s follow along with his flow of thought. Look at verse 1, “In the beginning was the Word.” Does that remind you of any other famous verse of the Bible?
It’s nearly identical to Genesis 1:1, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth,” the famous opening verse of the Bible. Do you see how John is making a link to that verse? But with an important change. A twist. “In the beginning was the Word!” What word is John talking about?
He gives us clues. Whatever this word is, John tells us in verses 1-5 numerous elements of the Word’s identity. First he writes that The Word was with God in the beginning. In the beginning? Is John referring to the same beginning as Genesis 1:1? Just so you aren’t confused about what John means, he clarifies that the Word was God. That is the significant difference between Genesis 1:1 and John 1:1. In Genesis 1:1, we are simply told that God created the heavens and earth. Now in John 1:1, we have a clarification, some new information. God and The Word were there together in the beginning, but they are not two separate entities. The Word is God. John’s readers who were familiar with Genesis 1:1 might have said, “Wait a minute, John, Genesis says God created. Not God and someone else.” So John moves on to his next point.
The Word created all things. Look at verses 3-5, where John writes, “Through him all things were made.” John is not saying that Genesis 1:1 is incorrect. He is simply adding more information to the narrative. John is saying that when we think of the idea of God creating the universe, we need to expand our understanding of God. God also includes The Word.
John has more to say about this Word that is God. And we’re going to get to that. First we need to understand at least a bit of what John is getting at when he uses this concept of The Word. We’ll talk about John’s use of “The Word” in the next post.