Summary: Part of our "Theosaurus" series - Shows some of the theological underpinnings for and implications of incarnation, showing from John 1 (et al), that the logos has always existed, that Jesus is this logos, that Jesus participated in creation, and that God
Theosaurus: “Incarnation” (John 1:1-4, 9-16)
2010.05.16 (Pt 4 of 5, with others to follow) – Scott Wakefield
Good morning! :o) Pass out handouts. Open to John 1 if you haven't already. (Keep thumb there because we'll come back to it in just a minute.)
We’ve listed Scriptures on handouts so you can be prepared to follow along in your Bibles… So that you can be prepared to follow along, we’re gonna be looking up every verse listed in the handout, and in the same order listed there… We live in a Christian culture where people increasingly don’t know the books of the Bible and can’t look up verses, so we may experiment with no Scriptures on the wall during sermons for a bit… We want you to get used to having to actually look up verses and follow along in Scripture… We want you to have to get used to bringing your Bible on Sundays… Some of you may wanna invest in large print Bibles if you need.
Pray some sorta variation of “Speak, O Lord,” by Keith/Kristyn Getty, “Speak, O Lord, as we come to you / To receive the food of Your Holy Word. / Take Your truth, plant it deep in us; / Shape and fashion us in Your likeness.” … For the sake of Your Kingdom and glory. > Put down Bible.
God “With” Us
“WITH” is an incredibly powerful word. It’s a tipping point word. When you add the word “with,” it changes things… a bond is created. “He’s with me.” “She’s with child.” “Play with us.” “With” is a preposition, which means it’s a bridging word that expresses the relationship between two words/clauses… Theologically, “with” is a word that connects people together.
For example, we all know that the best way to show love is not just to say it, but it is to show it… to be with… “with” is personal demonstration of the reality of something. When you like someone, you want to be “with” them… you hold hands, you eat together, you study together (ok, you “study” together), and then she tells you you’re gonna get married and be with her all the time… :o) When you take vows in marriage, to have and to hold, for richer and poorer, in sickness and in health, it’s a vow to be fully “with” that person.
This is why at Christmas we call Jesus “IMMANUEL,” (spell with I or an E… both acceptable)… God With US, because it’s how God as an intellectual concept of truth, purity, and holiness, becomes real… “with” is the personal demonstration of the truth that God loves us… “Immanuel” means “God with us.” That’s what incarnation is all about.
Incarnation is a Latin word that means, “in flesh.” And no, it doesn’t have anything to do with flowers! :o) It means that God comes down to us. You could say he descends to be with us, literally he descends to be on our level… to be “with” us. God, the infinite and holy God who created the Universe… comes down to be “with” us. How crazy is that?! :o)
Us NOT With God
But we do a pretty good job of messing up this God “with” us relationship, don’t we?! :o) Instead of living “with” lives that create bridges, our sin and rebellion against God create “apart” lives… What we might call Us “Not With” God lives… When we live separately from God’s designs for us, we are not living as God intended. And the especially crazy part that illustrates our sin most tangibly is that we don’t have “with” God kind of relationship unless He comes down to us. We can’t make it happen ourselves, in our flesh.
Enter Jesus… Turn to John 1 if you haven’t already. There are lots of passages in Scripture that speak about incarnation. There are lots of other ways to describe what incarnation means and its function and purpose, but we’re going to focus today on its basic meaning as God coming to us “in the flesh” in the form of Jesus as seen in John 1.
“In the beginning was the Word” – v 1a
This phrase here in John, “In the beginning was the Word” echoes the opening phrase of the book of Genesis, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” God created “all things,” which is meant by that Hebrew phrase “the heavens and the earth.”
John uses this phrase, “in the beginning” on purpose… If you were a Jew and you heard these words, “In the beginning,” your ears would perk up because it sounds exactly like Genesis 1:1 and everyone knew this phrase. “In the beginning… In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” These would ring loud and clear to all Jews hearing it as the creation story in Gen 1.