WordOfGod - rpritts
The "Word of God" - a curbside view.
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A curbside preacher stands raising his book high above his head for all to see, boldly proclaiming to the passerby’s "Hear ye words from the Word of God".
I'm curious as to how you would react toward this preacher? What would you think that he meant by "Word of God"?
It is a constant amazement to me to hear others express how casually they view the Bible, yet, how very little that they know about its' content and overall context. Their opinion is based upon bits and pieces they've gathered from miscellaneous outside sources, something they might have read in a hotel room, perhaps impressions they collected from a pushy Christian friend. So I fear that a great many base their souls very future on a hodgepodge of misinformation and uneasy feelings.
What if I were tell you though that this curbside preacher came from a time before the New Testament had been collected together, a time before the printing press, when copies of the Old Testament scrolls were a meticulous painstaking hand written process and that very few individuals ever got to see a set of scrolls let alone own one.
Would you stop to listen then?
You'd say "what about the book in the preachers hand"? And I said "Notes that he had taken during his discipleship nearly three years". Would you stop to listen then?
The word "Word" can have more then one meaning as in "I give you my word", a promise. If you were to think of the preachers' "Word" as book filled with stories and proverbs and lists of does and don'ts you probably would just keep walking away; maybe even add a slight sneer or grunt as you passed the old man by.
But, if you perceived that the worn and spent voice of this Apostle expressed something much different, that the man actually had some type of personal experience that he was seeking to relate to you; you might just stop, at least for a moment.
If you were to ask this evangelist what he thought about the New Testament friend he would say:
"The new what?"
John's own "Word"
(I borrow from the Apostle John's own writings:)
Simply put, before there was ever a Bible or even a world there was the "Word". The "Word" appears here to be a person of the godhead. The meaning of the word "Word" here is a title.
Therefore, You would probably notice John's eyes light up much more than if he were talking about a book of historical data, a collection of words that could be picked apart, diagnosed, interpreted, disputed. No this Word is something much more tangible.
(Again he would write:)
John's use of the word "Word" is a name, a very particular name whom in the coming final judgment of this world will have performed a tremendously sacrificial act.
The preacher claims to have to have met the person who holds the name and title "Word". He describes beholding His glory as full of grace and truth. Imagine it, a person you can tell that John visibly loved so dearly, a person as flesh and blood real as you and me. Some might think John a fool, John would think them a fool for trying to tell him any different.
The "Word" according to this Apostle John is none other than Jesus Christ.
If you should doubt John's love for the "Word" Jesus Christ, let me remind you that John out lived his fellow disciples; he knew how each of them had been martyred for their testimony.
If you should doubt John's love for the "Word" Jesus Christ, let me remind you that legend has it the John was boiled alive in oil for the "Word", later exiled to a remote Island to live out the remainder of his years.
Not once did John change his story...nor his devotion to the "Word".
Your own "Word"
Now a great many of you know of Jesus, a great many of you here today say that you believe he once existed, some even believe that He was sent by God. Hardly anyone that I can find has a bad thing to say about Jesus, even other religions. It is the book or the followers of the book most of you have problems with. Am I right?
So now you have gone about to find your own "Word"...a "Word" that you were more comfortable living with.
In John's day, the didn't have a book per se so there weren't really followers of a book. There were some followers of course that converted from a Jewish background with Old Testament knowledge, however, most followers were either original followers of the person of Jesus else followers of the original disciples Jesus himself had chosen.
Wouldn't we all be more comfortable with that?
Well the early followers were persecuted tremendously for their beliefs, even martyred. The further we progressed from the times of the Apostles the further a more compromising gospel was put fourth by followers to protect themselves from persecution. This is only natural; none of us would be comfortable with that.
Extremist views where also creeping in. Seems that everyone then had their own "Word". The leadership eventually determined itself to write the gospel teachings down into a New Testament to protect the true Gospel from the gospels of compromise.
The followers of Christ Jesus have been divided ever since. Now no one especially the Apostle John would be comfortable with that. (I go back to John because I have the suspicion that if you are not comfortable with a follower like John your not going to comfortable following the "Word" Jesus Christ himself.)
The Curbside Preaching
The preacher continues:
No one in that day comprehended what Jesus was about to do, not even His own disciples, they all ran and hid from sight. No one today comprehends fully what His crucifixion means.
To say that Jesus didn't have to die for our sins, to say that our individual sins are not worthy of death, is to say that we do not know Christ - We simply do not comprehend. To look forward into the light and not see back at the shadows connected behind us is to not see the the initial purpose of the light at all.
John knew this fact. He had spent three years at Jesus's side. He had even laid his head upon the breast of Jesus. And yet, despite such a dear love, dearest perhaps of all the disciples, John had yet to understand the nature of his own sin.
The power to contain ourselves within our small little realm of comfort?
The power to read into it whatever we wanted to read into it and rebuke those that would try to tell us anything otherwise?
No, each of us has made this what we wanted to make out of it. And while there are plenty of words and excuses, there is only one "Word" the person Jesus Christ. He is not anything other than what He is, no matter how much we try to believe that He is not.
He is so much more than what the Bible words can describe, but, the Bible words are the best place to start; the best place to come back to keep His image in focus.
So you want to learn the Bible? Learn Jesus!
You want to live in His light? Live Jesus!
John had out lived most all of the spiritual brothers in Christ he had fought alongside with in the early trenches, the dearest of them martyred. He lived long enough to see the horrible predicted destruction of the Jews' Jerusalem, to see many of his more recent converts burned like candles on the stakes lighting the evening skies outside villages friendly to Christians.
The Word of God meant more to him than the futile debates we intellectuals nowadays engage in over semantics and boastful interpretations.
John was the first disciples to reach the open tomb of Jesus in a full out sprint that morning. Between he and his friend Peter, Peter was the only one of the two brave enough to step into the vacated sepulcher. You can hear the preachers rusty voice tremble to this day as he recounts his experience. "Peter was crucified upside down for his testimony you know".
Any other preacher and you might have left the curbside hours ago, but, the dear old man is so endearing. You follow him to the house where his gracious hosts have prepared his meal.
The preacher reads a scribbled jot from his notebook:
kjv@John:1:10-11 @ He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. @ He came unto his own, and his own received him not.
Not bad John. Why don't you publish that?
Some sixty years later John did publish that in a letter. Two more letters and a book of revelations would quickly follow. Most importantly, John would publish his loving descriptions of his time on earth with Jesus in a engaging gospel, just as endearing as he would have recounted curbside. A treasure to all that read it. Johns' completed works smuggled out from his place of exile brought by acquaintances to the church.
So why the written Bible? an on looker asks.
You are the preacher now. You tell them.
John, the last of the Apostles finally died. We suppose it was of natural causes, but, then just how natural is suffering endured for the Gospel of Christ? It surely all added up.
The church was being infiltrated and taken over by every false teaching and questionable epistle any Tom Dick and Harry could muster up. Something had to be done to protect the solid teachings of those like John whom knew Jesus best for future generations.
The Bible would be withheld from the masses for many centuries by it's own church. A great many faithful men and women would have to die to deliver it freely into the hands of the general public.
The Bible is, page by page and cover to cover, an accurate detailed description of God's Word - Jesus Christ;
- His step by step preparation for His very own incarnation/sacrifice/resurrection here on earth
- detailed accounts of His earthly ministry
- eye witness testimony of His trial/death/resurrection
- descriptions of the avalanche of early church followers His gospel won over
- the final judgment He promises to complete shortly in the future.
Not only does it tell of what he was going to do, but what it meant to man when he finally did it. Not only does it tell why He had to do it, but for whom He did it for and at what cost.
So while the passerby will pass on by casting fate to the rumbling and murmurings and discontent of others, making the Word of God to be some straw man argument in a grand intellectual debate, people like John will continue to tell us with a tearful glow of the day they met Jesus the Word of God. Alongside with them we will proudly proclaim Him our LORD Jesus Christ.
A final question I will ask: Another preacher will take your place on that curbside one day. Will they have learned from you the essential Word of God?
Then let's get to it!
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