A Genesis-and-John stew may prove a little too rich; but I am now reluctant to give up either! Please continue to read & comment on either or both; and if any of my current commentors has other material they’d like to post here, please ask.
Here is John’s testimony; he cried aloud, “This is the man I meant when I said, ‘He comes after me, but takes rank before me;’ for before I was born, he already was.”
Out of his full store we have all received grace after grace; for while the law was given through Moses, grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God, but the only one, the one nearest to the Father’s heart, has made him known.
This is the testimony which John gave when the Jews of Jerusalem sent a deputation of priests and Levites to ask him who he was. He confessed without reserve and avowed, “I am not the Messiah.”
“What, then? Are you Elijah?”
“No,” he replied.
“Are you the prophet we await?”
He answered, “No.”
“Then who are you?” They asked. “We must give an answer to those who sent us. What account do you give of yourself?”
He answered in the words of the prophet Isaiah, “I am a voice crying out in the wilderness, ‘Make the Lord’s highway straight.’ “
Some Pharisees who were in the delegation asked him, “If you are not the Messiah, nor Elijah, nor the prophet, why then are you baptising?”
“I baptise in water,” John replied, “but among you, though you do not know him, stands the one who is to come after me. I am not good enough to unfasten his shoes.” This took place at Bethany beyond Jordan, where John was baptising.
The sons of Noah who went out of the ark were Shem, Ham, and Japheth. Ham was the father of Canaan. These three were the sons of Noah, and from these the whole Earth was peopled.
Noah, a man of the soil, was the first to plant a vineyard. He drank some of the wine and became drunk, and he lay uncovered in his tent.
And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brothers outside.
Then Shem and Japheth took a garment, laid it on both their shoulders, and walked backward and covered the nakedness of their father. Their faces were turned away; and they did not see their father’s nakedness.
When Noah awoke from his wine and knew what his youngest son had done to him, he said, “Cursed by Canaan; lowest of slaves shall he be to his brothers.”
He also said, “Blessed by the Lord my God be Shem; and let Canaan be his slave.
“May God make space for Japheth
and let him live in the tents of Shem;
and let Canaan be his slave.”
After the flood Noah lived three hundred fifty years. All the days of Noah were 950 years, and he died.
[begats, begats, begats]… These are the families of Noah’s sons, according to their genealogies, in their nations; and from these the nations spread abroad on the Earth after the Flood.
When all things began, the Word already was. The Word dwelt with God, and what God was, the Word was.
The Word, then, was with God at the beginning, and through him all things came to be; no single thing was created without him. All that came to be was alive with his life; and that life was the light of human beings.
The light shines on in the dark, and the darkness has never quenched it.
There appeared a man named John, sent from God; he came as a witness to testify to the light, that all might become believers through him. He was not himself the light; he came to bear witness to the light. The real light which enlightens every man was, even then, coming into the world.
He was in the world, but the world, which owed its being to him, did not recognize him.
He entered his own place, and his own people would not welcome him. But to all who did welcome him, to those who gave their allegiance, he gave the power to become children of God–not born of human stock, or by the fleshly desire of their human fathers, but offspring of Spirit.
So the Word became flesh; he came to live among us; and we saw his glory, such glory as befits the Father’s true son, full of truth and blessing.
The format I inherited here, and followed for a very long time, waiting for participation to please rise above zero, has proved itself utterly deadly.
If there is something in the Christian and/or Hebrew scriptures that puzzles you, or strongly speaks to you, or just plain feels like a rich source for group consideration, please comment here and say what that is.
You may find it in the archives, which are partially mine but include much more from previous members. You may want to comment on anything there; if your comment opens something fresh to consider, I’ll repost the passage and we can go from there.
But let’s take up something that moves somebody!
God blessed Noah and his sons, and said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the Earth.
“The awe and dread of you shall rest on every animal of the Earth, and on every bird of the air, on everything that creeps upon the ground, and on all fish of the sea; into your hand they are delivered. Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you; and just as I gave you the green plants, I give you everything. Only, you shall not eat flesh with its life (that is, its blood.) For your own lifeblood I will surely require a reckoning; from every animal I will require it and from human beings, each one for the blood of another, I will require a reckoning for human life.
“Whoever sheds the blood of someone,
by someone will that person’s blood be shed;
for in his own image
God made humankind.
“And you, be fruitful and multiply;
abound on the Earth and multiply in it.”
Then God said to Noah and his sons, “As for me, I am establishing my covenant with you and your descendants after you, and with every living creature that is with you, the birds, the domestic animals, and every animal with you, as many as came out of the ark. I establish my covenant with you, that never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of a flood, and never again shall there be a flood to destroy the Earth.”
God said, “This is the sign of the covenant that I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all future generations: I have set my bow in the clouds, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the Earth.
“When I bring clouds over the earth and the bow is seen in the clouds, I will remember my covenant that is between you and me and every living creature of all flesh; and the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh. When the bow is in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature on the Earth.” God said to Noah, “This is the sign of the covenant that I have established between me and all meat on the Earth.”
In the 601st year, in the first month, on the first day of the month, the waters were dried up from the Earth; and Noah removed the covering of the ark, and looked, and saw that the face of the ground was drying. In the second month, on the twenty-seventh day of the month, the earth was dry.
The God said to Noah, “Go out of the ark, you and your wife and your sons and your sons’ wives with you. Bring out with you every living thing that is with you of all flesh–birds and animals and every creeping thing that creeps on the earth–so that they may abound on the Earth, and be fruitful and multiply on the Earth.”
So Noah went out with his sons and his wife and his sons’ wives. And every animal, every creeping thing, and every bird, everything that moves on the Earth, went out of the ark by families.
Then Noah built an altar to the Lord, and took of every clean animal and of every clean bird, and offered burnt offerings on the altar. And when the Lord smelled the pleasing odor, tha Lord said in his heart, “I will never again curse the ground because of humankind, for the inclination of the human heart is evil from youth; nor will I ever again destroy every living creature as I have done.
“As long as the Earth endures
seedtime and harvest, cold and heat,
summer and winter, day and night
shall not cease.”