All of the painting show a very different man. So it must be asked, Which is the real Winston? The answer, of course, is that they are all the real Winston. They are all one particular aspect of who he was. None of those paintings is trying to tell us everything about him in one giant brushstroke.
It’s the same idea when we come to the Gospels. We have 4 people trying to give us a picture, their perspective, of who Jesus was. We might be more comfortable this if there were only Matthew, Mark and Luke, all of whom sorta, kinda, sound the same, give basically the same picture, maybe just painted with different color pallets. But John throws us for a loop. John is the oddball, the Picasso of the Gospel writers, if you will. His picture is a bit different than the others but it is still accurate and still a representation of who Christ was.
John has no parables. No exorcisms. He uses the terms signs and wonders instead of miracles. It’s from John that we know Jesus’ ministry was 3 years since he is the one that mentions 3 Passover meals. And it’s his view of Christ’s eschatology that stands bright and hopeful. The idea that we could know eternal life, the life of the age to come, right now, right here. This is the message of John.
And it is begins with what some consider the most important and groundbreaking verse in the Bible. Sure, some are fans of 3:16 and that indeed is a great and mighty statement but it seems to all begin in 1:14.
“And the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us.”
The awesomeness of a statement that tells us the God of the entire universe deemed it worth coming to Earth and becoming like his creation. Not just in form or in the likeness of us but becoming the very nature of who we are. The humility it must have taken to live and work and toil and dwell, literally dwell, among his people. To grow up among us.
Luke tells us that Jesus grew up. I know that we often confess that and will answer in the affirmative if asked if he did but I wonder how many of us actually believe it. I wonder if we understand that the God of the universe had to be taught carpentry. That he had to learn how to read and write, to play games and instruments. That he got pimples. Is Christ’s life, not just his teachings, applicable to us?
Do we appreciate that God thought it worth growing? Do we think ourselves above the same?