Summary: (I took Rodney Buchanan’s sermon and reworked it for this message). God, the Word, became flesh. Do we of flesh become the Word?
Reading of text and prayer.
Intro: Elder Rhee’s work of writing the entire New Testament on a 4x6 foot scroll in such a way that the words actually form a beautiful image of Christ and 27 angels surrounding him. (I have a print of Rhee’s image of Christ using every word from the gospel of Mark which I passed around while speaking the lesson). These can be purchased online. Just google elder Gwang Hyuk Rhee.
John 1:14 tells us that the Word who was with God and who was God became flesh and dwelt among us. Jesus is the gospel, he is the good news, not just someone who came to bring it. What do we learn from this?
1. God came to us as one of us. Phil. 2:5-11
Illustration: If I were to stand and claim to be God, what would you think? What if it were true? How could I convince you? What if I gained a following? How might that be perceived?
Jesus faced the struggle of being God and being man and revealing this truth to us. We struggle to accept it.
2. This reveals God’s heart. God wants to be with us! The impact of John 3:16 gets lost in its familiarity. But let us reconsider what it says. God sent Jesus so he could have us forever.
What kind of God wants us to be close to him and walk with him forever?
What has God done in the past to build nearness with us?
We tend to get comfortable with a God who keeps his distance so he doesn’t interfere with us all the time. We visit him at church, but leave to live for ourselves. Discipleship is walking with God all the time, just as he wants to be with us all the time.
Jesus with me all the time keeps me from doing all I want to do the way I want to do it. Why would anyone want to be with God all the time? Only if we love him.
Jesus came here knowing that we would reject him and ultimately kill him. But this was the plan.
Illustration: Booker T. Washington’s autobiography: When he was a slave as a child, he had to wear clothing made from cheap flax. It was terrible and painful, like a hundred pins sticking the flesh. His older brother would offer to take his new flax shirt and wear it until it was broken in and softened! What an act of kindness! Jesus has come to put on our flesh and brake it in! Remove the sin and soften it with the Holy Spirit’s power.
2. God become flesh also reveals our need. Illustration: Loyd Prescot, a police officer once noticed a group of hostages (3-5-1994). You can google this for an article telling of his heroic act of saving the hostages by joining them and then rescuing them all. What was Mr. Prescot thinking by doing this? He was thinking of how to save the hostages... what was God thinking by sending Jesus Christ here among us? He was thinking about saving us from our sins.
The very one who said, "The one who sins must die, came here among sinners and died in our place so we could be saved from ultimate death.
We don’t understand the danger we are in! We are worse off than we know or understand because we are dead in our trespasses and sins, but God comes to us and gives us life by his own death, breaths life into us by breathing his last on the Cross.
3. God become flesh shows us the mystery of God’s grace.
We would never have discovered this without it being revealed. He shows us the mystery that the prophets all longed to understand and reveals his love in coming to take our place.
Isaiah 53... Jesus was crushed for our iniquities, Jesus was punished for our sins, Jesus was beaten and by his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray, and the Lord has laid on him the sins of us all.
Logos - the Word - was understood as the rational principle holding the universe together. The word become word doesn’t save us. That is the law. The word become flesh... now that’s personal.
Christianity surpasses all religions in this: Our God came to us and died for us to rescue us and bring us to himself forever. Buddhists, Muslims, others, all have word become word. In Christ the word becomes flesh.
Illustration: Soren Kierkegaard tells of a prince who visits a poor village and sees a beautiful peasant that he falls in love with. He could order him to marry him, but that was not his desire. He could impress her with his royalty, but would she really love him for himself. He decided to put off his royal robes and put on the garments of a peasant and live in her village. He met her in that condition and she eventually loved him and married him.