This morning our symbol of Christmas is the Baby, yet, as we heard in our text, I want to focus on the Word, which our text says, became flesh, became the Baby. John tells us, in the beginning was the Word and of course we know this Word is Jesus Himself. Jesus was in the beginning with the Father and the Spirit at the creation of the world. And as we know the story, while God was running the show in Genesis one and two, everything was perfect. When we get to Genesis chapter three and Adam and Eve begin running the show we read of how they disobeyed God and how sin infects the world. Because of their disobedience the world was cursed. And yet, in His great love, God stepped in and made a promise, a promise to right the wrongs of sin, a promise to reconcile us to Himself. This Word spoken by God was the promise or prophecy that a Savior for all people, of all places, of all times would be born. In the beginning was the Word, the spoken Word of God, the Word of the Promise.
This Word of God, this spoken promise of God was passed on from generation to generation until we get to Moses. A part of Moses calling from God was that he began writing down the Words of God. So God’s spoken promise of a Savior became God’s written promise of a Savior. And even today we can read these promises of God as they permeate the whole Old Testament. And we know that this Word, this spoken and written Word were to have their fulfillment in the promised Savior Jesus and indeed that is what happened.
As John tells us in his Gospel, this spoken and written Word became incarnate, that is it became in carnal, in flesh, which is what we are celebrating today, the birth of the Savior, Jesus, God in flesh, “God with us,” God taking on human flesh and blood in order to live for us, suffer and die for us and to rise for us, in our place.
While He was alive, Jesus celebrated the Passover with His disciples and out of the Passover He gave us a new celebration, even a new sacrament, He gave us Himself to eat and to drink in His Holy Supper. In the Old Testament a lamb, a spotless lamb was sacrificed, its blood was shed as a reminder of sin, then the lamb was offered as a burnt offering, barbequed if you will, and the family sat and ate the lamb thus participating in the sacrifice. The lamb’s life, the lamb’s sacrifice was for their life and their sacrifice. Thus, the spoken and written Word, the Word made flesh has become a tangible Word for us in Lord’s Supper, where Jesus, the Lamb of God was offered as a once and for all sacrifice for us so that now when we come to the Lord’s Table we taste and know that the Lord is good. We participate in Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection, which is what it means to “do this in remembrance of me”, that is to participate in His life, death and resurrection so that they become our perfect life, death and resurrection.
And so, we understand and we believe God’s Word, His spoken Word, His Written Word, His Word made flesh and His Word given to us in Holy Supper, that His Word is indeed Jesus, and in particular His Word is this Jesus whose birth we celebrate today. So, let us talk a little about this baby.
When a baby is born there is indeed much rejoicing and likewise with the birth of this baby, the Baby of Bethlehem. This is the One who was promised in the Garden of Eden. This is the One who was promised to Abraham, to Isaac, to Jacob, to King David, to Zechariah and to Mary and Joseph. Certainly there is rejoicing at the birth of this child.
Even more, for us today, we rejoice because we know that this Child was not born for Himself, but He was born for us. He was born because of our broken relationship with God the Father. He was born in perfection because we are born in sin.
This Child was born for us and He was born for us so that He could live for us. All that we cannot do, obey God’s commandments perfectly, He did, for us, in our place. Not only did He obey all God’s commands perfectly, He also fulfilled all of God’s promises concerning the coming Savior, perfectly for us, in our place. The reason Jesus was born as a human was so that He could live for us a perfect life the perfect life we cannot live so that He might be our substitute. The reason Jesus was born as God was so that He would be perfect for us in our place.
Jesus was born for us. He lived for us and then He took our sins upon Himself for us. The price for sin, the cost for sin, which was set in the Garden of Eden, eternal spiritual death, hell, had to be paid and Jesus came to pay that price. As we said earlier, when a baby is born there is much rejoicing. When Jesus was born there was much rejoicing, yet for Jesus, when He was born He had the cross always before Him. The very reason He was born was to die.
And He did die, for us. Jesus suffered physical pain and torment but more importantly was the fact that He suffered the eternal spiritual death penalty for us, in our place. Jesus suffered hell for us in our place. He paid the price for our sins. He reconciled our account with God the Father, making the balance we owe zero.
But Jesus did not stay dead. Death and the grave had no power over Him. On the third day He rose and He rose for us. He rose defeating sin, death and the devil. He rose so that we know that we too will rise again.
After He rose, He showed Himself to be alive and before He ascended into heaven, back to the place from which He descended, He promised that He would come again to take us from this valley of tears to be with Himself in heaven for eternity. Thus, we wait with eager anticipation, either for His return, or our passing on and going to Him, because when we do meet Him, He will robe us with His robes of righteousness and gather us and all His saints and take us to the place which He has prepared for us, our place of eternity in heaven.
Listen again to the word of our text and as you hear John speak these words think about this baby, and think about this Word. “1In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2He was in the beginning with God. 3All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. 4In him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. 6There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him. 8He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light. 9The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. 10He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. 11He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. 12But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, 13who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. 14And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:1-14).
Perhaps, as we see the baby in the manger, as we hear the Word of God, we might remember that the two are one and the same. And as we come to our Lord’s Holy Supper to eat His body and drink His blood we might be reminded that this is a participation in Him so that His life is our life, His suffering is our suffering, His death is our death and His resurrection is our resurrection. Yes, we have forgiveness, life and salvation. And so we are moved to rejoice and say, to God be the glory, for Jesus’ sake. Amen.