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.
Tuesday, December 24, 2013
The Word Incarnate - Christmas Eve - December 24, 2013 - Text: John 1:1-18
Our theme for this year is The Word. Our text is John 1:1-18. Last week we talked about the tangible word. This evening, as we celebrate Christmas Eve and the birth of our Savior, we continue our theme as we talk about the word incarnate, that is the Word in flesh. Tomorrow we will take up the topic of the word fulfilled and finally on New Year’s Eve, the word in glory. As we made note last week, 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 incarnate.
As we said last week, 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.
Jesus is the Word spoken by God and He is the Word God moved Moses to write speaking of the promise of a Messiah. God gave to Moses to write the first five books of the Old Testament, the Pentateuch, those words which give us the history of the world, God’s promise of a Messiah, the civil and moral law as well as the ceremonial laws which all pointed to the one Lamb of God that would be slain, that would be sacrificed, crucified on the cross to pay the price for sin.
God sent the angels to announce to the shepherds that the birth of the Messiah had taken place. The angels made a spoken announcement that the One about whom all of Holy Scripture speaks was born in Bethlehem.
Jesus is the spoken word, the written word, the tangible word and now we begin to celebrate that He is the Word incarnate, that is the Word made flesh. As John tells us, “1In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2He was in the beginning with God” (v. 1,2). Jesus was there at the creation of the world, with God the Father and God the Holy Spirit, the trinity in unity and the unity in the trinity.
Jesus, the Word, is true God with the Father and the Holy Spirit, was in heaven enjoying all that it means to be true God in heaven, and yet He gave up the glory that was His in heaven in order to take on human flesh and blood. He was conceived in the human woman, the virgin Mary, by the power of the Holy Spirit so that what was conceived in her was truly human and truly divine as we confess in the Second Article of the Apostles’ Creed.
Thus, the Word, spoken and written, the One promised from the fall into sin, became in carinate, in carnal, in flesh in the person of Jesus. As John tells us in his version of the nativity story, “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).
John fills us in on the details of the Messiah as he says, “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. 15( John bore witness about him, and cried out, ‘This was he of whom I said, “He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.”’) 16And from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. 17For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known (v. 9-18).
Jesus is the light that shines in the darkness. Jesus is the light of truth, of perfection shining in the darkness of an imperfect world infected with sin and death. Jesus is the light which came into the world to expose the darkness of sin. And yet, even as is the case in our world today when those living in sin would rather continue living sin, so even in Jesus day, those exposed as living in sin rejected the One who came to save them, to bring them forgiveness and life.
Jesus, the light was born through the line of those promised, the Jewish nation, the children of Israel, and yet His own nation, His own culture, His own people refused and rejected Him, at least many of His own nation did, especially the ruling counsel of the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law.
Too many of His own people did not recognize Him. His own family, His brothers and sisters, and even at times it seemed His own mother did not recognize Him, at least not as the Messiah. Many rejected Him and yet many also did believe, not simply of His own people, but of the various cultures and nations to whom He came into contact in His life on this earth those He also came to save.
As Jesus spoke so well, to those who believe in Him, we are all a part of His family. It is not flesh and blood, it is not DNA, it is not genetics that make us brothers and sisters of Christ, and a part of His family. It is not our being born, nor our own human will that make us a part of His family. It is God who makes us a part of His family. It is God who gives us faith, forgiveness and life. It is God who has given His Son, even His own life, to be born as a human being in order to trade His life for ours.
This evening we begin our celebration of the Word, spoken, written, tangible, becoming flesh for the purpose of fulfilling our salvation. We begin our celebration of God taking on human flesh and blood, obeying all of God’s laws perfectly as our substitute, because we cannot. We begin celebrating that Jesus is the Messiah and He showed Himself to be the Messiah by fulfilling all God’s promises and prophecies concerning the Messiah, who He would be and what He would do. We being celebrating the fact that this child is God in flesh who was born for a purpose, to die, to reconcile our account with Himself, to give His life so that we might not die but have eternal life.
Yes, in the beginning was the Word and the Word was God and the Word took on human flesh in order to fulfill the spoken and written Word concerning Himself. We rejoice and give thanks that this Word became flesh, became incarnate because of His great love for us. To Him be the glory, for Jesus’ sake. Amen.