The Word of God is who?

Published 4:36 pm Friday, February 7, 2020

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By Nathan Decker

People were created to be loved. Things were created to be used.

The reason why the world is in chaos, is because things are being loved and people are being used.”

– John Green

When I was a kid, I watched Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner in the 1980s movie “The Jewel of the Nile.” Douglas portrays Jack, the adventurer, who goes to an African nation to steal the jewel from a dictator for a group of freedom fighters. Jack asks the guy who hired him, “Just how big is this jewel? How many carats?” The answer: “Bigger than a fist.” Bigger than a fist! Only later in the movie does Jack discover what we the audience already know, that the Jewel of the Nile is not a thing, but a person. The Jewel is the leader of a movement for freedom and salvation.

In our faith, we confuse the Word of God with a book. Too often we treat the Word as a thing, when the Word first and foremost is a person. When we treat the Bible as a manual for how to live life, when we use verses in the Bible as knives to stab at each other, when we loudly proclaim, “This is the Truth!” we turn God into a thing rather than a relationship. We take a field of beautiful alfalfa grass waving in the wind and we bail it into square or round bales to suit our own purposes. We box up God, package up Jesus, and we sell the Spirit as a bestseller.

Ironically, the Bible is very clear about WHO the Word is. The Word is God. The Word is Truth. Truth is a person. Word is a person. They both are Jesus. Jesus is the Logos, the Sophia, the Hodos, the Alethia, the Zoe. Some of those sounded like names, right? That’s because the early church understood better than we how relational faith is meant to be. Logos is the Word, the ancient Greek world understood this as the beginning of everything. Sophia is Wisdom, the Middle Eastern and Hebrew ancient world understood this as a female name for the same concept. Hodos is the Way, the path, the road. Alethia is the Truth. Zoe is the Life. Jesus said, “I am the Hodos, the Alethia and the Zoe.

Why is this so important? Why is this so fundamental to our faith? So we don’t weaponize our faith against other human beings. So we don’t become Pharisees who have false confidence that we are in and the rest are out. So we can be searching disciples instead of blind devotees. So we can have a relational faith instead of a cult of adherence.

Our relationship with Jesus transforms all of our relationships. The hardest part of my life is balancing my relationships. It’s not that we don’t love; it’s that we get so busy in life that we no longer see each other. Kobe Bryant and his daughter died a week ago. Social media has blown up with memes and comments about making sure you hug those you love because he was 41, she was 13 — and we don’t know when life ends. But this passion to show kindness and intimacy won’t last. In a week we’ll be back to our hectic pace. In a month most of us won’t remember the lesson.

But what if we encounter the Word made flesh … what if we encounter God who came down to relate to us … just maybe we might see people as people rather than opponents to be conquered or tools to be used. When the Word is made Flesh and Dwells among us, our values change. Our relationship with the kid who spilt milk in the kitchen is way more important than the stains on the floor. Our discomfort with how someone is dressed or how they behave or speak is of far less value than whether or not we made them feel welcomed and let them know they belong among us. When the Word dwells in our thoughts and in our actions, God’s love becomes the ultimate. After all, it’s what Jesus would do.

In the beginning was the Word,

and the Word was with God,

and the Word was God.”

– John 1:1