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The high-flying perspective Prologue and beginnings, John 1.1–51

‘Let’s start at the very beginning – a very good place to start.’

                                                                       (‘Do-Re-Mi’ from The Sound of Music)

Ancient ‘lives’ often began not with the subject’s birth, but with his appearance on the public stage. Mark starts simply with Jesus’ baptism; Matthew suggests that Jesus’ public significance begins with his birth and the visit of Gentile wise men to worship him. Luke begins even earlier with the miraculous conception and birth of John the Baptist to prepare the way for Jesus. John, however, takes a quantum leap back in time. It is not enough to explain Jesus in human origins of time or place or ancestry, since he exists from before all time: in the beginning he was with God, and he is God (1.1). The ancient biographer Dicaearchus wrote a ‘Life of Greece’: John’s story of Jesus is nothing less than a Life of the Cosmos! While the word cosmos appears a few times in the other gospels, John uses it nearly eighty times. His portrait of Jesus is painted on a cosmic scale…

Publisher: SPCK - view more
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