Archive for the ‘John 1:1-14’ Category

Behold the Word and the Light!

Sunday, December 25th, 2011

Christmas Morning B, December 25th, 2011
Pastor Brian Henderson-Trinity Lutheran Church, San Diego, CA
J
ohn 1:1-14

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In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God; and you know what, the Word still is God!  He was  God in the beginning, He was in the manger God, He was on the cross God, and that very same God is with us right now.  How is He with  us?  In His Word, and in the light that the Word gives to us!  Will you allow that Word to be your God?  Are you willing to live in the light  that He gives to you through that Word?  Will you receive the mystery that an eternal and almighty God can and has come to save you  as a tiny helpless baby in a manger?  Will you by faith believe that He was born from a virgin, with Almighty God as His Father?  But will  you also accept by faith that before He was born, suffered, died, rose, and ascended He was always very God of very God?  Will you by  faith receive the truth that all things that were made were made through Him, and without Him, nothing made was made without Him  and by Him?  By faith along with all of the saints, will you give a loud Amen and declare that this is most certainly true?

This declaration of faith can only be made if you have been given new life; it can only be given if God’s Word has given you light, and it  is only this Word of God that can protect you from the darkness of sin that surrounds you and seeks to fill you!  This Word of God is He that is called “Faithful and True.”  He is the “Amen, the faithful and true witness,” and the absolute “Yes”, without a single no concerning the promises of God.  He is the final and absolute revelation of God, demonstrated in God’s own Son, Jesus Christ.  Jesus, the baby, Jesus the boy, Jesus the man, Jesus the crucified and resurrected Messiah is God’s final Word to you because in Him alone we find all of the purposes, plans, and promises of God.

Now, He isn’t an attribute of God, or a power that comes out of God, but a person within God.  He is the Son of God and has always been in a constant relationship with God the Father and the Holy Spirit… with One mind and One heart; the heart and mind of God!

Because the Word alone brings light and life, then all of us here this morning must admit that without the Word of God we wouldn’t, we couldn’t be alive.  But there is another kind of life that God’s Light gives us, and it is the gift of eternal life.  So the Word of God wants to take our minds out of the physical world and turn our focus onto the spiritual world.  Just as life and light are forever joined together in the physical world, in the same way they are joined in the spiritual world.  Where eternal life is given, it is only given by the Word of God.  So where true Light is, there is also the offer of spiritual life. St. John said it this way in our Gospel reading: “In Him (the Word of God) was life, and the life was the light of men.”

John uses the word “was” and not the timeless “is” because He wants to demonstrate that this Word of God entered our world in our flesh at a specific point in time; it is the time that the Word became flesh, He took on the flesh of a baby and lived among us, as one of us.  He was born and lived among us completely as one of us, but He did it without sin.

Behold your God!  Behold your salvation!  Behold the Kingdom of God, which comes to men!  Behold the Word and the light of God, which has taken on our flesh!  The Word did not stop being what He was before when He came to us, but He did become what He wasn’t… He became flesh!

The Word and Light of God has come to us, to give us faith, but He also comes to point out our unbelief.  You see there are many people who refuse the Christmas gift of God because they can’t understand this gift with their reason and logic.  They can’t accept the fact that this same Jesus who was born as a baby is also the timeless Word of God, the Only begotten of the Father, who is full of grace and truth; a Word that is the eternal God.

The Word is God’s speech, thought, and conversation with Himself and within His divine heart.  It is a conversation, a Word that is unknown to angels and men.  This Word remains unknown until God chooses to reveal it, and reveal it He has through Jesus Christ.  In Jesus the Word of God took on our flesh and proclaimed God’s love and forgiveness to us!

The creator of the world came to His creation, but His creation would not receive Him!  Why?  Isn’t He the Light that shines in the darkness?  Isn’t He the Light that reveals all truth?  Is there something wrong with the Light, the Word of God?  No, there is nothing wrong with the Light; there is something wrong with a creation that insists on living in darkness.

In our society we give a lot of respect to the men and women of science and rightly so, but when science trumps the Living Word and Light of God we can actually begin to loose God’s Light.  What I mean is this, when you let it bother you that God can’t be proven scientifically, then isn’t that kind of like lighting a candle to see the sun?

I’m afraid that the Light of God seems to make very little progress in the world because the world refuses to see Him as He chooses to present Himself.  This world of unbelief is so saturated with darkness that it doesn’t even fear God, but it does fear His light that brings them His truth and life.  Now just because the Light of God seems to make very little progress does not mean that the Light is ineffective.  In fact, I would say that we are blessed to live in this time, because the light is shining so bright right now!  It’s God’s Light that’s brought you here this morning.  It’s His light that’s brought you into the church, through Holy Baptism.  It’s the light that made you, who were once not God’s people, God’s own children!

(But) “He came to His own, and His own people did not receive Him.”  That was the greeting the Word of God was given when He was born in the manger in Bethlehem.  As wise men sought out His presence, Herod, the king of Judah sought Him out to kill Him!  Even though He would grow up to enter His office as the Savior of the World; even though He performed many miracles, signs and wonders and spoke life giving Words of faith and light, His own people crucified Him!

But we aren’t doing any better today.  When if ever, do you see the church of God, the body of Christ united together as one heart and mind, setting themselves towards the very mission of God to build the Kingdom of God?  We are so fractured and even competitive; we care more about our budgets and styles of worship than we do about reaching the lost; people who are dying without Jesus Christ.

If all Christians really believed that Jesus was the only true Light of the World and they fought to keep that belief, to share that belief, then we would really begin to see the outward expression of our faith become uniformed and united towards building His Kingdom; a Kingdom that will have no end!

Listen to what Luther said even back in His time and see if it doesn’t ring true within our own congregation: “I am preaching to all of you (here).  But how few of you improve (your lives because) of my preaching and accept the blessed Light in faith and are enlightened by it!  Indeed, my sermons find faith only in a (few) of you.  But in spite of this I am and remain the pastor and teacher of you all.”

Can you hear the frustration in Pastor Luther’s words?  What was true then is still true today: not everyone here this morning believes in the Christmas message.  But that doesn’t take away a thing from the Word of God, the Light of God, and the mission and work of Jesus Christ!  He still remains the Light which saves all people.  From the beginning of the world up till its end Jesus is the true Light.

Jesus is our Light and He is very God of very God, begotten not made.  He alone is the Word that became flesh in this world and because of that, He’s has brought us grace and truth, even love from our Heavenly Father!  He alone takes away your sins, and He alone comes into this world of sin to save you!

Behold your God!  Behold your Savior!  Behold the Kingdom of God!  Behold the Living Word of God and the Light of the World!  Behold your Creator who has come to us in our world and in our flesh.  He lives among us even still in His Word.  He is the Light that no darkness can overpower, but He remains hidden to those who will not leave the darkness of sin.

Behold your God who comes to you through other sinners who have been redeemed and saved through the Word and the waters of baptism.  They are converted sinners, just as you are now.  Behold the Word and Light of God which accepts you as you are but loves you too much to leave you as He found you.  Behold the Word and light of God, which desires to continue speaking to you and filling you with faith, all so that you can one day join Him for eternity within His Kingdom of Heaven.

Behold your God who wants to work through you as He fills you with His light and faith.  He wants to use you to draw other sinners to Himself so that they like you will also become true children of God.  This is how God builds His Kingdom: Through the Word and the Light that His Word brings.  May this Word and Light of God fill us not just this Christmas season but for all eternity.  I ask this in Jesus name… AMEN!