From Praying the Names of Jesus Week Eleven, Day Two
Though God has always revealed himself in some way, the incarnation is the clearest, most compelling revelation of who God is — of his holiness, love, and power. Because Jesus is one with the Father, he is uniquely able to communicate God's heart and mind. As Logos, or "the Word," everything about Jesus — his teaching, miracles, suffering, death, and resurrection — speaks to us of God. Our destiny depends on how well we listen. Will we believe, or will we turn a deaf ear to the message of God's love? When you pray to Jesus as the Word, you are praying to the One whose voice calls us from death to life and from darkness to light.
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:14
Praying the Name
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all people. John 1:1-4
Reflect On: John 1:1-4.
Praise God: For his all-powerful Word.
Offer Thanks: For Christ's words to you.
Confess: Any lack of faith in the Word of God.
Ask God: To increase your love of Scripture.
I have a friend who is so attracted to numbers that she thinks of them as having distinct personality traits. Take the number six, for instance. A compulsive talker, six, she informs me, always dominates the weakerminded seven, who does whatever six tells him to. The number eight, on the other hand, is hard to pin down. He's the creative, playful type, always chuckling over some private joke.
My friend's description of the antics, personalities, and various relationships among numbers is fascinating, especially to a math-challenged person like myself, who invariably prefers words to numbers. To me, words have always presented themselves in living color. For instance, I see the word "open" as white with a green tinge. "Can" is sea-green and "No" is a deep purple/blue. Clearly, both my friend and I are a little weird. But our different fascinations help explain why she grew up to become a statistician and I a writer. Much as I love words, I also know that human words, in addition to being beautiful, can also be deceptive, treacherous, and empty. We can talk a blue streak without saying a single thing. By contrast, God's Word is "living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart" (Hebrews 4:12). God's Word has the power not just to communicate his purpose but to accomplish whatever he intends. It never returns to him empty. When God speaks, things happen. Read the first page of Genesis if you doubt it:
And God said, "Let there be light," and there was light.
And God said, "Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place, and let dry ground appear." And it was so.
God said, "Let the land produce vegetation." And it was so.
The world was created by God speaking it into existence. Jesus, the Word of God, the second person of the Trinity, was thus present at the world's beginning. But the perfect world that God created was soon corrupted through sin. Jesus came to earth to recreate the world, restoring it to God's original purpose. Miracles happened when he spoke. Storms ceased, the lame walked, people were delivered from demons, and the dead were raised. These were signs that a world deformed by sin was being reshaped by God's all-powerful Word. Listen to the record of the Gospels:
Jesus said to the waves, "Quiet! Be still!" Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.
Jesus said to the paralytic, "Get up, take your mat and go home." And the man got up and went home.
Jesus rebuked the evil spirit. "You deaf and mute spirit," he said, "I command you, come out of him and never enter him again." The spirit shrieked, convulsed him violently and came out.
Jesus called in a loud voice, "Lazarus, come out!" The dead man came out.
Jesus is still speaking, still reshaping the world, one person at a time. As his followers, we need to study and pray over his words. We need to listen carefully and expectantly for his voice. Try spending ten to fifteen minutes today meditating on John 1:1-4 and Genesis 1:1-5. May God's Spirit nourish your mind and heart as you listen for the voice of the Lord.
Two of Ann Spangler's most-loved books have been released in paperback: Praying the Names of God and Praying the Names of Jesus.
These books help us understand the biblical context in which these names and titles were revealed, and help us gain a more intimate knowledge of the Father and of the Son.