In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God… What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.
John 1: 1, 3b-5
I have been blessed to be involved with interfaith dialogue that has led to some wonderful friendships with members of a Turkish-Muslim community. Recently they sponsored a seminar where a scholar presented an Islamic understanding of Jesus. Jesus is one of the elite prophets in Islam. “Who is Jesus?” they ask. “He is born of the Virgin Mary, he is the bringer of peace, he is faithful to God, he is a miracle worker, he is an intercessor.” One of the things that has become clear in these interfaith conversations is that they love Jesus and we love Jesus as well. We can build on that as we talk about our faith.
Advent and Christmas is our time of year when we finding ourselves asking that same basic question: “Who is Jesus?” John provides us with one of the defining answers for us as Christians. It is the answer that defines us apart from Jews, Muslims and people of other faith. Jesus is “the Word” or should I say, “THE Word”. God in the flesh. In Christ, the living God comes to live among us… revealing the nature of God, correcting and clarifying our understandings and misunderstandings of God. John teaches us that if Jesus is the Word, then this is good news for the whole world. Even for people of other faith traditions or no faith tradition. For the God we follow in Jesus is one who is full of grace and truth. The God we know in Jesus is the one who brings life and is the light of all people. In Jesus, the living God shines light into a dark world. “Who is Jesus?”
A prayer for this day:
Loving God, in all of our relationships may we be people of faith who see our role as testifying to that life and light. As John the Baptist was sent to testify to the light, so we are called to do the same. May You bless all of those who have the privilege of sharing this good news of the life and light given to a world You dearly love. Amen.
Rev. Dr. Jody Welker (D. Min., 1982)
Kirk of Kildaire Presbyterian Church