I’ve been reading a book titled, The Shallows: What the internet is doing to our brains. It speaks about how technology shapes the way we think and how it can actually change our neurophysiology. In college, I didn’t study neuro, psych, linguistics, or sociology. The book touches on these disciplines and many more. I find it to be fascinating. While reading, it reminded me of a devotional that I wrote in the summer. So i want to share that journal entry with you.
Below is my journal entry from 22 July 2011. It’s more like a flow of thoughts than an essay. i would appreciate any feedback.
Then he went down to Capernaum, a town in Galilee, and on the Sabbath he taught the people. They were amazed at his teaching, because his words had authority.
In the synagogue there was a man possessed by a demon, an evil spirit. He cried out at the top of his voice, Go away! What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are–the Holy One of God!’
‘Be quiet!’ Jesus said sternly. ‘Come out of him!’ Then the demon threw the man down before them all and came out without injuring him.
All the people were amazed and said to each other, ‘What words these are! With authority and power he gives orders to evil spirits and they come out!’ And the news about him spread throughout the surrounding area.
I remember a friend asking me if I actually believed in demons. I thought for a bit, and I said, “Yes.” In the 5 years of being Christian, I haven’t encountered a demon, but that doesn’t mean they don’t exist. Yet demons knew and know Jesus to be God. Maybe spiritual beings know what we fleshly beings cannot immediately discern. So again, in this passage, Jesus is teaching in the synagogue, and people are amazed by the authority he has. People are amazed, but from the commentary I read yesterday, people aren’t believing. So even with authority and Jesus’ performing of miracles, there is disbelief. But coming back to this idea of authority, what would it look like to live my life with authority? Not my own, but Christ in me?
Interestingly, the people were amazed by the power of his words.
Words. Words are powerful. I’m trying to figure out what it means to have Jesus be the word, the logos. In fact, words are what separate us from other creatures. Words are the means of communication. Jesus as the word is the means that God communicates to us. And from the beginning, God spoke things into existence. And as we try to figure out our existence and origins, how much of it actually is just an investigation of God?
And how different would we live if we know and act like we were and are created? If not by God, at least by our parents? We had no choice in our existence. We enter into a system, a space, a structure. What would it look like to live knowing that we are limited? Knowing that there are things beyond our comprehension?
The power of the word is the breaking forth of intention and will. It is the entrance of something new. It is an act of creation. From nothing comes forth sound, meaning, and power. The invisible made audible. The invisible made temporal. The invisible brought into existence. And the unknown is made knowable. It is the formation of reality. And it is our most ready and powerful form of creation. It actually is creation. From the invisible to the visible. From thought to spoken word. From thought to words on paper. There’s nothing else that we do that is like this. We all make something out of something else, but nothing like the ease and readiness of speech.
We inherently create. Yet it is for the sake of communication we create. Or is it the other way around? Could it be that creation inherently operates to become knowable?
Words have power because it is our creation. It is an extension of who we are. It is the means by which we are knowable. What an interesting connection between creation and knowability. Then there is the question of why are we like this? Through evolution? Through God? Which is the more satisfying?
In God’s creation, he makes himself knowable to the other. That is the basic nature of creation. If we use the word example, we speak; we create words; and in that process, we are making ourselves knowable to the other. But whether or not the other will understand, we cannot control. The burden then falls on the speaker. How far, to what lengths will he or she go to communicate clearly, such that the other will know fully? That is why Jesus is the word. He is God’s full communication. He is God’s most exact and clearest articulation of himself, of course, by and through himself. This is not to say that Jesus was created. But rather, he is like the word before it is spoken. The image of what is to be, through which things are created. So John writes, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”