Summary: Third message in a series whose purpose is to introduce us to the Bible and to encourage daily use of the Bible. Today’s focus is to introduce us to Christ - the Eternal Word - in the Scriptures.
[Start the sermon with Scene 3 from the movie, The Passion of the Christ]. There are innumerable connections between the Old Testament and the New Testament, especially as it concerns the Lord Jesus. This scene from the movie, The Passion of the Christ relates part of the suffering of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane just before He was arrested. In this scene, a powerful connection is made between the first promise of salvation from the Old Testament – Genesis 3.15 – and the suffering and torment of Jesus in Gethsemane. As we see Jesus crush the head of the snake, we are powerfully connected to the very first Gospel Lesson given by the Lord God when He told the serpent, “I will put enmity between you and the woman and between your offspring and hers. He will crush your head, but you will strike his heel.”
Another issue that we face is simply the notion that God seems so abstract for us that it is difficult to relate to His promises of being constantly with us. When Jesus says, “I will be with you to the very end of the world,” (Mat 28.20b) it is hard for us to relate to that because we want a Jesus with skin. Here’s where a relationship with Christ through his Word can become powerfully tangible and real to us.
As we saw last week, both the Old and New Testament have one central message and focus, Jesus Christ. That is what the Bible’s main message is all about. Martin Luther, in fact says: The Bible is the cradle where Christ is laid. It is the Bible that brings us the Christ and that lets us look upon Him and get to know Him. That is a powerful role for the Bible. Another way of saying this is: “The Bible is the manger in which the baby Jesus lies.”
The Bible is the vehicle that brings Jesus to us. That is why God gave us the Scriptures. Saint John tells us: “I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.” (1 John 5.13) And Saint John also writes: “But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” (John 20.31) And Saint Paul writes: “From infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.” (2 Timothy 3.15)
The Bible opens us a richer fuller relationship with Christ for us. We can come to know our maker and Creator more intimately by connecting to Him in his Word. He will veritably jump out off the pages of Scripture for us. But there are some things that we do need to be careful about. First – it is Christ – the living Word - that we worship. We do not worship the vehicle that brings us Christ – that is the pages and the ink and the binding of the Bible. We have to be careful not to let our love and reverence for God’s Word to turn into reverence for the physical book – that would be idolatry.
Another concern we must engage is to understand that we have lots of information coming at us in the Bible. Some portions of the Bible are beautiful and full testimonies full of truth about Jesus. However, there are portions of the Bible that do not speak as clearly to the role of Christ. When portions of the Bible do not point to Christ or reveal who Jesus is, these sections of the Bible are simply not to be considered as important as those that do.
My hope today is to introduce you to this picture of Christ in the Scriptures: Jesus Christ the eternal Word through Whom everything was made. To do this, let’s open our Bibles to Genesis, chapter one. That is where everything starts. In fact, the very first words of Scripture are: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” (Genesis 1.1) This refers to the time before any human eye was around to record or to investigate. In the verses that follow, we get to see how God engaged the task of Creation. I’d like for us to focus more on the “How” – that is the process God used rather than the “What”. To do this, I’d like for us to zero in on a few words repeated time and again:
• Gen 1.3: AND GOD SAID ... and there was light! (day & night) – day 1
• Gen 1.6: AND GOD SAID ... and the waters were divided! (Expanse separates the waters above from the waters below) – day 2