Over the years I have written several "book" or "booklets" and many, many, many newsletter and bulletin articles. Because the book market seeks writings to meet specific needs at specific times, my material has never been accepted. I have a tendency to write what is on my mind and so I am left with self publishing. So, with the encouragement from my wife and others, I am beginning this blog in order to put my "ramblings" "out there"! I hope you enjoy!
Please note that while my intentions are to use good grammar, because of the way in which some of the material presented here is presented (orally) the grammar and syntax might not always be the best English. Also note that good theology is not always presented in the best English so there may be times when the proper grammar rules are purposely broken.
Wednesday, December 25, 2013
The Word Fulfilled - Christmas Day - December 25, 2013 - Text: John 1:1-18
Our theme for this year is The Word. Our text is John 1:1-18. Last night as we celebrated Christmas Eve and the birth of our Savior, we continued our theme as we talked about the word incarnate, that is the Word in flesh. Today we take up the topic of the word fulfilled and finally, next week, on New Year’s Eve, the word in glory. As we made note last week and last night, of course, the Word is Jesus who was at creation with the Father and the Holy Spirit, who was promised through the oral prophecies, and later through the written prophecies. Jesus is the tangible word in His Holy Supper. He is the Word incarnate, in flesh in the person of the baby. He is the Word fulfilled in His life, death and resurrection. And He is the Word in glory, the Lamb of God enthroned in heaven. Again, this evening we take up the topic of the word fulfilled.
As we have reiterated time and again, the way we remember is to teach and reteach, to hear the message and hear it again, thus we begin by hearing again that Jesus is the Spoken and Written Word. We have already identified Jesus as the one spoken and written about in Genesis. He is the One about who God promised to send to reconcile, to redeem, to pay the price, trading His life for the life of all, to bring all people back into a right relationship with God Himself, a relationship broken by disobedience and sin. Jesus is the One who would have His heel bruised, that is He will die on the cross, but in so having His heel bruised, He would bruise Satan’s head, He would completed defeat and destroy Satan.
As John tells us in our text, in the beginning God created all things out of nothing. Of course we normally designate God the Father as the Creator and as the Preserver of all that He created. And yet, John reminds us, as we can read in Genesis as well. In Genesis we read the word “God” in the plural reminding us that our God is a plural God, yet a God who has complete unity and Oneness in His plurality, thus, at the creation of the world is God the Father and also with Him are God the Son and God Holy Spirit, three persons in one divine Godhead as we describe Him in our human language.
God created a perfect world. God created a perfect man and a perfect woman. God created a perfect Garden so that in the beginning everything was perfect. God gave Adam and Eve the ability to respond in faith by obeying Him, by not eating of the fruit of the tree in the middle of the Garden, the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. Satan, a fallen angel, kicked out of heaven, one hating God and all that is good, took the form of a serpent, tempted Eve and Adam so that they disobeyed God and ate of the fruit. Thus, sin entered and as a result, God cursed the world, yet, because of His love for us, God promised to send a Savior. This first promise was a spoken or an oral promise.
Later in history, God chosen Moses and in foreshadowing His salvation of the world, Moses lead the children of Israel out of their bondage of slavery in Egypt. Later, God moved Moses and had him write the spoken promises down so that now the promise was a written Word of promise. Throughout the Old Testament prophets came and went and their words of prophecy and promise concerning the Messiah, the Savior of the world were written down for all the world to read.
After many years, even some five hundred years of silence and having no word from the Lord, God appeared to Zechariah and announced the birth of a son, John the Baptist. The Lord sent an angel to announce to Mary that she would be the mother of the Messiah and also to Joseph that he would be the adopted earthly father of the Messiah. John the Baptist was born and came to announce the birth of the Messiah.
As the Gospel writer John tells us, John was not the Messiah, but pointed to the Messiah. In his words John writes, “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” (v. 6-8).
John the Baptist came to prepare the world for the Messiah. As for this Messiah He is the one who is truly God and truly human. Jesus is God and yet because of His great love for us, His creation, He gave up the glory of being God in heaven in order to take on human flesh and blood.
Jesus is the light of the world, born with Jewish roots, yet not recognized, but denied by His own Jewish family. The Gospel writer John says it this way, “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” (v. 9-11).
And finally John tells us, “And 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” (v. 14). Jesus is the Word, the spoken word and the written Word born in flesh fulfilling all of Holy Scripture.
This morning we celebrate. We celebrate God’s promises and especially His promises fulfilled in Jesus’ birth. The promises of the Old Testament pointed to this and to the subsequent events of Jesus’ life.
About this One of whom we celebrate His birth, this One is Jesus whose name means the Lord Saves. This Jesus is true God, along with God the Father and God the Holy Spirit, having been conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit. This One Jesus is also truly human, true man, born of the human woman, the Virgin Mary. This One Jesus, came to fulfill all the Law and the Prophets. He came to fulfill all the promises concerning the coming Messiah. He came both in passive and in active obedience. He actively obeyed all of God’s laws perfectly and He actively took all our sins upon Himself. He passively allowed Himself to suffer the punishment for our sins and for the sins of all people of all places of all times.
Jesus is true God and true man. He had to be truly God in order to be born in perfection, in order to obey God’s commands to be perfect. And He had to be truly human in order to be our substitute, in order to make an equal trade of lives, His perfect life for our sin filled lives. He is the One who came to pay the price for our sin.
Jesus birth reminds us that the price for sin is death. Jesus was born to die. Yet, as we know the whole story, Jesus did not stay dead, but He rose from the dead. His resurrection defeated sin, death and the devil.
So now, by God’s grace, through faith in Jesus Christ alone, we have been adopted as His children and as children of Abraham. The Gospel writer John reminds us that the children of Abraham, the true Israel are not those who are descendants by birth, by DNA, by genetics, but those of faith as he says, “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” (v. 12-13). We are the new Israel, by God’s grace through faith in Jesus which He gives to us and works in us.
This morning we are reminded once again and assured that our salvation is dependent on Jesus, just Jesus. We cannot save ourselves. We cannot look inside ourselves for help. We must always look outside ourselves and when we look outside ourselves we see Jesus.
Today we celebrate faith, forgiveness and life. We celebrate that our God loves us so much. That our God created us to love us. That He gave His promise and fulfilled that promise to take care of our sin for us, because of His great love for us. That Jesus is our salvation and that there is no other name on earth, given among men whereby we must be saved. We celebrate our salvation and we are moved to say, to God be the glory, for Jesus’ sake. Amen.