April 29, 2014

God in the Neighborhood

John 1:1-14

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.
—John 1:14


In The Message, a paraphrase of the Bible, Eugene Peterson articulates John 1:14 this way: “The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood.”

It’s unthinkable, really. What reigning king, with access to all the riches and privileges of his position, would willingly move into slums? The apostle Paul says Jesus “made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant” (Philippians 2:7). God the Son, who with the Father and Spirit created our universe, set aside the splendor of his heavenly position and moved into our neighborhood.

One of the most important questions to answer as a believer pursuing faith is, What is my picture of God? For some, God is a distant figure with little to no interaction in our world. For others, God is like a giant Santa Claus in the sky who blesses all who show good behavior. But that’s not what the Bible teaches.

The Bible teaches that God got his hands and feet dirty with our soil. God came to be with us, close enough to touch, close enough for us to hold him in our arms. He became one of us. And the Son of God eventually stretched his arms out on a cross, for our forgiveness, peace, and joy. And by his Spirit, he’s still in our neighborhood. Thanks be to God!

Thank you, gracious Lord, for taking on our flesh and blood. You know us. Remind us that you are still in our neighbor-hood, and help us to live our lives for you. Through Jesus Christ we pray. Amen.

About the author — Ruth Boven

Ruth Boven serves as minister of congregational life at LaGrave Ave. CRC in Grand Rapids, Michigan. She and her husband, Greg, have two adult children. They find rich purpose in urban ministry and delight in enjoying the wonders of God's good creation.

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