IT’S A BEAUTIFUL DAY
“The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood.”
John 1:14 MSG
Do you remember Mister Rogers? His children’s television program ran on PBS for over 30 years. His signature song reminded his viewers that ‘it’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood.”
And indeed it was. Fred Rogers and his guests were always kind, encouraging, loving and hopeful. They made his make-believe neighborhood a wishful escape for millions of boys and girls.
But what about the real neighborhoods in which we live? What about the neighborhoods of neglect and shame, abandonment, poverty, violence, crime and abuse? What about the neighborhoods of outer beauty and affluence, that teem with inner loneliness, addiction and despair? Is it a beautiful day in those neighborhoods?
THE GOSPEL OF JOHN IN A DIFFERENT TRANSLATION
I have been very familiar with John 1:14 for decades. I have quoted it often in sermons–“And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us ….” What a wonderful truth!
Recently, I read John 1:14 in The Message version. It opened up a whole new perspective on this great verse. Jesus actually “moved into the neighborhood.” He came to where I live. He stepped down from the glories of heaven and came to my street, to my dysfunctional life and family. Since I could not go to Him, He came to where I was to reveal Himself to me. As Paul in awe clearly stated, “He is the one who loved me and gave himself to save me” (Galatians2:20 ERV).
When Jesus came to my neighborhood, I was doing my own thing and going my own way. I was far from God, filled with selfishness, pride, lust, and self-centeredness. Yet, He came for me and changed my life. To make it even more wonderful, He is still with me and working in me, by His Spirit. You see, when He moves into the neighborhood, He never moves out.
HE MAKES ALL THINGS BEAUTIFUL
Isaiah 61:3 tells us the Lord gives “beauty for ashes.” He takes the ashes of our burned-out lives and turns them into something beautiful and good. Isn’t that great?
Perhaps your “neighborhood” has been torched by the fires of bad choices, bad circumstances, and bad people. Perhaps you feel “less than,” like bruised and damaged fruit at the produce market. Perhaps you feel like God would never come to you in your situation. Well, the truth is He did and He does.
You don’t have to live one more day depressed and lonely, hopeless and helpless. Jesus is in your neighborhood! He is waiting for you to invite Him over and invite Him in. If you cry out to Him, He will respond to you, and you will experience the beauty of His peace and joy that He alone can give.
Pastor Jeff Schreve,
From His Heart Ministries