THE REAL CHRISTMAS STORY – God’s Word Became Life
John 1:1-5 (p. 739) December 4, 2016
I have a picture that hangs in my office that was given to me by a wonderful Christian woman after her husband’s funeral. It is an amazing piece of art done by a Korean artist named Elder Rhee. It took him over two years to complete. He meticulously drew this picture by hand with shaded letters. Its John’s Gospel written by hand.
The letters are drawn, some thick, some thin, some light, some darker so they bring out a picture of Christ. The image of Christ isn’t imposed onto the words…but the words reveal Jesus. The words have become flesh…The words have become a person.
As E. Stanley Jones said, “Out of the gospels arises the Gospel. Jesus is the Gospel, the Gospel lies in His person. He did not come to bring the Good News. HE IS HE GOOD NEWS!
John the Beloved wants us to know through his Gospel that Jesus is…
I. THE WORD OF CREATION
This is The Real Christmas story….
“In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning.”
The beginning John refers to isn’t God’s beginning…It’s our beginning. God has no beginning. He has always been and He will always be. God isn’t limited by past, present and future. He created days and nights. He is the creator of our starting point. God is infinite. He is “I AM.”
But at Creation Jesus was there. He is the Logos…the word God used to make everything.
And it is through Jesus, the Logos, the Word of God that all of creation was made.
“Through Him all things were made without him nothing was made that has been made.” (John 1:3)
Do you know how God made everything in creation? It’s an important question. And the answer is: He spoke everything into creation.
He spoke…and it was! He said, “Let there be…” and it came to be.
The Hebrew Word for create (Bara) is only used in relation to God…Because only God can make something out of nothing.
At creation’s beginning the world was formless, empty and dark. God filled, God formed, God enlightened by speaking “Let there be,” and the world took shape, and the darkness was replaced with light.
John lets us know that Jesus, the Word of creation brought this light and life. He is the catalyst of all creation.
[I cannot explain completely how God can be One…and yet three perfectly, but maybe this will help our “finite brains.” I am Mary Ann and Jack Burdette’s son, I am also Ricky, Tyler, Cyndi and Karissa Burdette’s father, while at the same time I am Kari Lynn Burdette’s husband…I am one person, but have 3 distinct identities.]
John records that God has always had the Word with Him…and that Word was Him. Jesus wasn’t created…He is and always has been and will always be God.
But John also reveals “The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us.”
The Creator of all creation becomes one of His creation…Amazing!!!
Not only did Jesus create all things, but all of creation is His inheritance.
Paul writes to the Colossians about this truth and says:
COLOSSIANS 1:15-20 (p. 821)
The Greek word for firstborn here is “prototokos” and it’s and adjective, not a noun. It isn’t referring to Jesus’ physical birth it is referring to Jesus’ position to inherit creation…In Jewish law, the firstborn inherited a double portion of the father’s estate. This word has nothing to do with Jesus being “created” as some would suggest out of context…It has to do with His authority…His supremacy…His inheritance.
In fact in Colossians 2:9 we read, “For in Christ all the fullness of the deity lives in bodily form, and in Christ you have been brought to fullness. He is the head over every power and authority.
This World was made through Jesus – and everything in it, including you and me. We were created “for Him” but something horrible messed up this relationship.
“Sin.” Our sin.
It’s the very reason:
II. THE WORD OF CREATION BECOMES OUR REDEEMER
Sin brought darkness and death into a creation that was created for light and life.
Jesus created both of those in creation as the Word of God.
“In Him was life and that life was the light of ALL MANKIND. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” (John 1:5)
Which is greater? Light or darkness? LIGHT! There is no darkness so dark that a single match can’t penetrate it.
Jesus penetrated darkness at creation. When everything was empty and formless…The first words of creation “Let there be light…and there was light.”
Sin brings a different kind of darkness…Sin brings selfishness…self-centeredness…It darkens our souls. Instead of welcoming and worshiping the Son, we hid from Him, we go our own way…we reject His authority over creation…over us.
So once again, Jesus would come to penetrate the darkness. This time it wouldn’t be at creation…it would be to reclaim His inheritance, one that the prince of darkness was trying to steal. And since it was primarily people that were of most importance…Kidnap.
The word “redeem (apolutrosis)” means to pay the ransom…to buy back.
[Have you ever lost one of your children or grandchildren, even momentarily at a store, or a park, or in a crowd? Maybe you’ve told them a million times not to wander off or leave your side…but they do…and all of a sudden, they’re gone. And at the realization of what’s happened causes fear and dread to flood your soul. You go nuts…you get security…you frantically search the clothes racks…you don’t quit until you get your child back.
You don’t say, “Oh well, I’ve got three more…they should have listened to me…Ma’am could you ring this up for me?”
And if someone had really taken your child what would you do? How much would you pay? Would the ransom demand be too big?]
No! But what if it was…If someone took Xzavier, Peyton, Kanaan, or Brix and said “We want 100 million dollars for their return”…What would I do? I don’t have 100 million, nor do I have the resources to get it…no one here this morning has those resources. If I combined every resource I own it would be so insignificant, the kidnappers would laugh at me. I would be desperate and without hope.
Sin entered creation of God, all creation came under it’s curse…It had been kidnapped.
Romans 5:12 says, “Sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned.”
The ransom demanded for sin…is death “The Wages (the ransom) of sin is death.” But how do you or I pay that ransom on our own. It’s a ransom request that is much greater than 100 million dollars. How do sinners pay for their sin? It seems hopeless.
What was God the Father to do…say “too bad for mankind?” What was Jesus to do for His inheritance…first give up on it? No.
1 Peter 1:20 tells us “Jesus was chosen before the creation of the world to redeem us. The payment…His precious blood. He would die as the Lamb of God, without blemish or defect…He would buy us back.
[If you take your grandfather’s gold watch to any pawn shop…They’ll ask “Do you want to sell it or put it in pawn.” If you put it in pawn they’ll give you about 1/4 of what it’s worth. After a period of time you have to pay them back the loan…with interest…or they keep your grandfather’s watch.]
Jesus created this world and everything in it…Everything belongs to Him…but sin put us in pawn. Satan has possession…unless we’re bought back…So God bought back His creation through His son…”For God so loved the world, He gave His one and only Son so that whosoever believes in Him will not perish but will have eternal life.”
Jesus got His inheritance out of pawn…He said,
JOHN 10:17-18 (p. 748)
In a world that believes Christmas is about Black Fridays, parties with friends at the office, Apple TVs and full parking lots…little do they realize it’s about the infinite becoming an infant so He could redeem His pawned creation…Jesus is Immanuel…“God with us” so He could be an atoning sacrifice on the cross…And conquer sin’s consequences with His victorious resurrection. He gave Himself…and asks His creation to choose to accept that payment…Jesus the Redeemer said, “I GIVE YOU ME.”
Jesus offers Himself…The Redeemer asks us to choose Him as God’s gift. God came to save us…And serve us…Amazing. One of my favorite stories is by Judy Rodgers…She wrote in the December issue of Guidepost:
In the fourth year of his layoff from his job, Dad gave mom a dishwasher for Christmas.
You have to understand the magnitude of the gift: Our old house had its original wiring and plumbing, and neither could handle the required installation. There was no spot in the small kitchen for such a large appliance. And we hadn’t even been able to meet the mortgage interest payments for over six months. But Dad hated the thought of washing dishes; he would rather do anything else. And Mom had undergone major surgery that spring, a radical mastectomy for breast cancer, and found it difficult to do any work requiring the use of her arms. No large box appeared, no new plumbing or wiring was installed, no remodeling of the kitchen occurred. Rather, a small note appeared on a branch of the Christmas tree, handwritten by Dad:
“For one year I will wash all of the dirty dishes in this household.
And he did. He really did.
I think feet are even tougher to wash than dishes…but God did…Jesus did…He really did.