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Sunday, August 22, 2010

JOHN AND I

It had been several years since I had seen my friend John, the final time I heard from him he had been sent to prison on an island called Patmos.

We grew up together and were very close up until he became religious and started following this religious zealot. Every time I saw him after that he would start babbling about his new belief and that was the last thing I wanted to hear, so for me it was hello and goodbye almost in the same breath.

I didn’t know what happened to him it was almost like he was a whole different person. I had heard this zealot John had been following had been killed, people everywhere was talking about him making outrageous claims about him.

One would say this and another would say something else, but whatever it meant nothing to me. Sometime later I met John again and he invited over to where he was staying. For a few minutes we reminisced about our childhood and some of the old folks we knew. I then made the mistake of asking what he had been doing for the last several years. I knew I had made a mistake as soon as I said it for he lit into a long monologue about his religious experiences. Some of it was entertaining but pretty far fetched.

I had heard the story about this Jesus turning water into wine but didn’t believe it, but the way John told it, made it more believable. Anyway I told him, some folks say it wasn’t wine but only grape juice. He looked askance at me and gruffly said; I know the difference between grape juice and wine, I was there and I guess I ought to know.

He said he had written a book. I asked what kind of book he said; it was about his experiences and the teachings of Jesus.

I must say this perked up my attention for the conversation had become one sided and my focus had waned. I naively asked if I could see it, and he said it would be alright for it would be some time before we ate.

I began to read and after reading a few words I stopped. It didn’t make any sense to me.

In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God.

I wondered what in the world was he talking about. I sat there staring at those words and I was strangely moved by them, even though I didn’t have a clue as to what they meant.

Sometime later after we had supped, John asked me; what do you think? I had been hoping he wouldn’t ask me that. I timidly said; well it is interesting and you sure have a way with words. As he pressed me further I confessed, I didn’t have a clue as to what it meant, and he said; “I thought so, how far did you get?”

I told him, “About two sentences.” He laughed and said; “That’s about what I expected, would like me to tell you about it?”

I was trapped, what could I say. Putting on my best face I said; “Yes, I sure would,” thinking all the time how can I get out of here without offending my friend.

He began by explaining that everything that we are in contact with save GOD has had a beginning, and he quoted genesis 1:1 in the beginning GOD created…. And he said anything prior to the beginning, pertains to eternity. So the words “in the beginning the Word already existed,” means he belongs to eternity or is eternal in nature. Before there was anything, he existed in eternal form.

The next phrase explains He was with GOD and the Word as being GOD;

The same GOD who was the creator of all things; the one who created the beginning and the things following the beginning. “Whoa,” I said, “I have to think about this for that is deep.” He knew he had me and he wouldn’t let me off the hook as my eyes longingly looked at the door.

I was feeling tremendous pressure for some reason because to become religious was the last thing I wanted to do. With the Jewish leaders I pretended to be one of them, but this was something different and I didn’t think the same ploy would work here.

I decided to ask, “What is this Word stuff? It doesn’t make sense to me.”

John said,”I figured as much.” He then gave me a history lesson from the creation to Moses and then to Christ and how and why the sacrifices were made; and how the death of Christ was the last sacrifice to be made.

I felt like an idiot, I was hearing what he was saying but the meanings had escaped me.

Then he started talking about a word is a method of communication it paints word pictures of reality, of real things. It is then the responsibility of the hearer to relate it to a mental picture of what the words mean to you hoping that both see the same thing. The word cow to a Texan might cause him to envision a Hereford beef or a longhorn while to an East Indian it might conjure up the image of a Brahma bull with horns and hump. In other words it is important be on the same page.

The Word was made (embodied) flesh for sacrificial reasons but also for revealing GOD to people on a human level. When we pray to GOD and say; Lord you don’t know… GOD can say; “Been there and done that, for I suffered in the flesh.” He knows and understands our, sufferings, temptations, trials, needs and hardships. For all these things he has mercy and grace for those willing to receive it.

John then said; “When I walked with Jesus I was walking and talking with GOD; his thoughts, his words, his actions and his demeanor was GOD hindered only by the infirmity of the flesh, and the recipients of his message.

Then abruptly John excused himself and said he had things to do. I told him that I would like to continue this discussion. He replied I was welcome to come by and read more of his book at anytime for we had only partly discussed a few words.

He continued to say, “Come back again, and we will discuss my book further.”

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