The introduction to John’s gospel can read a little abstract and symbolic for many. Who is this ‘Word’ that John is referring to? What knowledge is John building on, and why does he use this convoluted tone as an introduction to a book about a man who talked of sparrows, sheep, and stone? This retelling looks at the reasons why John started the book with these now famous lines
Main Passage : 1 Samuel 16
David lived in the town of Bethlehem with his seven older brothers. One evening, David’s father Jesse told the boys that a great man of God was coming to Bethlehem, the prophet Samuel. Everyone knew that Samuel had the job of choosing the king. He had chosen King Saul. But Saul had disobeyed God, and people thought Samuel was looking for a new king. Then, Jesse told them something even more amazing: Samuel had asked to come to their house. The brothers got super excited and started to talk about what they would do if they were king.
The oldest brother suddenly pulled out his sword, “I’ll be a strong king! Samuel will see that I have my sword ready.” A brother laughed and shouted, “You want to protect, not fight. I’ll take a shield!” By morning prayers the next day, all the brothers stood ready to greet Samuel with their chosen object. Jesse looked at his sons, “Tell me, why do you have all that stuff?”
Starting with the oldest brother, they each showed their father their choice.
“If Samuel sees me with this sword, he will know that I will fight for the people.”
“If Samuel sees me with this shield, he will know that I will protect the people.”
“If Samuel sees I have gold, he will know that I will provide for the people.”
“If Samuel sees how strong I am, he will know that I will rule the people.”
“If Samuel sees me sharing food, he will know that I will feed the people.”
“If Samuel sees me with scripture, he will know that I will pray for the people.”
“If I take nothing, then I shall act like a King; for a king does not give but receive.”
Right on the end of the line stood David. He was not dressed in his house robe but in his work clothes. In his hands was his little harp and his slingshot. When Jesse came to David to ask what he would take, the other brothers laughed. David smiled and said, “Today I take my sling and my harp and go to watch the sheep. I will play songs to the lambs and throw stones at the wolves and bears.” Then he opened the door and headed out. But it wasn’t long before somebody was sent running across the fields to bring him home.
When David got home, the prophet Samuel was waiting for him. “Your sons look like kings,” he said to Jesse, “but God has told me that he does not look at the appearance but the heart. This young boy David may not look like a king now, but God has told me to pour my oil on his head, for he has a good heart and will one day be a great king.’ Everyone was shocked! Seven strong, young men and Samuel chose their smaller, weaker, younger brother. The next day, David went back out to the sheep, but everyone could see God was with him. David did become a king, but that’s another story.