Now that we come to the second set of readings for this third week of Advent, we find that we’ve left only one verse of the John’s prologue untouched, and we’ve got a full week left before Christmas. The readings get shorter and end with a flourish, but try not to peek ahead to the missing verse. This time up we’ve got John 1:11&13 plus selections from two chapters in Isaiah. Our texts from John speak of the relationship of the Word to the world around him. The world is his creation, and its people are his own… and yet not his own.
John 1:11, JBP
He came into his own creation,
and his own people would not accept him.
Isaiah 52:1-3, 6-10 (Awake, Zion!)
John 1:13, NEB
…not born of any human stock,
or by the fleshly desire of a human father,
but the offspring of God himself.
Isaiah 61:1-4, 8-10 (The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord)
Verse 13 as I’ve set it up here appears to be speaking of the Word — and what it states is true of the Word born of Mary, but John is actually speaking of someone else… a blank that we’ll fill in on Monday. Verse 14 as we recall speaks of how the Word became flesh and dwelt among us his people, and because of the way we are structuring the passage for this study, we read verse 13 with verse 14 still echoing in our minds. The Word was born into the world, but in a very different sort of way.
I love the series of texts in Isaiah which frame the “suffering servant” passages. As we look through them, we find a progression (chapter 52) calling Zion to awake for they are about to be delivered: God is about to reveal his name and his people will know its power. Good news is beautiful, and (on to chapter 61) The spirit of the Lord commands a message of good news to the poor: comfort and freedom, for the Lord loves justice. For some reason, whenever I read Isaiah 61, I hear Andy Park‘s voice.
Is this not one of the best messages of hope for the coming of the Messiah?