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Thursday, February 10, 2011

The "real thing"

9-13The Life-Light was the real thing: Every person entering life he brings into Light.  He was in the world, the world was there through him, and yet the world didn't even notice.  He came to his own people, but they didn't want him.  But whoever did want him, who believed he was who he claimed and would do what he said, he made to be their true selves, their child-of-God selves.  These are the God-begotten, not blood-begotten, not flesh-begotten, not sex-begotten.
(John 1:9-13)

It would be quite easy to read the first chapter of John and pass over the passages that are familiar to some and seem "cursory" to others.  In considering the truths laid out in this passage, several things come into view when we stop to dig a little deeper:
  • Jesus is the "real thing" - many years ago, Coca-Cola entered onto the market and began a marketing campaign calling Coke the "real thing".  It became the way people thought about the differences between every upstart "cola" and Coca-Cola - only one was the "real thing".  If we examine this passage in its entirety, you will see that Jesus is who is outlined in these passages.  He is presented as the "real thing" - not just another "thing" to be worshiped, but the only way into true and everlasting life.
  • He brings us into light - no one who has truly experienced light wants to willingly settle for darkness.  Darkness has very little appeal after we have experienced the wonder of all light exposes - color, hue, form, etc.  It is important to note that we don't somehow get into the light ourselves - he brings us into the light.  The challenge of being blind is that we must trust another to guide us in our darkness.  A blind person must learn to place their faith in another - coming into step with the one who is "in the light" in order to move through the darkness.  So it is with us - we need to trust in the one capable of bringing us into light - coming into step with him.
  • The world did not even notice him - it amazes me that the creator of the world, the sustainer of the world, was in the world, right there living and breathing alongside us, and we failed to notice him.  Each of us has had a point when what has previously been a lack of focus for us suddenly comes into view and we wonder how long that object or solution has been right there in front of us.  Most of our "revelation" of Christ in our lives is really just a discovery of what is already there.  We just didn't notice it.
  • Whoever wanted him he made to be their true selves - at best, we walk around trying to be what we think we should be.  We have an "image" of what we want to achieve, how we want to be perceived by others, or what we present as the goals of our lives.  No one knows us better than the one who created us.  When the manufacturer of an automobile is brought the automobile and told it is making a certain noise, he is likely to know very well what to consider as the cause of that noise.  Others may be "trained" to look for certain things - but at best, they can "guess" at the cause.  The one who made the automobile "knows" - because he is the one that formed every part, placed every part into its particular use, etc.  Jesus is the one who knows how we were formed - and he knows the purpose for each one of us. 
  • We are "God-begotten" - sure, we were all born the typical way - a sperm made its way into an ovum and conception occurred.  Today, this can occur in a test-tube in a laboratory, but the fact still remains, the sperm and ovum must come together and then the action of physical life begins.  In a spiritual sense, the same must occur.  The Spirit of God enters into our spirit, and spiritual life begins.  We sometimes refer to this as the "new birth" experience.  The "replication" of Christ's character begins to take place - until we are completely formed into his image, reflective of his character.
We become the "real thing" because we are inhabited by the "real thing"!  What we once overlooked has become our very existence.  The absolutely amazing thing about this transformational process of the "new birth" experience is that we come into a place where we are free to be exactly who we were created to be - our unique qualities on display for God's glory and at the ready for his use.