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Tomorrow’s sermon based on John1-18

December 29, 2012

Lost in Translation…

Sometimes we lose so much when the translators have to pick and choose words that do not capture the essence of the original language of a text. Nor do the words capture the images that the author intended. That is one of the problems going from one language to another, or even one point in history to the present; however we still seek the “truth” behind the text and try very hard to place it in the historical context after it has been translated. That is our job as “good readers of the scriptures.” We all have heard the gospel lesson assigned for today. I know that I have heard it more times than I can remember.

What is the essence of the Gospel’s prologue? Here we are in the middle of the Christmas season, and we have the Prologue of John’s gospel…where is the birth story? Like Matthew and Luke? Matthew and Luke’s gospels provide for us an extensive genealogy of Jesus lineage, but here in John not so much…or do we? Here in this gospel, the writer goes all the way back to creation…The λογος was in the beginning, so we sorta in a broad sense of genealogy, have it. Or at least what is most important for us that λογος κια θεος were of the same essence and are one, and active in the creation story.

In the 6th verse, we are introduced to John (Jesus’ cousin). John was from θεος but was not the λογος or the φωτος, but was teaching people about the φωτος.

Why did the author of the gospel mention John the Baptist? In the first century Roman world it was necessary to have a person or group of people talk about you, because if you did it yourself the words were thought to be empty. In other words the words would have no validity, even though Jesus spoke with authority, if Jesus spoke of himself in the way John did he would lose face.  So, John prepared the way. The passage continues to the reconciling power of the λογος, ο φωτος, Jesus brought into the world.

At the end of the middle of verse 10, we have more often than not heard, “That he [Jesus) came into the world and that the world would not recognize him, however the gospel writer uses the much broader term κοσμος which many of us relate to the universe, which the Roman and Temple authorities thought they were the center of. So the people in power did not know or recognize the φωτος.

So let’s stop here for a moment and ponder this…the people that were in control of the power structures could not recognize the φωτος…

Why…how could that be? Don’t we see this attitude a couple millennia later? Things do not change much do they? The Temple authorities wanted to be out from under Roman rule, but was content with the power they had until something better comes along. That is very sad. Isn’t it?

Those that embraced the φωτος, seemed to have nothing to lose except the life. These people in the eyes of the Roman and temple authorities were expendable.

εξονσιαν τεκνα θεον γενεσθαι.  The divine λογος, ο φωτος, ο θεος, Christ Jesus bestows the right to become children of θεος on each being in the κοσμος. A Child of the Creator…what images come to mind… Do we have the words to capture this idea? I don’t think I have the words to covey this concept…or maybe we do…that word is “GRACE.”

It is only through Grace that we are taken into the family of θεον. The author, in verse 13, says none of the earthly powers, through bloodlines, or worldly things or even husband (in one translation) can offer this Grace, only GOD.

Why did the author pick on husbands?

Only males provided status for the family. Women were there to provide healthy male heirs. Male heirs to take the father’s place and status.

και ο λογος σαρξ εγεντο

και εσκηνωσεν εν ημιν,

and the word flesh became

And tabernacled among us.

Which is a stronger image here in the book of signs “lived” or “tabernacled?”  Lived means that Jesus was here in this place, our island home.

What images does the word tabernacled draw in our minds eye?

The word εσκηνωσεν was used to draw upon the image of the tabernacle in the wilderness for the children of Israel were under the protection of God. Because as those of faith, those that followed Jesus, in the first century and the days since, Needs Jesus protection while in our own wilderness of our lives.

As we wonder, wander, and ponder these things through our own wilderness, we share glimpses of the φωτος that Jesus the Christ is the true λογος, the true φωτος with everyone in every place…and just maybe…just maybe the others we meet in the wilderness will give us glimpses of the φωτος of Christ Jesus when we need it, to refresh us on our faith walk in the wilderness of ζωη (life).


From → jimmyahornjr

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