The first chapters of John’s gospel are a Midrash on Genesis 1.
In the first chapter of Genesis we read of the creation that took place “in the beginning”.
“And God made the two great lights, the greater light to govern the day, and the lesser light to govern the night” (Genesis 1:16). The greater light is the sun; the lesser light is the moon which, as we know, reflects the light of the sun.
In John’s gospel, he applies the creation story midrashically, even to the extent of using the same words as found in Genesis 1:1; “in the beginning”. But whereas the story in Genesis 1 had to do with the creation, the opening passages of John’s gospel introduce “the new creation”, which was always in the Old Testament scriptures but had been lost as the Torah, the Word of God, was subsumed by the Talmud, the rabbinical writings of the leaders of Israel. John’s gospel goes on to restore the truth and to reveal what it means to God’s people.
We read, for example, of John the Baptist, “the lesser light”; “He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light” (John 1:8). So John is presented midrashically as the moon of Genesis 1, reflecting the glory of the True Light, Jesus Christ. Then John goes on to say;
“There was the true Light coming into the world, the One giving light to all mankind” (John 1:9). Thus we see the Son, midrashically taking the place of the sun of Genesis 1.
There are many other examples of John’s use of midrash in his gospel; but, if we apply the metaphors used in these scriptures to ourselves, we can say that all of us are born on the dark side of the moon where there is no light at all; and if, in the course of our life, and by the grace of God and the power of the Holy Spirit, we are given the privilege of gaining a glimpse of the light of Christ, yet it is a glimpse only and we should not be satisfied with that, because that glimpse is given so as to motivate us and draw us onward.
The Christian life is one of struggling and striving up the dark side of the moon, trying to reach the place where we can dwell in the continuing light; our goal is to reach that place where we can be so bathed in the light of Christ that we will be a reflection of Him and His light to those around us. Just like Jesus, we are called to be perfected in obedience and we will never find true peace until we embrace His example of humble obedience to God. As Paul put it; “Have this mind in you, which was also in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 2:5). The call of Christ is nothing less.
“I am come that they may have life and may have it abundantly” He said (John 10:10). The Greek word translated as “abundantly” is perissos, and means more than that; it means “to the full”, or “completely” or “utterly”; thus it envisages nothing less than life to the full, which is the life that Jesus Christ lived in this world. He is abundant life personified; only by achieving abundant life, can we be a reflection of that “true light” which came into the world to enlighten mankind.
When we are born again, we come out of death and into life; on a scale of 1 to 100, where abundant life is 100, we might come out of death and surge up to 10. But there is a long, long way to go and sadly, for many Christians, their life is a slow slide from 10 back to 1.
The path to abundant life is like climbing a greasy pole; the only way we can reach abundant life is to fix our eyes exclusively upon Jesus, “the author and perfecter of our faith” (Hebrews 12:2); only thus can we be drawn upward towards 100, the goal of abundant life, deeper and deeper into the ways of God. But typically, there are two things that will quickly arrest our struggle upwards and cause us to slide backwards; one is to look back at how far we have come; the other is to look across at others to check our progress against theirs. Both of these devices of Satan induce us to take our eyes off Jesus, who alone, can draw us upward towards abundant life, and thus, they are sure routes to the bottom of the pole.
Christ came not to condemn, but to reclaim that which was rightfully His. He was the author of all things and His mission was to reclaim that which He had created and entrusted to Adam. “All things came into being by Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being” (John 1:3). So the task that was given to Him by the Father, was to recover that which had been lost by Adam in yielding to the deception of darkness. All Christians are co-respondents with Christ in fulfillment of that holy task of restoring Godly order to an ungodly world.