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Sermon by The Rev. Dr. George Hermanson, "."
God bless the preacher who tries to say something sensible about this text in 20 minutes or less.
Perhaps the best approach is to read it; then prop the Bible open in a visible place; then lie face down in silent, abject humility before the text; then, after 20 minutes - or twenty years - stand up and say, "Amen."
But let's start with a direct quote from historians, Bruce Malina and Richard Rohrbaugh (See footnote below.):
These verses have caused both wonder and controversy throughout Christian history. ... When read as ordinary language, they are majestic and profound yet bristling with interpretive and theological difficulties. ... Our (the authors, Malina and Rohrbaugh) interest is in the way these verses introduce the cosmic Messiah and describe his mission on behalf of those who "believe into him."
In pre-literate societies, creating and memorizing poetry was highly esteemed and gave great honour to the subject of the poem. Thus, the form of John 1:1-14 as a majestic poem gives notice of the honour and glory with which the subject of this Gospel - Jesus - is to be received.
The poem form also gives notice that John is NOT writing a biography or diary of Jesus - What I Did With Jesus Today. Indeed, as John himself says:
These (signs) are written so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through believing you may have life in his name.