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El Verbo Among Us

February 20, 2021 • Life for Leaders

Scripture – John 1:1-3 (NRSV)

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being.

Focus

Every translation is an interpretation. Every word carries a world. My whole life of reading my Bible in my heart’s native language, which is Spanish, I heard a different nuance to these verses. I don’t understand the particulars of Bible translation scholars and the reasoning behind their choice of this one word. However, I love what it does to my relationship with Jesus. You see, in Spanish, John 1:1 has been translated In the beginning was the Verb, and the Verb was with God, and the Verb was God. I love how this word “Verbo” adds to the world behind “Word” and depicts Jesus with movement.

Devotion

Every translation is an interpretation. Every word carries a world. My whole life of reading my Bible in my heart’s native language, which is Spanish, I heard a different nuance to these verses. I don’t understand the particulars of Bible translation scholars and the reasoning behind their choice of this one word. However, I love what it does to my relationship with Jesus. You see, in Spanish, John 1:1 has been translated in the RVR 1995: In the beginning was the Verb, and the Verb was with God, and the Verb was God. I love how this word “Verbo” adds to the world behind “Word” and depicts Jesus with movement: the Word as a noun, as a spoken word, a lived word, and yet a living verb. I love that it allows me to see a Jesus that speaks, and moves, and breathes, and dances.

Seeing Jesus as a Verbo grants us a different angle to look at Jesus because one word can not capture the majesty of the One that was in the beginning, before all things and above all things. The author of Hebrews echoes another beginning in Hebrews 1:1-3a: “In the past God spoke through the prophets and our ancestral father in various forms and ways, and yet now God speaks through God’s own son. The son who is the exact representation of God’s very being who sustains all things, including your life, through his powerful word.”

The eternal word has living seeds that are verbs. It is through the living verbs of Jesus in any gospel that we see the God who moves near and draws close—in this time of Lent, a Jesus who has chosen to step into our suffering to identify with our humanity. He has been faithful from the beginning and there is no reason to believe God will stop being faithful now. The seeds of the gospel are in the verbs of the gospels. God sustains. God comforts. God heals. God cleanses. God rejoices over with singing. God provides. God cares. God forgives. God rescues. God delivers. God redeems. God reorients. God weeps. God holds. God upholds.

Take heart that the very God that was there in the beginning, through whom you came into being, is the very God that is sustaining your life by God’s powerful word. Find Jesus in those verbs.

Reflect

How would it change your view of Jesus to get to know him through his verbs/actions in the gospels? What is the verb that you need Jesus to embody for you in this season?

Act

If you read any accounts of Jesus in the gospels during Lent, highlight the verbs related to Jesus. Sit with the verbs as an invitation to intimacy.

Pray

God who was in the beginning, before all things, above all things and above every power and principality, you are the God who spoke the world into being and our lives into being. You know every inch of our hearts, minds, bodies and souls. Draw us near to the Jesus who became flesh and came to dwell among us. Let us be acquainted with the Jesus who put on our flesh, knowing we can draw near to a high priest not unfamiliar and not removed from our lives, but one who feels, sees, hears, senses, touches our very existence. Let your Word and your living Verb come to life that we may see you, hear you, sense you, touch and understand you. Amen.

P.S.

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One thought on “El Verbo Among Us

  1. Alexandra says:

    I love this! I am always curious how different translations and languages show God differently, just as much as I am curious how He is seen through the lens of differing cultures. My friend recently bought me a CJB bible (complete Jewish bible), and I love that it uses not only a different translation and names, but that it has explanations of what passages mean through a Jewish context. It adds another layer to what I already read. I am currently learning Japanese, and I can’t wait until I can read it well enough to get a bible in Japanese, so I can discover what that translation looks like, too.

    Thank you for sharing this.

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