Bill Mounce

For an Informed Love of God

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Exegetical Insight (Chapter 10)

A casual first-century reader of the Fourth Gospel’s prologue (John 1:1-18) would have little difficulty understanding John’s description of the lovgoV. As a concept it was simple enough. LovgoV was the intelligible law of things. oJ lovgoV tou: qeou: was God’s transcendent rationality that gave the universe order and purpose. A Hellenized Jew would quickly reach for a volume of wisdom literature explaining that God’s wisdom, his word (or lovgoV), provided the universe with its form and coherence. As such, oJ lovgoV tou: qeou: was foreign to human ways, above us and distant from us, guiding us from afar.

John 1:14, on the other hand, would make any such reader pause in stunned silence. “And the word became flesh (savrx) and dwelt among us.” Savrx is the earthly sphere, the arena of human decisions and emotions, human history, and human sinfulness (cf. John 1:13; 3:6; 17:2, etc.). John 1:14 contains the risk, the scandal, and the gospel of the Christian faith: oJ lovgoV became savrx. The center of God’s life and thought entered the depths of our world and took up its form, its savrx, its flesh, in order to be known by us and to save us.

This affirmation about lovgoV and savrx is the very heart of our faith. God has not abandoned us. No lowliness, no misery, no sinfulness is beyond God’s comprehension and reach. He came among us, embraced our world of savrx in his incarnation, and loved us. It is easy enough to say that God loves the world (John 3:16). But to say that God loves me, in my frailty and my faithlessness that he loves savrx this is another matter. This is the mystery and the power of what God has done for us in Jesus Christ.