Summary: 1) The Word 2) became flesh 3) and dwelt among us A sermon looking at the the theology and implications of Jesus becoming flesh... being born.
“The word became flesh, and dwelt among us”- The Incarnation
Jn 1:1-14 Sun 22.12.02am
It was late at night and Heidi, who was expecting her second child, was home alone with her 3 year old daughter, Katelyn. Heidi started to go into labour and called 911.
Due to a power outage at the time, only one paramedic was able to respond to the call.
The house was very, very dark, so the paramedic asked Katelyn to hold a flashlight high over her mommy so he could see while he helped deliver the baby.
Very diligently, Katelyn did as she was asked. Heidi pushed and pushed, and after a little while Connor was born.
The paramedic lifted him by his feet, and spanked him on his bottom. Connor began to cry. The paramedic then thanked Katelyn for her help, and asked the wide eyed 3 year old Katelyn what she thought about what she had just witnessed. Katelyn quickly responded, "He shouldn’t have crawled in there in the first place. Spank him again."
- lots about birth etc this morning. Maybe a bit ‘earthy’ in bits- but as I go on, you’ll understand why. My text is v14
What is ‘the Word’? Maybe you haven’t asked this question?
- maybe just think it’s a reference to ‘the Bible’
o actually – it’s not. Though is something to do with communicating
The first occurrence of this word/ concept (the Logos) does not appear in the Bible- but in Gk literature, culture. The logos was
- the divine, ruling principle of the universe
- eternal. Divine. And an intermediary between God and man
o the ‘interface’ if you like… ‘internet’
So- the concept is in Gk culture, but this record slightly changes it-> goes further with the concept
1) believed in many gods. Here:
- echoes of Gen 1 “in the beginning GOD”… “in the beginning was the WORD”
o and the word WAS God and was with God
§ (sorry: JW’s are wrong on that bit!)
o unpacks how God did it at the start: He did it with/through Jesus.
§ He spoke the Word and it was (talk doesn’t come cheap to God. Speaking and it happening are synonymous)
· In fact same word used for ‘word’ and ‘event’ in Hebrew
o Eternal; with God in beginning. Pre-existent
So- something this passage makes clear is the Divinity of Jesus. That He was/is FULLY God. But that’s not the main point of my talk this morning.
2) despised ‘earthy’ things
to them: why God needed an intermediary… the word… is because God… the gods.. wouldn’t dare ‘soil his hands’ with earthy things.
- in fact, God would only touch earth through LAYERS of intermediaries
- the ‘spirit’ counted for everything. ‘the body’ was worthless, despicable. Neglect it, worship it or abuse it
Not so unlike our thoughts, today. True to say: our culture and even Christianity has been more influenced by Gk thought… than Biblical
They would NEVER have thought THIS was possible:
God… the Word would never have done this! It was abhorrent, offensive (to both Gks and Jews- who DID value the world/earth) and a waste of time to Gks (why bother?)
Actually- we… and history… have often made the same error. Truly!
Around… soon after… this was written a movement/cult arose that tried hard to pull Christianity off course
- Gnosticism. Flesh didn’t matter. Jesus wasn’t fully human. ‘knowledge is what mattered’
o 2nd century Gnostic- Valentinus “Jesus ate and drank, but didn’t defecate”
§ because , of course, God wouldn’t do that!
- Doceitism- Jesus only SEEMED human. Wasn’t really
In his book ‘the unbearable lightness of being’, Czech novelist Milan Kundera describes his thought processes as a child- that God has a mouth… and therefore must have intestines- and how he recoiled thinking such thoughts sacrilegious
- he describes our desire to distil out of real life the nice and the nasty… and separate the two
- Nice, sanitised, Christmas cards – the ‘silent night’… blissful while our lives are anything but! And Christmas is actually full of drunkenness and flatulence
- ‘Nothing wrong with it’- you say. Well – he recognises that the sanitised world view necessitates a gutter, dump, where all the nasty things and imperfect people are placed
o the ghetto and the concentration camp
He’s got a point. Maybe the whole problem with our Christmas… Christianity even, is not that’s too materialistic
- but not MATERIALISTIC ENOUGH. Of the real kind
- > the Word became FLESH
Earlier this year the Catholic League of America was up in arms about an exhibition in Napa, California… because the crib scene included a traditional Catalan figure called a ‘Caganer’. A bloke near the crib with his trousers around his ankles. They were offended by someone defecating in the Holy Stable