Anglican Morning Devotion, 29 December 2021 Anno domini
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“That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life; 2(For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;) 3That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. 4And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full. 5This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. 6If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: 7But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. 8If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.” (John 1:1-10 (from Lectionary Text for today; all scripture from the King James Version)
John is the Apostle of Love, but also of BEGINNINGS. In his Gospel, and in his Epistles, he mentions BEGINNINGS at least twenty-two times (by my count). His Gospel (John 1:1) begins precisely with the words of Genesis 1:1, “In the Beginning…” He is also the Apostle that emphasizes Light and the Word as these relate to our Lord Jesus Christ. It is the latter subject of the Word upon which I wish to focus in this brief devotion.
When we were yet in our mother’s womb, our awareness was limited to feelings only. We could not see nor speak. We knew no words. We were only aware of our personal comfort zone and moments of hunger. After birth, we began to sense a greater universe of existence. We could see the beauty of God’s Creation, sunlight, a gentle woman who constantly saw to our every need in the form of a mother. Gradually, we associated meanings to objects in our purview. As the weeks and months passed by, we learned that there were words that described those objects. Words became the medium through which we could communicate thoughts; indeed, we even thought in words. Without words, civilization would still be in the primitive state of self-serving desires only.
We do need words to communicate truth and, unfortunately, often falsehoods. But there is One great Personage that is the express image of all truth and life – the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the Word that we can know in personal terms – we have seen and felt His Being. As the Word, He descended to earth and was incarnated as a Babe at Bethlehem. Being the express image of the Father, we came to know God in a far greater sense than ever before. The Law and Prophets pointed to the Word to come, but that was a future promise. Abraham believed in that promised Redeemer by an astonishing faith.
Though the Law and Prophets spoke of Him and revealed our great want and need of a Savior, we could scarcely imagine the Father that would send us such a Redeemer. Hearing the description of a beautiful sunrise is not sufficient to reveal the full beauty of it to a blind man. But to actually see such a wonder with the eyes, firsthand, makes a tremendous difference in our understanding.
Jesus Christ is the Word in all its glory and fullness from Genesis 1 to Revelations 22. He is THE WORD Incarnate! He is the only One who has descended from Heaven to us, and ascended to the Father FOR us. He is the Word made flesh. We saw and felt His very presence among us. We could not know God without knowing and seeing the Son. He is the Word perfect in righteousness – the WAY, the TRUTH, and, yes, the LIFE! He is very LIGHT to disperse every shade of darkness. He is the ONE whose heel will crush the head of the serpent in Genesis 3:15; the Redeemer to whom Job made reference in Job 19:25-27; the only Begotten Son that was illustrated by the sacrifice of Isaac, and the ONE of whom Zechariah describes – “What are these wounds in thine hands? Then he shall answer, Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends.” (Zechariah 13:6)
The Elect of God have seen the Light! We have believed His Report! We have surrendered our old self-wills and taken upon ourselves the Will of God the Father through the means of His unfailing Grace. His blood sacrifice has, once-and-for-all, cleansed us from our sins and paid the wages of sin for us and in our stead. We cannot lie about our Light and remain in darkness for the Light dispels the darkness. The Word is written in a Book that is found in the homes of almost every American. Have we studied that Book as much as we have studied our bank account?