A fantastic, mysterious, profoundly intimate, introduction to Jesus…full of exquisite beauty and dripping with hope.

John 1
      1 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.

The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. 11 He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. 12 Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— 13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.
14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
18 No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known.

The Message:

14 The Word became flesh and blood,    and moved into the neighborhood.We saw the glory with our own eyes,    the one-of-a-kind glory,    like Father, like Son,Generous inside and out,    true from start to finish.

No one has ever seen God,        not so much as a glimpse.    This one-of-a-kind God-Expression,        who exists at the very heart of the Father,        has made him plain as day.

The first action of Jesus we must consider is this: Jesus “moved into the neighborhood.” He became one of us.
We saw Him – full of grace and truth. And when we saw Him, we were seeing God. And now we know what God is like. 

John here says “we” – this does not at all mean Jesus was universally accepted. 
What is the verdict? Light has come into the world, but men love their darkness.
To all who received him…
In military terms, this is an incursion into hostile territory. There is nothing safe about becoming a human being. But these were desperate times, and God held back nothing – he was no longer content to call us from a distance. “Sacrifice and offerings you would not, but a body you have prepared for me.”

“You get a C for showing up” (political activism).

It wasn’t just that Jesus showed up – he did and said different things.

And we have moved into our neighborhoods. Our work. Our school. Our family.
Always the call of Jesus is to go – OUT THERE.
It can’t be enough to just show up, right? That gets us a C, but to change the world, we need a bit more.
We’ve got the first part down – we’ve shown up, and I think we all want to make sure we’re not stuck inside a church culture. BUt what should we add to that?
This is the struggle – how do I live like Jesus in my world, my culture? How do I be that “light”? What does that really mean?
I can’t just start preaching at work. There are laws.
I’m kind of not the Messiah either.
Do I just try to insert Jesus into conversations, no matter how unnatural? “Nice job on the TPS reports, Bob.” “Well you know Jesus helped me, Phil. I give God the glory, really.” I mean, do we Ned Flanders-ize everything we do?
I suppose if we were professional athletes we’d get away with that. I envy football players. No matter how good a review the app I made gets, it will never NOT be weird to take a knee and point to the sky whenever someone acknowledges it.

I’m still trying to figure it out. Peter gives us a starting point:

I Peter 2
Living Godly Lives in a Pagan Society
11 Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul.12 Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.
13 Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human authority: whether to the emperor, as the supreme authority, 14 or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right. 15 For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people. 16 Live as free people, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as God’s slaves. 17 Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, honor the emperor.

Honor the emperor? This is a very big ask…

The Message
It is God’s will that by doing good, you might cure the ignorance of the fools who think you’re a danger to society. Exercise your freedom by serving God, not by breaking the rules. Treat everyone you meet with dignity. Love your spiritual family. Revere God. Respect the government.

Table Talk

A few guidelines…
Everyone should feel free to talk. If you’re here, you’re part of the conversation.
Everyone should have a chance to talk. If you’ve already made a comment or two, make sure to leave space for others.
Everyone should feel like this is a safe space. It’s okay to doubt, question, and say “I don’t know.”
Starter questions…
What’s your “neighborhood” like? Work? School? Actual neighborhood? What kind of environment do you spend most of your time in? Is it  an easy environment to talk about your faith, or difficult?
Do you feel like God has “sent” you to the places where you live, work, and play, or are these locations the result of random chance or personal choices?
How are you trying to “live such a good life…that…they may see your good deeds and glorify God”? How’s that working out for you?

One More Thing…
No one has ever seen God…and not many have seen Jesus (though some have been blessed by visions). But the world you have been placed in will see you. Could it be that God’s intention is to extend this Scripture to include us – Jesus revealed the Father. We reveal Jesus?

“No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known. And no one (today) has ever seen Jesus, but (insert your name), who is in close relationship with Jesus, has made Him plain as day.”

Will anyone ever say “I don’t believe in God, but I have seen you, and that makes me want to believe.”