Thursday, August 13, 2009

The meanings of words

I've been reflecting on John 1 for Sunday. I came across this great quote by Eugene Peterson:

'Jesus is the dictionary in which we look up the meaning of words.'
(Christ Plays in Ten Thousand Places, p103)

I am thinking about how we are formed by the Word, spoken into existence, transformed from one degree of glory into another by God's creative, powerful Word.

John tells us that this Word became flesh in Jesus of Nazareth, a man who chats with us, sits and eats and drinks at our tables, tells stories, dances at weddings, laughs and cries - and always defines what it is to be human. More than that, the Word became flesh so that we might join the conversation he wants to have with us and be transformed.

So Peterson reminds us that 'Jesus is the dictionary in which we look up the meaning of words. When we look up the glory in Jesus we find - are we ready for this? - obscurity, rejection and humiliation, incomprehension and misapprehension, a sacrificial life and an obedient death: the bright presence of God backlighting what the world despises or ignores.'

It is, of course, what Jesus himself says in john 12: 20-26 (especially 23b-24) when Greeks want to make him a tourist attraction - a perenial temptation the church faces in every generation! It's a powerful reminder of the upside down values of Jesus' kingship and power.

1 comment:

jim Gordon said...

When Peterson gets it right, he is hard to improve. "Jesus as the dictionary....." I still think though, that his earlier work has a depth and considerednes about them, an underivative freshness. Reversed Thunder, his sermons on the Apocalypse, is the best thing he has written I think.