Advent 16 - In the Beginning

DAY 16 - In the Beginning
Psalm 90:10-12

“Have you got any proof?”

Many times we are asked to provide proof. Whenever you exit and reenter the country, you have to provide proof of citizenship. If you buy alcohol at the store, you have to provide proof you’re 21. If you get pulled over for speeding, you have to provide proof of insurance. Prosecutors must provide proof to convict someone of a crime. Many of us ought to ask, “What’s the proof?” to some of the silly things we read online!

We have to give proof about a lot of things. Christians say that God is love and that God loves us. What’s the proof? How do we know that God loves us?

This week we focus on God’s gift of love - that is, God’s love for us. This week we look at the Gospel of John’s introduction to Jesus.

No Gospel introduces Jesus like John. Matthew starts with Jesus’s family tree before talking briefly about his birth. Mark starts with John the Baptizer. Luke starts with angels, shepherds, Mary, and Joseph. John zooms out - way out. Jesus’ story doesn’t begin in Bethlehem. Not really. Jesus’ story starts “in the beginning” - THE beginning! John clearly echoes the opening line of Genesis.

John packs a lot into this introduction but four things stand out. First, he says the universe has a beginning. The Big Bang, the explosion of energy that started the universe, is widely agreed on as fact. It didn’t use to be. It was actually resisted for a long time by atheists because “it looked far too much like creation” (cf. Questions of Truth, 41, by John Polkinghorne and Nicholas Beale). Science, philosophy, and theology all agree that the universe had a beginning.

We’ll look at John’s other three points tomorrow, but this first point alone is sobering. We are not accidents that randomly exist. We have a beginning and we have an end. It’s not morbid to think about the limits of our life. It’s good and healthy, especially in Advent. Psalm 90 teaches us that there is wisdom in “numbering our days.” Life begins and life will end.

Think about the fact that life has a beginning and an end. What thoughts and feelings does that stir up?

God of grace, your eternal Word took flesh among us when Mary placed her life at the service of your will. Prepare our hearts for his coming again; keep us steadfast in hope and faithful in service, that we may receive the coming of his kingdom, for the sake of Jesus Christ the ruler of all, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. AMEN.
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