One of the biggest hit singles of the 1990’s was a song by Joan Osborne called “One of Us.” The song earned 7 Grammy Award nominations. It’s a song of spiritual questioning and about conceiving of God in a modern age. The chorus says, “What if God was one of us? Just a slob like one of us? Just a stranger on a bus, trying to make his way home.” It was reported that when the song first began playing, radio stations where inundated with calls from listeners who were enamored by the idea that God would become one of us. That God would actually show up on our planet dressed in the frail clothing of our humanity. The full words of that song may seem irreverent and certainly the lyrics lack theological precision but they do capture in a secular hit, the heart of Christmas and the heart of the Gospel.
This morning we are going to examine the Christmas story. Not from the earthly perspective of Matthew or Luke’s Gospel but from the Heavenly perspective of the Gospel of John. In John chapter 1, verses 1-18 we find a poetic description of what Christmas is all about. It is an explanation of God becoming a man. Theologians call it the incarnation.
Proposition: This morning we’ll discuss six observations from this passage and discover how these truths can transform our lives, not just at Christmas, but every day that we live.
Heavenly Father, this morning we look back to the miracle of Christ’s coming. That you so loved us that you sent your only begotten Son into the world to redeem us. Let us never lose the wonder of your love for lost, wayward and God-rejecting people. A love that was so great that you came to earth in Christ, to walk among us, to die in our place, so that we could be in an eternal relationship with you. Enable the truth of the incarnation change us today. In Jesus name we ask this. Amen.
Let’s look at John chapter one, beginning with the first verse. John 1:1-2 “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God.”
First Compliment: The first observation we can make from this passage is that the Word is God. To the Jewish mind a word was far more than a sound. A word was something which had an active and independent existence and which actually went out from its speaker to do things. It was fearfully alive and as real and deadly as a bullet. This concept is seen in Isaiah 55:11. God says, “So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; it shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.” You could see it as His Word being sent out on a mission and then coming back when it is completed to say, “mission accomplished.” A word almost had a life and identity of its own.
The Old Testament Scripture was primarily written in the Hebrew language. Yet, the ordinary people of Jesus’ day spoke a development of Hebrew called Aramaic. When they translated the Hebrew Bible into Aramaic, the copies were called Targums. The translators of the Targums were fascinated by the transcendence of God. God was very above and far apart from man. As such they did not like to speak of God using human terms. In the Targum they would often translate the name of God as “The Word of God.” For instance Deuteronomy 9:3 says that God is a consuming fire, but the Targums translate that the Word of God is a consuming fire. They did this to avoid attributing human thoughts and actions to God. As such, Word of God became a common form of Jewish expression. The Word of God became synonymous with God Himself.