Summary: Jesus has given us the greatest Christmas gift; the gift of Himself.
The Christmas Gift
Text: John 1:14-18
1. Illustration: Why would we feel like it’s an imposition to go to Church on Christmas Day? How ironic to think of Worshiping Jesus as an interruption to His birthday celebration! It reminds me of a story I heard about a mother who was running furiously from store to store on Christmas Eve … trying to get those last-minute gifts. Suddenly she realized she’d lost track of her little 3-year-old son. In a panic, she retraced her steps and found him standing with his little nose pressed flatly against a frosty window. He was gazing at a Manger Scene. When he heard his mother call his name, he turned and shouted in innocent glee: "Look Mommy! It’s JESUS! Baby Jesus is in the hay !" The harried mom grabbed his arm and jerked him away, snapping, "We don’t have time for all that! Can’t you see that Mommy’s trying to get ready for Christmas!?!"
2. You know we spend a lot of energy and money on gifts for Christmas, but the greatest Christmas gift has already been given on the day that Jesus Christ was born.
3. The great Christmas gift is...
a. A Gift of Presence
b. A Gift That Keeps On Giving
4. Let’s all stand together as we read John 1:14-18
Proposition: Jesus has given us the greatest Christmas gift; the gift of Himself.
Transition: First, we should understand that the Christmas gift is...
I. A Gift of Presence (14-15, 18).
A. The Word Became Human
1. John has been talking so far in his Gospel about "the Word."
a. First, he makes clear that the Word was and is God.
b. Now, however, he is going to make the most astounding statement of all.
2. He says, "So the Word became human..."
a. This is one of the most important phrases in all the Bible.
b. John makes a very powerful and blunt statement. He says that the Word became human.
c. The Greek literally reads "and the Word became flesh."
d. He uses a term that put the incarnation of Jesus in its true light. He was dealing with a group of people who were teaching that Jesus only appeared to be human.
e. They believed that God would not defile himself by having real contact with humans.
f. However, John goes one step further. Not only did the Word have contact with humans, but he also became one. In one short but powerful phrase John gets to the heart of the Gospel by saying that the Word became human in order to save us from our sins.
g. Note the contrast between vv. 1 and 14. Verse 1 states that the Word "was," referring to its permanent condition or state, while v. 14 states that the Word "became" flesh, involving a change in state.
h. This is the basic statement of the Incarnation, for Christ entered into a new dimension of existence through the gateway of human birth and took up his residence among men.
3. John then takes it a step further saying, "...and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son."
a. The term translated "and made his home among us," is the term "tabernacled."
b. The term had come to refer to those who settled down in a permanent place.
c. John wants to remind us of the tabernacle in the Old Testament, and this is obvious by his use of the word "glory."
d. It was in the tabernacle in the Old Testament that God verified his presence among the people by allowing His glory to rest in the tabernacle.
e. Exodus 40:34-35 (NLT)
34 Then the cloud covered the Tabernacle, and the glory of the LORD filled the Tabernacle. 35 Moses could no longer enter the Tabernacle because the cloud had settled down over it, and the glory of the LORD filled the Tabernacle.
f. John emphasizes this fact by repeating the word "glory," and by clearly stating that the glory was seen in the person of Jesus (Morris, 91-93).
4. John now builds a bridge between the Word’s coming and His purpose by referring back to John the Baptist. He says, "John testified about him when he shouted to the crowds, “This is the one I was talking about when I said, ‘Someone is coming after me who is far greater than I am, for he existed long before me.’”
a. "Far greater than" is the translation of an adverb that denotes positional precedence, whereas "before" refers to rank of importance.
b. Jesus surpassed John because he was intrinsically greater (Tenney).
c. The reason the Word was far greater than John the Baptist is His eternal existence. Long before John was even thought Jesus was already there.