The Amazing Jesus Christ
1. Most people know that Christmas celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ, but they really do not understand as much as we think they do.
In a small Southern town there was a "Nativity Scene" that showed great skill and talent had gone into creating it. One small feature bothered me. The 3 wise men were wearing firemen's helmets. Totally unable to come up with a reason or explanation, I left.
At a "Quick Stop" on the edge of town, I asked the lady behind the counter about the helmets. She exploded into a rage, yelling at me, "You Yankees never do read the Bible!" I assured her that I did, but simply couldn't recall anything about firemen in the Bible. She jerked her Bible from behind the counter and ruffled through some pages, and finally jabbed her finger at a passage. Sticking it in my face she said
"See, it says right here, 'The three wise man came from afar.'" [source: www.humormatters.com]
2. We all need to know the details of the Christmas story AND the theology behind it.
3. Jesus did not come as a great social reformer, but he came to make us right with God.
Main Idea: Many people know or knew God in a partial sense, but through Jesus Christ we can know him deeply.
I. The Word BECAME Flesh (14)
A. Review: the Word was with God and was GOD (1)
B. The Word BECAME flesh
1. The DIVINE nature of Jesus had no beginning
2. The HUMAN nature of Jesus DID have a beginning
• Illustration: You can lose or gain weight, have plastic surgery, whiten your teeth, dye your hair, build your muscles and learn to walk with better balance, but you are still you. The idea of the infinite God becoming a man, however, is much more than mere cosmetics. The created human nature of Jesus was melded to the uncreated divine nature of the Son of God to form one Person with two wills, wills that always co-operated.
• God joined himself to the human race.
• Odes of Solomon, 7:4-6, "He became like me, that I might receive Him. In form He was considered like me, that I might put Him on…"
• And I trembled not when I saw Him, because He was gracious to me.
• Like my nature He became, that I might understand Him. And like my form, that I might not turn away from Him.
• These concepts are not novel to John but based upon passages in Isaiah:
Isaiah 44:6, “This is what the LORD says— Israel’s King and Redeemer, the LORD Almighty: I am the first and I am the last; apart from me there is no God."
Isaiah 45:22-23, “Turn to me and be saved, all you ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is no other. By myself I have sworn, my mouth has uttered in all integrity a word that will not be revoked: Before me every knee will bow; by me every tongue will swear.
[note: Philippians 2:5-11 in my opinion is a Midrash on this passage combined with Isaiah 59:16, 20 the verses below]
Isaiah 59:16, "He saw that there was no one, he was appalled that there was no one to intervene; so his own arm achieved salvation for him, and his own righteousness sustained him." [this is also the background to Revelation 5:2-5]
Isaiah 59:20, “'The Redeemer will come to Zion, to those in Jacob who repent of their sins,' declares the LORD."
C. The incarnation was pictured in the TABERNACLE
1. He TABERNACLED with us
Everyone of us has something called "human capital." Our personality's strong points, our ability to relate to others, our skills, our experiences, our training and areas of giftedness. When God became man, he brought not only human capital, but divine capital.
"He is not full of the news of grace and truth, but of grace and truth themselves." Charles Spurgeon In other words, Jesus did not merely come to reveal truth and teach of grace, although he did that. But he is the source of grace and truth.
2. The SHEKINAH showed forth in Jesus
The Net Bible commentary reads, "The Greek word translated took up residence (σκηνόω, skhnow) alludes to the OT tabernacle, where the Shekinah, the visible glory of God’s presence, resided. The author is suggesting that this glory can now be seen in Jesus... The verb used here may imply that the Shekinah glory that once was found in the tabernacle has taken up residence in the person of Jesus."
3. This GLORY was demonstrated in the Transfiguration
II. The Word Invaded HISTORY (15-17)
A. John TESTIFIED to his superiority (15)
B. Those TRANSFORMED by him testify to his grace (16)
Have you been transformed?
C. He is the historical counterpart to MOSES (17)
D. He ushered in an era of greater GRACE and deeper TRUTH (18)
III. The Incarnate Word is The ONLY Way to Know God Fully (18)
A. No MAN has ever seen God unfiltered
B. Only GOD can explain God
C. We can only know the true God through JESUS Christ
• Not by human effort, but by that grace John has been talking about.
• Theologian Charles Hodge explained the relationship between divine grace and the human heart. “The doctrines of grace humble a man without degrading him and exalt him without inflating him.” [source: Sermon Central]
IV. What This MEANS to You and Me
A. Life's most important goal is to come to know God; God initiated the process, we respond; that's why Jesus came.
B. Once we know God, our next goal is to know him better and honor him in all
C. Our pursuit of growing in Jesus Christ should be intense; it must focus on study and then obedience; we are not cured from our ills by making decisions, but by maturing in the Lord, and that takes effort and routine.