By David Faust
Communication is a meeting of meanings—conveying information in order to gain a common understanding. That seems simple enough, but accurate communication can be very difficult. What will you get when you ask for a simple piece of bread? Crusty Italian? German pumpernickel? Irish soda bread? Ethiopian injerra? American whole wheat?
I heard about a woman who was considering buying an expensive bracelet so she texted her husband about it. He texted back: “No. Price too high.” But he left out a period so the message said, “No price too high.” Pleased, she bought the bracelet.
If it’s difficult for human beings to communicate with each other, how can we communicate with God? And how can he communicate with us?
God’s Message—Delivered in Person by His Son
John’s Gospel starts the same place Genesis starts: “In the beginning.” By creating the world God intended not only to display his power; he also wanted to communicate a message. “In the beginning was the Word” (John 1:1).
John uses the Greek logos three times in one verse, and he underscores the Word’s divine nature. The Word was not a created being, for at the beginning of all things he was already there. The Word was not merely “a god” (as Jehovah’s Witnesses insist), nor was he a mere man who demonstrated a divine idea; he “was with God, and the Word was God” (v. 1).
A few verses later John clarifies the identity of this mysterious personality: “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth” (v. 14). God has communicated “at many times and in many ways” (Hebrews 1:1)—through nature (Psalm 19:1-4) and through Scripture (2 Timothy 3:16, 17)—but in Jesus Christ “the Word became flesh.”
God’s Message took human form. God’s Communication came down to earth as a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. The Revealed Word grew up in a small town, walked on dusty roads, pounded nails in a carpenter shop, ate fish from the Sea of Galilee, and rubbed shoulders with tax collectors and sinners.
“No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known” (John 1:18). Jesus Christ not only shows that God exists; he shows what kind of God exists. God isn’t aloof, detached, and disinterested. He is the kind of God who will make himself nothing, assume the form of a servant, and humble himself to the extent of dying on a cross (Philippians 2:6-8). God is almighty and beyond full comprehension, but the incarnate Word reveals him as a down-to-earth God who understands human circumstances by personal experience. He is the God who hears our cries, feels our hurts, sympathizes with our stresses, and listens to our prayers.
God’s Message—Delivered in Person by Us
Jesus brought God’s message down to earth, and the message spreads through ordinary people who are willing to be vessels of grace and truth.
When Paul told Timothy to “Preach the word” (2 Timothy 4:2), he used logos, the same term employed by John. The preacher’s job is to lift up our down-to-earth Savior. “What we preach is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord” (2 Corinthians 4:5). What communication could ever be more important than that?
1. Do you think most contemporary preaching is centered on Christ?
2. How are you communicating the gospel in your own network of relationships?
David Faust is president of Cincinnati Christian University, Cincinnati, Ohio, and past Executive Editor of The Lookout.
The Lookout’s Bible Reading Plan for October 6, 2013
Use this guide to read through the Bible in 12 months. Follow David Faust’s comments on the highlighted text in every issue of The Lookout.
Jeremiah 1, 2
Jeremiah 3, 4
Jeremiah 5, 6
Jeremiah 10, 11
Jeremiah 12, 13