Weekly Bible Reflection
Mark's Alternative Economy
Second Sunday before Lent
John 1. 1-14: "Isn't he like his father "
Note: There are alternative group studies that you may like to use instead of or in addition to this one (see Third Sunday of Advent, the Second Sunday after Christmas and Second Sunday of Epiphany in the index list)
Begin by using the Bible Study method as outlined
How do you feel when someone says you are just like your father, or your mother? How do you react to learning that some likeness, gift or weakness has passed down to you from previous generations? In what way do these sort of remarks help you to understand who you are?
A Window on the Text
This reading, and the four verses which follow describing Jesus at his baptism, is about identity: how, some 60 to 70 years or more after his death and resurrection, Jesus was seen by the gospel writer, and how Jesus came to see himself and his calling.
John comes to two conclusions, that:
- ‘the Word became human and lived on earth among us’ (v14), and
- ‘in the beginning the Word already existed’ (v1).
Paul had also come to that understanding and expressed it in the first chapter of his letter to the Colossians some thirty years earlier:
- ‘Christ is the image of the invisible God’ (v15), and
- ‘He existed before God made anything at all’ (v17).
The man, Jesus, is God. When we look at Jesus, we see God. To a Jew, brought up with the understanding that God could never be seen - that to see God meant certain death - this must have been staggering. It flew in the face of Jewish understanding that God could not be named, nor could any image of God be made.
Furthermore, Jesus existed before the world began, before this planet came into being, before the universe was created many billions of years ago. Jesus was at the heart of God and in the mind of the Creator.
Responding as a community
This is mind boggling, but is it beyond our experience or understanding?
Consider together the following questions noting the responses on a flip chart or large piece of paper:
- What are the characteristics of Jesus’ humanity?
- What were the things which Jesus was passionate about in his ministry?
Using a fresh sheet of paper, address the following questions:
- What are the characteristics of the universe, the way it looks and the way it functions?
- What are the governing features of life in its various forms, animal, vegetable and mineral?
Place the two lists side by side and compare them.
- Where do we see signs that Jesus is the image of the unseen God, or that he existed before God made anything?
- Are We?
- What does this say to the way in which we see this group as followers of Christ, and to the way in which our group relates together and lives out its life?
Say the Lord’s Prayer, pausing at ‘Hallowed be Your name’ to recall and hallow the various aspects of the nature of God and God’s creation which have been revealed in the earlier discussions.
Pause again at ‘Your kingdom come’ to recall and pray for the life of the group and its particular contribution to the ‘coming of the kingdom’.
Mark's Alternative Economy - Discussion