The NEW TESTAMENT has arrived!! Today we continue in our journey of reading God's story of his dealings with mankind. His Son, Jesus Christ, is about to arrive on the scene. But like the Old Testament, the New Testament starts in very much the same manner. Three little words that say more than you might think. "In the beginning..."
These are probably near the top of the list as being some of the most recognized words in all of scripture. Even those who are not believers associate them with scripture. As the first three words of the Old Testament they launch us onto the cosmic stage of God creating everything from nothing. He creates all that we see and know to exist; the sun, moon, stars, light, planets, animals, water, air, soil, and humans. But when we read the Bible in Chronological order (as we have been doing this year) the New Testament starts with the very same words, ; "In the beginning..." And as we will see, these same three words launch us onto the same cosmic stage but in a very new and profound way.
Wednesday nights here at Central Assembly have been such a wonderful time of learning and experiencing God's word. I have had the privilege of teaching a class through the Gospel of John. We have been spending the last 6 weeks laying a groundwork and foundation for what John was doing when he wrote this gospel. We've unpacked the key thoughts and ideas, the key themes and key words that we should be looking for and have an understanding of before we even start reading it.
But this week...only two days ago... We dove into chapter 1 verse 1 and it was quite a ride. I am thrilled that not only do we start the New Testament today in our daily reading, but this week we started on this very passage in my class, AND it also happens to be Friday, the day that I have been blogging this year.
When John uses the words, "In the beginning.." he is intentionally pointing the reader back to Genesis. It is not a coincidence. He is making sure that we know that Jesus Christ, The Word, was not only just a man or a prophet, or a good teacher, but that in fact he was with God in the beginning and that he is God and that ALL things were created by him, through him and for him.
But today as we jump into the New Testament to finish out our year of reading through the Bible I want you share with you something else that I learned in preparing for my class on John's gospel this year. It is something that simply made me stop in my tracks and I had to stop reading and ponder the awesomeness of our God in absolute awe and wonder.
I was reading a book by Leonard Sweet that has been on my reading list for some time, The Jesus Manifesto, but I had not had a chance to get to it until late this spring. I only got 5 pages into it when he dropped this bombshell in my lap.
If we explore all the days of creation that follow the words "In the beginning..." in the Old Testament in light of the New Testament, we discover that everything in the visible creation is an image of Jesus.
DAY 1 - God created light (Christ is light. - John 8:12)
DAY 3 - God Created Land. It emerged on the third day from below. God created plants and all vegetation. (Christ is the life that emerged on the third day after the waters below were separated from the waters above. Death means separation. - Genesis 1:9-13, 1 Corinthians 15:4. Christ is also the true vine, wheat, and the bread of life. - John 15:1, John 6:57, John 12:24, John 6:35)
DAY 5 - God created the fish and the birds ( Christ is represented as many animals as you will see an example listed under the next day. A couple of them include a lion and a lamb)
DAY 7 - God rested, The Sabbath (Christ is the real sabbath. - Colossians 2:16-17)
Christ, as the agent of creation, not only created it all but he himself is the full representation of it all. It is why we can see his fingerprints on everything. Take some time this weekend as we dive into the New Testament and into the gospels telling the story of our savior and Lord, and look around the world we are surrounded by. Take some time to just stop and be still before the creator of all things and allow yourself to be astounded once again at the lengths that our God went so that we could be in right relationship with him.
Take some time to just BE with God this weekend and as you simple quiet yourself and look around your world take a couple of moments to read through Philippians 2:5-11 and consider what God has done for us in coming to earth as a man to die for our sins. The creator of all life, came and gave up his, so that he could give us life to the full and life eternal.