From Ryan Ruffing
Psalm 51: This psalm is an intimate cry for forgiveness in the midst of sinfulness. The introduction to the psalm places it within the life setting of David’s transgression with Bathsheba, and the prophet Nathan’s eventual rebuke (2 Sam 11-12). The psalm’s perspective has both human sinfulness and God’s grace in view, though God’s grace is seen as the more prominent and abiding reality. We may note the flow of the psalm as a helpful reminder of the way we are instructed to come to God in our sinful state – we confess openly (vs. 3-5), we recognize God’s good intention for us (vs. 6-7), we ask God to restore and heal our broken places (vs. 8-12), we seek to help others who are caught in sin (vs. 13-17). This rhythm of confession, restoration, and mission is instructive for us. Do we come to God honestly? Do we allow him to restore us? Do we move forward to help others?
John 1.1-18: The prologue to John’s Gospel is truly amazing. The opening words resonate the creation account of Genesis, signaling a new chapter in the revelation of Israel’s God. The statements made about Jesus in this opening section tell us much about who he is and what he came to do. First, he is identified as God (vs. 1), and as an actor in the original creation event (vs. 3). The significance of the divinity of Jesus (the Word) is also communicated – “no one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him know” (vs. 18). It is precisely because of Jesus’ divinity that we believe we can look to him to truly understand the nature of our Father in heaven.
We also see in this prologue that Jesus’ purpose in taking on flesh (vs. 14) was to open a way for sinful human beings to become children of God. This gift comes through faith – “to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God” (vs. 12).