The Word In A Box

Do you have a “favorite” Bible passage?

I like ice cream. A lot. I like lots of other things—baseball and dogs and riding my bike. But I REALLY LIKE ice cream.

So I struggle in an ice cream shop that offers dozens of choices. They’re all wonderful and choosing one means rejecting the rest. I want that one… no, that one, no …

That’s sort of how it feels when someone asks, “What’s your favorite Bible passage?”

However, I can clearly identify the passage that impacted me most powerfully the first time I really heard its message. I can still see where I sat and feel what I felt when I heard these words:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:1,14

For me these words capture the profound mystery of my faith, the juxtaposition of infinite and personal, the miracle of God becoming man. These verses remind me that this notion of following Jesus is boundless and miraculous and beyond my comprehension.

When I read these words, I imagine a box. Maybe it’s a big box or a small one, but the box represents what we do with Jesus. Since we can’t comprehend an infinite reality, we put Him in a box that represents the small part we can get our minds around.

Then we pretend that the box is all that is. Jesus becomes doctrine, a particular collection of political policies, a national interest, and whatever else we decide to place in the box.

We reduce Jesus to something understandable and therefore more manageable. We’d prefer not being challenged too much or pushed too far from our comfort zone.

The box transforms infinite personal mystery into finite ideology that conforms to our agenda. We worship what’s in the box, our self-created perception of Jesus.

That’s idol worship. Doesn’t matter which box, how big, or what’s in it.

The goal isn’t to create a more accurate box or a bigger box or a more inclusive box. The goal is to understand that we can’t fit THE WORD into ANY box.

Jesus isn’t a set of ideas to be learned and promoted. He’s a person. He didn’t ask us to define or constrain Him.

He invited us to follow Him.

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Copyright 2008-2012 by Rich Dixon, All Rights Reserved. Used by permission.

Rich is an author and speaker. He is the author of:

Relentless Grace: God’s Invitation To Give Hope Another Chance. Visit his web site

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