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Choosing the Right Word

Key References: John 1:1-5; The Desire of Ages, chap. 29, p. 281; Patriarchs and Prophets, chap. 2, pp. 44-51; TThe Bible Story (1994), vol. 1, pp. 73-77; vol. 7, pp. 23-26; Our Beliefs nos. 4, 6. 1

Power Text

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” “In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind” (John 1:1, 4).

Power Point

The light of Jesus’ love inspires our service.

Have you ever been in a totally dark place, perhaps deep in a cave or in a dark room? Is that someplace you’d want to spend a lot of time? How can your life of service shine brightly to the people around you?

John sat at his simple wooden desk, a clean piece of parchment on the crude surface before him. The eastern sky was beginning to lighten. In just a few minutes he would no longer need the lamp that flickered bravely beside him.

At his age he didn’t always sleep well anymore, so he was often up before the sun. He liked this time of day best, the time when the first rays of morning chased the night across the sky. He reveled in the promise of life that began each new day. In his younger days it had meant the end of work for the day, for fishing on the Sea of Galilee was best done at night. But then he had met Jesus, and his life had changed, as dramatically as daylight scatters the dark shadows of the night.

John dipped his reed into the ink and held it poised over the parchment. He had been thinking about this for a long time. The others who had known Jesus personally were all gone now; John was the only one left. If he didn’t write down what he had personally seen and heard and felt, it might soon be lost forever. It was important that he choose exactly the right words to express what he meant. After all, the people for whom he was writing had never met Jesus, had never walked with Him and talked with Him as John had. How could he make them understand exactly who Jesus was and why He had come to live as a humble servant to save humanity?

Where would he start? John dipped the reed into the ink again and started to write across the parchment. “In the beginning”. . . well, God had been there in the person of Jesus, who had made everything with His word. His word was so powerful that all He had to do was speak and it came into being.

John set down his reed pen and stroked his long white beard. Yes, Jesus had created the world and all the life in it with just the power of His voice. The words he, John, had heard Jesus speak were words of life and love. In fact, He had said He had come to reveal His Father, to make His Father known to the world. It was through His life of selfsacrificial service that Jesus revealed the Father to fallen humanity.

That was it! His words were a message of love and of life. God was love from the beginning, and Jesus came to earth to deliver that message through His life of disinterested service. It was that same love that formed the world, that gave life to the world, and that was born into the world to die in our place so that He may give back to us the life that Satan had taken away.

That message was light. It was as fresh and glorious as the sun peering over the horizon every morning. It was as delightful and hopeful as each new plant pushing its way up from the dark soil into the warm light above. That light brought life.

No wonder I was so eager to leave fishing at night to follow Jesus, mused John. It was trading a life in darkness for a life of joyful service in the light of Jesus’ presence.

The thoughts were clearer now. Once more John dipped the reed pen and looked at what he had already written. “In the beginning” . . . of course! “was the Word.” The Word that created life, became incarnate in Jesus, and was manifested through His life of self-sacrificial service. “And the Word was with God, and the Word was God,” John continued to write, more quickly now. “He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind” (John 1:1-4).

The thoughts were coming faster than the reed could keep up. Someone listening would have heard the sound of scratching across the parchment interrupted only by brief pauses to dip for ink. And one quick breath to blow out the lamp that was no longer needed, for by now the light had come.