The Story of Jesus
One of my favorite Christmas stories is A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. I love the story of Ebenezer Scrooge and how its journey into the past, present, and future.
The Gospel of John does something similar with the story of Jesus. John takes us further back into the past than any of the other Gospels. He even starts with the same words as the Bible itself: in the beginning.
And what does John tell us about the beginning? He tells us that Jesus was there...
In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God. He existed in the beginning with God. God created everything through him, and nothing was created except through him. The Word gave life to everything that was created, and his life brought light to everyone. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it. John 1:1-5
Why does John take us back...all the way back to the very beginning?
John takes us back to the beginning because that is where the story of Jesus begins. It begins when Jesus gave all people life...and when we lost that life through sin. It continues to the time when John was writing, when he witnessed Jesus living and dying to get rid of our sin and give us new life. And he wants us to know that the story is will not be completely finished until Jesus comes again.
Charles Dickens tells lots of little stories within A Christmas Carol. He tells us about a big party where Ebenezer danced as a young man. He tells about another party hosted by Ebenezer's nephew Fred. He tells us about a family without enough food to eat. He tells us about Tiny Tim, a little boy who couldn't walk. Each of these stories might be interesting on its own, but they are all there to tell one bigger story about Ebenezer Scrooge.
John wants us to remember that all the little stories he is going to tell in the pages of his Gospel are part of one much bigger story. The story of Jesus begins long before he was born in a stable, and it continues long after he went back to heaven. The story of Jesus is an eternal one.
Read John 1:1-5, Genesis 1:1-3, and Revelation 21:6. How do these passages begin, continue, and finish the big story of Jesus? How do descriptions of Jesus such as the Word, the Light, and the Beginning and the End fit into that story?
Make a short storybook with three pages. On the first page, write or draw things that have happened before Jesus was born on earth. On the second page, write or draw things that happened when Jesus was born and lived on earth. On the third page, write or draw things that have happened since Jesus went back to heaven. (If you like, you can make two or more pages for each section...to give you room to include more things.)
As you celebrate this week, take time to think about how Jesus left his home in heaven to come and live with us...to die for us...to give us life for the second time.