Sermon on John 1:1-14
Praise the Word Made Flesh
1. Fully God
2. Full of light and life
3. Full of grace and truth
Text: John 1:1-14
There are some things in life that are so great, so grand, that they take your breath away. These are things that leave even the most talkative and opinionated person speechless. Stand at the rim of the Grand Canyon looking 10 miles out and one mile down. Stand at the foot of the Rocky Mountains and look 15,000 feet up to one of the peaks. Stay up late and watch a lunar eclipse. Or though we are used to it, stand on the shore of an ocean and ponder breadth and depth of the water.
These sights, and many more, fill us with awe and wonder. They put a huge “WOW” in our hearts. And they cause us to fall on our knees to praise God. Only he could have created such marvelous things.
This morning there lies before us words of equal magnitude. They are words so sublime that they transcend human understanding. They are words so important and so holy that a pastor trembles when speaking them. They are words so great, so grand, so glorious, so majestic and mysterious, that only God himself could have penned them—as indeed he did. They are words that put a huge “WOW” in our hearts. And they are words that cause us to fall on our knees to praise God.
Indeed, as we look closely on this Christmas Day at the words of John 1, we can only but Praise the Word Made Flesh.
Go ahead, try and comprehend it. You can’t and you won’t. You could be Leonardo Da Vinci. You could be Albert Einstein. You could have a BA, MA, or even a PhD. It’s impossible to grasp. I tried it the other day. I was holding my baby Gwendolyn and I tried to imagine that the baby was also God. It hurt my brain just to try.
How could the God that made all things become like one of the things he made? How could the God that is everywhere at once fit himself into a little baby? How could the God that has all power and glory be placed so humbly and lowly in a manger?
We cannot understand it, yet this is the miracle and mystery of the incarnation. John explains it: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.” Then verse 14: “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.”
Teetering on the edge of redundancy, John makes it absolutely clear beyond any shadow of a doubt that this babe of Bethlehem, Jesus Christ, is fully God. Jesus was in the beginning. He wasn’t made or created. He was with God with in the beginning. If that isn’t clear enough, John says it plainly, “The Word was God.”
Everything in this world was created by him and through him. He is the one that said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. He is the one that set the stars in the sky and placed the planets in their orbits. He is the one that breathed the breath of life into man. Let there be no doubt about this Word made flesh, he is fully God. As we peer into the manger to behold this tiny baby that is both true man and true God, we marvel at this mysterious miracle.
But we also marvel that our God could love us this much. To think that the God to whom belongs all glory would come live among us is astounding! To think that the God who has all power would humble himself to be born with human flesh is amazing! To think that the God who deserves all praise would subject himself to pain and suffering is astonishing!
Indeed, as we behold the Word made flesh this morning, our human minds are filled past capacity and our reasoning is pushed beyond its limits as we hear that this child is both true man and true God. Yet we are filled with even more wonder and awe—with a huge “WOW” in our hearts—when we hear that this Word made flesh came for us to save us. This morning we fall on our knees and Praise the Word Made Flesh who is fully God.
This is a dark and dreary world that we live in, and not just during winter when the daylight hours are cut short. This is a world filled with wickedness and sin. Don’t be fooled by holiday cheer and “the Christmas spirit.” Don’t be fooled by heart-warming stories of generous philanthropists or people who “do the right thing.” Those things only mask the work of Satan in this world.
You can hardly find a TV show, commercial, movie, book, magazine, web page, or song that isn’t filled with sexual overtones, if not explicit sexual content itself. The language that is used in these forms of media has gone from bad to worse as the FCC has lowered the bar to allow almost anything these days. The things that our eyes are used to seeing and our ears are used to hearing would have been unimaginable a few decades ago. If you want an example of how far things have gone and how shameful our society is, watch the Oscars in February for when an actress accepts an award in a dress that is see-through, takes the Lord’s name in vain several times, and then thanks God for giving her the award for her beyond R-rated movie.
The government is restricting and pushing back on Christianity more and more. Meanwhile, sexual freedoms, lifestyle choices, and other “rights” are heralded as if this is another Great Awakening in the world. What a dark and sinful world we live in.
But we dare not point the finger at the government, celebrities, or the rich and famous. Who listens to their songs and watches their movies and TV shows and buys their magazines and books? We do. Who is molded by the society around us so that we tolerate and even incorporate certain levels of sinfulness? We are and we do. In Israelite days, if you said, “Oh my Lord,” or “Oh my God,” you would stoned to death. In my father’s day, you would have your mouth washed out with soap. Today, it’s just another expression of excitement.
It’s not just this. Everything we do is tainted by sin. Greed. Envy. Jealousy. Anger. Rage. Slander. Gossip. Lying. Cheating. Cursing. Swearing. Our lives are filled with all kinds of shameful sins—our thoughts, our words, our actions—everything we do falls short of God’s demands for perfection.
It was in this world of darkness and death that the Word became flesh. He came for a specific reason. Verse 4: “In him was life, and that life was the light of men.” Jesus later said, “I am the light of the world.” Jesus came to shine brightly in this world of darkness. Jesus came to bring life to a world of death.
Indeed, he shines brightly as something far different than this world. Unlike all other people, Jesus lived without the darkness of sin. His life shines brightly with righteousness and perfection. He is full of life because he lived the perfect life we could not.
Even in his death, he was shining brightly. Hidden beneath all the bruises and blood, buried under the mass of our sins and guilt, a victory cry emerged from the cross. “It is finished,” he cried out as he finished and accomplished the forgiveness of all sins and the salvation of mankind. He even rose from death to life to prove it. He is full of life because he won and gives eternal life.
This light shines brightly in the world, but the world has not understood it. Even with John the Baptist testifying about Jesus, the world did not understand him. Even though he came to that which was his own and which he created, the world did not recognize or receive him.
Yet—verse 12—“To all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God—children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.” This light of the world has shone on us and in our hearts. This light has created a faith and trust in him and in his name. Through that faith we have a new life. We have a new life as God’s own dearly loved children.
That God would love you and me—sinners—this much fills us with wonder and awe. It puts a huge “WOW” in our hearts and minds and leads us to fall on our knees and Praise the Word Made Flesh who is full of light and life.
When it comes to the miracle of the incarnation, the Word becoming flesh, there are really two questions that we ask which cause such awe and wonder. First we ask, “How can this be possible?” Then we ask, “Could this really be for me?” John answers both of our questions in the last verse. “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”
How could this be possible, that God would take on human flesh? We don’t know. But nothing is impossible with God. Further, it surely did happen. John and the other apostles saw it with their own eyes. They saw Jesus turn water into wine. They saw Jesus walk on water, calm the storm, heal the sick. They saw Jesus shining on the mount of Transfiguration. They saw and touched Jesus risen from the dead. That true man was surely also true God. They saw it, and as we read their words, we see it with our eyes of faith.
But then we ask, “How could this really be for me?” How could God love me after what I have done? Why would God come to die for me? How could I really be forgiven? Ah, but you see, Jesus also came “full of grace and truth.” Grace is God’s undeserved love. Grace is love without regard for who a person is or what a person has done. Jesus came full of such grace—grace which loves and forgives sinners though they don’t deserve it. Jesus came to fulfill the truth and to testify to the truth that all who believe in him are saved by him.
This fills us with awe and wonder. This puts a big “WOW” in our hearts and minds. This causes us to fall on our knees and Praise the Word Made Flesh who is full of grace and truth.
With trembling hands we hold the words, with trembling ears we hear the words, and with trembling hearts we believe the words this morning. The Word was made flesh. He is fully God. He is full of light and life. He is full of grace and truth. Jesus Christ is the Word made flesh, and he is fully your Savior. Hear it. Believe it. Know it. Praise it.
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Posted on December 26, 2010, in Church, Sermons and tagged Christmas, Christmas Day, Church, Deity of Christ, Incarnation, John, John 1, Sermons, Word Made Flesh. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.