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What is the focus for people during Christmas? For some it is secular, a time of recapturing feelings of long-ago which are fed by sights and sounds of lights, tinsel, music, smells of baking cookies and candy, gifts, and Santa Claus.
For others the main focus is to put/keep Christ in Christmas. There is a religious component of either a baby in the manger, God’s Son, the detailed focus of God coming in human flesh in the form of a baby before whom angels, shepherds, and wise men worshipped and evil men like Herod tried to destroy.
The secular idea for Christmas makes sense from a business point of view; this is a time of gift-giving and advertisers KNOW that evoking warm family memories with people generously giving gifts to others increases their companies’ bottom line. The religious idea for Christmas is closer to the truth in that our focus should be on the One who entered the world. The TENSION is remaining biblically accurate AND relevant without turning into a “humbug.”
If you take all the “Christmas Story” accounts from the N.T., you have two found in & 2, and & 2. I’m not speaking of messianic prophecies, just the ones about the birth of Christ. However, there is another account of the coming of the Christ into the world which puts the events in Matthew and Luke into perspective, and that is . Turn in your bibles to . READ .
Our passage this morning is , which is all summed up in v14. The Word became flesh and dwelt among us. John then goes on to tells about the Word dwelling among man and all the signs that accompanying that time. For us this morning, as we contemplate Christmas, the coming of Jesus into the world, keep in mind two truths about Jesus. First,
I. Jesus is the living Word. Here in John’s gospel, as well as John’s letters Jesus is referred to as the Word. In fact, in , the Bible says, 11 Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war. 12 His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are many diadems, and he has a name written that no one knows but himself. 13 He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God. Jesus, the living word not only lived,
A. He is eternal. READ 1-2. John begins by quoting the opening words of Genesis and uses the term, “word” as a title for Jesus throughout chapter 1. He doesn’t directly specify this until v17. Notice the phrases in v1:
the Word was with God This testifies to the distinction between God the Father and Jesus while emphasizing the intimate relationship between the Father and the Son. But then he writes that,
the Word was God. By this he means that the Word shares the same character, quality, and essence of God. John’s phrasing preserves the distinction between God the Father and God the Son while emphasizing their unity in all other regards.[1] Please note that this last phrase does NOT say that the Word was “a” God. The indefinite article “a”, as in, “a tree,” or “a boat,” which would mean a boat but not a specific boat, that article “a” does NOT exist in the Greek. On the other hand, Logos, “word” in the Greek has the definite article each time it is mention in verse 1.
If you read the Greek in the order in which it was written, it would say, In the beginning was the word, and the work was with God, and God was the word. The rest of scripture testifies that the word was God the Son as Jesus declared equal to God when He said, before Abraham was, I am. John is telling us that Jesus is the living Word and He is eternal and we see in verse 2 that He was in the beginning with God. In fact, going along with ,
B. He is creator. READ 3. tells us that “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” John clearly tells us here in that all things were made through Him. This is supported by ; ; , and (ESV) which says, For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. Let there be no mistake, Jesus, the Word, is the Creator, and this creator is the one of whom the Christmas stories speak when they talk about the King of the Jews being born in Bethlehem. This Word, not only spoke creation into existence, giving life,
C. He is life! READ 4. This only makes sense. As the Creator, HE brings life. The Word is the source of life, physical and spiritual. In , Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.[2] This bread of life does not just sustain life, but is life. There are several key words in John, in these verses it is Word, but life is also a key word as it is used 36 times in John’s gospel. For John, Jesus’ ability to grant life to those who walked in “darkness” or “death” is the key issue at stake. Jesus has the ability and authority to do so because He was there in the beginning when God’s creative works took place.[3] This ties in to the fact that,
II. Jesus is the light of the world. READ 5. Perhaps it relates to our being created in the image of God. Some suggest it has to do with the light of general revelation, how God is reflected in creation itself so man is without excuse. However the life was the light of men, I believe it is tied to v5. In the 1st century, light and darkness represented good and evil. All the forces of Satan tried to prevent life and extinguish the light—but the darkness could not overcome the life. These five verses tell us that the Word came to the world He created to once again bring life, to bring hope, and,
A. John was His witness. READ 6-8. The John in verse 6 is not the John writing this. John in v6 is John the Baptist. Luke’s gospel begins, after a 4 verse introduction with the foretelling of the birth of John the Baptist. In , the angel tells Zechariah that his coming son would turn the hearts of many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God to make ready for the Lord, a prepared people.
John did this when the word of the Lord came to him as he went into the region of the Jordan proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins fulfilling . We see his witness finally in (ESV) 29The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! 30 This is he of whom I said, ‘After me comes a man who ranks before me, because he was before me.’ 31 I myself did not know him, but for this purpose I came baptizing with water, that he might be revealed to Israel.” 32 And John bore witness: “I saw the Spirit descend from heaven like a dove, and it remained on him. 33 I myself did not know him, but he who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain, this is he who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ 34 And I have seen and have borne witness that this is the Son of God.” He did this because
B. Jesus is the true light. READ 9.
C. His people rejected Him. 10-11
D. But belief brings adoption. 12-13
Jesus is the living Word. He is eternal; he is creator; He is life!
Jesus is the light of the world. John was His witness. Jesus is the true light. His people rejected Him. But belief brings adoption.
[1] John D. Barry et al., Faithlife Study Bible (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2012, 2016), .
[2] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), .
[3] John D. Barry et al., Faithlife Study Bible (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2012, 2016), .
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