December 04, 2022

The Muted Word

John 1:1-4, 14

God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.

—  Genesis 1:3

In the Bible the human story begins with a man, and then a woman. The human story of Jesus begins with a woman, Mary. And then Jesus himself begins, as a baby.

It’s wonderful to picture baby Jesus all wrapped up and in Mary’s arms. But think about this. Jesus is the eternal Word, the Word through whom every­thing was made, the Word that said, “Let there be . . . ” But now the Word is a human being, a newborn baby. Do we realize what this means? It means the Word can’t speak anymore.

Like any newborn, baby Jesus doesn’t know language yet. He will need to listen first—especially to his mother, and also to his father. Slowly he will discover that words have meaning. Eventually he’ll start to speak for himself. He’ll know only a few words at first: “Immah” (mother) and “Abba” (father). And then a flood of words will come, and it won’t stop. Like most mothers, Mary will sometimes wish Jesus had never started talking!

Imagine. The Word that spoke in the beginning loses its voice. It has to go back to the beginning that we experience as ­humans. And it has to learn the same way we did, one word at a time.

Language is a wonderful gift. And Jesus shares it with us.

Jesus, to whom should we turn, but to you? “You have the words of eternal life” (John 6:68). You are the Word, who is life. Amen.

About the author — Bob Arbogast

Bob Arbogast is the pastor of Celebration Fellowship church in Ionia, Michigan. In his spare time, he plays guitar in a West Michigan blues band. He and his wife Jan have been married forty years and have three adult daughters. Bob has been praying the psalms since 2002.

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