Summary: The Gospel of John states that God has sent the Word to us in Jesus. In him is the originator of good news about what life can be when we receive it in on his terms.
The Advent and Christmas season focus on the coming and birth of Jesus Christ. We read and sing about the baby Jesus, angels, shepherds, infancy stories, and wise men. It is all marvelous stuff, but what does it really mean?
Today’s Scripture text for the sermon explains it. John 1:1-18 is one of the most magnificent pieces of literature ever written.
John 1:1-18 is often called “the prologue,” and it is. It is an introduction to the entire Gospel of John. But John 1:1-18 is also like an “overture,” in the sense that it introduces some key themes and words which John will use over and over in the course of his Gospel. And yet, like many musical overtures, it also stands alone in its own right, and is heard on many different occasions.
Let us read John 1:1-18:
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. 4 In him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7 He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him. 8 He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light.
9 The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. 11 He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. 12 But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.
14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. 15 (John bore witness about him, and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.’ ”) 16 And from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. 17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known. (John 1:1–18)
Do you like sunrises?
Early risers who see the rising of the sun see great beauty as darkness turns to light. Sunrises are glorious reminders that God has given us a new day to begin life. Sunrises speak to us about a new beginning with potential, possibility, and a positive future.
We can never undo the previous day’s actions and happenings. Unlike filming for a scene in a movie, we don’t have the opportunity to have two, three, four, or a dozen “re-takes” in order to get it right. We must move into a new day knowing that yesterdays blunders, mistakes, and sins actually took place.
But a sunrise is a reminder to us that we can begin each new day with optimism. A sunrise reminds us that it is indeed a new day to begin life, a new day to begin again, a new day to begin afresh. A sunrise reminds us that while we have breath God delights to turn darkness into light.
The Gospel of John states that God has sent the Word to us in Jesus. In him is the originator of good news about what life can be when we receive it on his terms.
I. The Beginning of Life Is in the Word (1:1-5)
First, the beginning of life is in the Word.
John says in John 1:1-5, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”
Have you ever tried to give directions to someone who speaks another language? It can be very frustrating for both parties. In an episode of “I Love Lucy,” Lucy tells Ricky she won’t let him talk to their baby until little Ricky is 25 because big Ricky will have the poor kid confused with his mixed-up Spanish and English.