When former Chicago mayor Jane Byrne was concerned about violence in the city’s housing projects, she did a surprising thing: she moved into one of them. In 1981, she lived for twenty days in an apartment in Cabrini Green. While her action sparked controversy, her decision to live among the poorest citizens of Chicago also drew needed attention to a long-neglected neighborhood.
The Gospel of John begins by focusing on how God came to dwell among us. John takes us to the beginning—not just when Jesus was born on Earth but all the way back to the beginning of time. The Son of God did not begin to exist at His physical birth; He was present at the Creation: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (v. 1). John stakes a claim: Jesus is God Himself. Jesus coexisted with His Father from the beginning (v. 3).
God’s people had been looking forward to the arrival of the Messiah who would fulfill the promises made to Abraham and David (see Gen. 12:1–3; 2 Sam. 7:8–16). Now God had come to them directly in the person of His Son, Jesus. John the Baptist was sent ahead as a messenger to announce the arrival of the Messiah (v. 6).
Even though God was made flesh and dwelt among us, the “world did not recognize him” (v. 10). How could they have missed the One for whom they had been searching? What disappointment!
But this opening passage also holds great promise for those who receive Jesus, “to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God” (v. 12). The Gospel of John is about searching for and finding the Savior.
As we begin our study of John’s Gospel this month, ask God to reveal His Son to you in a fresh way. Pray for people you know who are searching for a Savior, that they will believe in the name of Jesus. And thank the Lord for His willingness to dwell among us so that we could have salvation and a relationship with God through Christ.