Biblical Words 
God’s own Word came to people, bringing awesome gifts of grace.
There isn’t always a 2nd Sunday after Christmas in the liturgical year. It happens only when Christmas falls on a Wednesday or later in the week, pushing Epiphany, the 12th day of Christmas (January 6), past the 2nd Sunday in Christmas season.
The texts for this Sunday are in the maximum voice.
Those who created the great scroll of the Jeremiah traditions believed that the Lord had instructed Jeremiah to write out a separate set of prophecies that looked beyond the judgment.
Write in a book [scroll] all the words that
I have spoken to you. For the days are
surely coming, says the Lord, when I will restore the fortunes of my people,
Israel and Judah, says the Lord, and I will bring them back to the land that I
gave to their ancestors and they shall take possession of it (30:2-3,
Scholars through the ages, therefore, have talked of this part of Jeremiah as “the Book of Consolation.”
After the judgment, the people
have prayed, “Save, O Lord,, your people, the remnant of
God has made the return from exile a family matter, lordly parent rescuing lost offspring.
The rest of the passage declares how mourning will be turned into joy and need into abundant prosperity in the restored land.
“I shall refresh my priests with rich food [because the tithes will be so abundant], and my people will gorge themselves on my lavish gifts” (verse 14,
The Psalm reading is virtually a continuation of the Prophetic passage. The complete psalm began,
The Lord builds up
Our reading summons
“He has not dealt thus with any other nation; / they do not know his ordinances” (verse 20).
After restoration from exile to a
blessed holy city,
The reading from the Epistle is an outpouring of religious language that overwhelms sense with eloquence.
An early 20th century commentator wrote of this passage,
The twelve verses which follow [the
opening] baffle our analysis. They are a
kaleidoscope of dazzling lights and shifting colours: at first we fail to find a trace of order or
method. They are like the preliminary
flight of the eagle, rising and wheeling around, as though for a while
uncertain what direction in his boundless freedom he shall take. (J. Armitage Robinson, Commentary on
The difficulty in following the thought is compounded by
the fact that what are six complex sentences in the
Nevertheless, so much is clear: the whole passage is a blessing, a benediction (“Blessed be the God and Father…”). It is common to find the center of the thought in the phrase “the mystery of [God’s] will” (verse 9). It is also possible to see (as do the notes in The New Jerusalem Bible, 1985 ed.) this topic developed in a sequence of blessings running through the whole as follows:
The overall sense of the passage is that there is a vast work of God underway throughout the cosmos and the ages, and we are the blessed recipients of its benefits, without any reference to our works or merits.
The Gospel reading presents the highest
Christology in the New Testament.
That is, here Jesus is most completely identified as divine, as
side-by-side with God Almighty, as in some sense identified with God (“… and
the Word was God,” 1:1,
The “Word,” Greek Logos, means something like the rationality, the intelligibility, of the entire cosmos, of all reality. That rationality is inherent in all creation. The creation was an expression of God’s deliberateness, of God’s logos character. Creation makes sense. (“All things came into being through him [the Logos], and without him not one thing came into being,” verse 2.)
The great difficulty of such views for a modern hearer is the personification of this logos-character of God and reality. Here the Logos is a semi-personal entity, even before it assumes human form. And the impossible transaction that is the most scandalous and the most radically important is that the Logos, this rationality of God and creation, became human: “And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory…” (verse 14).
This fantastic event in the life
of the universe did not happen in the academies of
This Logos of the universe came to the Judean people, “to his own,” but “his own people did not accept him” (verse 11). However, it was not only the Judeans who did not accept him. “He was in the world, and the world came into being through him, yet the world did not know him” (verse 10).
A colossal event for the entire universe had happened here, and practically nobody knew it!!
Only a handful of folks knew the immeasurable significance of all this; it was an inside secret for some time. But some did know:
...to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God, … not of blood [like all Judean people] or of the will of flesh [by human contrivances] … but of God. [Therefore,] ...from his fullness we have all received grace upon grace. The law indeed was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ [verses 12-13, 16-17].
Only as time had passed, as local lore about Jesus of Nazareth had gradually expanded and came to be seen in the light of the loftiest wisdom of the age – only then were reflective and born-again Jesus believers (John 3:3) able to grasp and proclaim the awesome declarations of this new scriptural witness. Only then could this amazing Prologue to the Gospel According to John be given to the world!