More than just a word…

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John 12: 48 (Jesus said) The one who rejects me and does not receive my word has a judge; on the last day the word that I have spoken will serve as judge, 49 for I have not spoken on my own, but the Father who sent me has himself given me a commandment about what to say and what to speak.

Jesus had been performing incredible miracles for the crowds, most notably raising a man named Lazarus from the dead. Yet there were many who didn’t receive Jesus’ teachings, despite the miracles he performed. So Jesus speaks here of judgment to come. This is where it gets a little confusing.

V.48 uses the same English word to translate two very different Greek words. First there is “The one who rejects me and does not receive my word has a judge…”. The Greek word here “rhemata” refers to a message or teaching. Then there is, “On the last day the Word I have spoken will serve as a judge…”. This is a different Greek word “logos”, which is understood as form of God. John 1:1 referring to creation in Genesis says,

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”

God spoke the Word over the chaos, from which the heavens and the earth came into being. In this sense the Word is an extension of God. The Word creates, generates, gives life. It’s this Word that is spoken over water at the time of baptism, through which people are claimed as sons and daughters of God and are given new life. It’s this Word that is spoken over bread and wine to become, by faith, the body and blood of Christ. It is this Word that is released when the scriptures are read aloud. It’s an extension of what the prophet Isaiah speaks of in Isaiah 55:11,

“The Word goes forth and does not return empty, but accomplishes that for which it was sent.”

A key reason I read scripture in the mornings is to give the living Word a chance to do a work in me each day. I hope that’s why you join me in this space. When we meet here we’re not just reading a few sentences. We are making ourselves available to be touched, formed, even transformed by the living Word of God. Lord, let it be so. Amen.

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