THE UNIVERSAL AND THE PARTICULAR

Nathanael said to Him, “How do you know me?”  John 1:48

If I were forced choose but one chapter of the Bible while dispensing with the rest (a bit like choosing only one of my children or grandchildren) I would have to choose John chapter 1.

It has everything.

John begins with the widest scope of universals.

First, he tells us of the personal creative Mind at the back of everything. This Person, who happens also to be God, he calls the Logos. Then he tells us that the same Person appeared on this planet as a sacrificial lamb Who came to take away the sin of the world. He narrows it down even further when that exalted Logos/Lamb meets a doubtful young man recently sheltering under a fig tree.

The man’s name was Nathanael.

Scripture assigns the title Logo to Jesus as an apt title for who He is and what He does.

Logos is the Greek term for “word.”

The difference between “word” and “sound” is that “word” carries a freight of meaning.

The Logos made everything and the Logos is the explanation for everything.

The Logos is meaning personified.

I have a favorite litany I like to recite:

If there is no God, there is no Creator.

If there is no Creator, there is no Designer.

If there is no Designer, there is no design.

If there is no design, there is no purpose, because purpose is a function of design.

If there is no purpose, there is no meaning, because meaning is a function of purpose.

But there is meaning, isn’t there?

The world is awash with meaning.

Our very thoughts are suffused with meaning otherwise we would not be aware that we even have thoughts nor would we be able to talk about them.

So if there is meaning, there must be purpose.

and if there is purpose, there must be design.

If there is design, there must be a Designer.

And if there is a Designer, there must be a Creator.

That Creator is the one whom Christians call God.

When Jesus encountered Nathanael, He announced his approach by saying, “Behold an Israelite in whom there is no guile.”

These words require a bit of thought and interpretation for us, but the tuning fork of Jesus’ words set the fabric of Nathanael’s heart to vibrating.

Clearly those words meant something to Nathanael which escapes us.

When we meet the Lord Jesus Christ (and that prospect is as open to us today every bit as much as it was to Nathanael then) it is obvious that Jesus knows far more than we know. But we do not get too far into that personal encounter before we come to realize that Jesus also knows things which only we know. That seemed to have happened in the case of Nathanael.

From the outset Jesus invested Nathanael’s life with authentic meaning. It is only as we lose our lives in His royal claims upon ourselves that we can recover our lives and make them truly our own. He invests our lives with purpose. He can do that because He is the Logos.

We were made for Him.

And He has come for us.

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