"Psalm 23," John August Swanson. Used by permission from the artist.
Image © by John August Swanson. Artwork held in the Luther Seminary Fine Arts Collection, St. Paul, Minn.
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Word Made Flesh
Birth of Jesus
John 1:1-18 Commentary
by Karl Kuhn
Each of the gospels begins with an account of Jesus’ origins. Mark introduces Jesus to us as an adult, telling us that Jesus was “a man from Nazareth” whose advent fulfills the arrival of God’s salvation as foretold by the prophet Isaiah.
Matthew and Luke’s narratives begin earlier still, rooting Jesus’ very conception and birth in the prophecies of old and God’s will to deliver humanity.
John, however, pushes his account of Jesus, the Word, back to the beginning of time itself. Before anything else had been created, he was. In fact, using language that adopts yet stretches Philo’s imaginative ruminations, Jesus, as the divine Logos, was not only with God in the beginning, but was God. To further stress the centrality of Jesus in God’s identity and purpose, John’s prologue also claims that creation itself originated through his life-giving agency: apart from the Word, “not one thing came into being” (verse 3).
It would be difficult to overstate the importance of this text in shaping Christian conceptions of Jesus’ divinity, the incarnation, and the Trinity. Indeed, one of John’s concerns here is to emphasize Jesus’ unmatched transcendence and authority as ...
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Summer 2020 Readings
2020-21 Readings (Year 3)
The narrative lectionary is a four-year cycle of readings. Read more.
Narrative Lectionary 106: Word Made Flesh
December 22, 2013
Join Profs. Rolf Jacobson, Craig Koester, and Kathryn Schifferdecker for "I Love to Tell the Story," a conversation on Year 4 of the narrative lectionary. This podcast covers texts for Dec. 22, 2013: John 1:1-18 (Psalm 130:5-8).