Summary: The Christmas season is about celebrating the incarnation, the time when God became a man. God visited this planet in human form over 2,000 years ago; how do we understand who our Savior is?
1. This past Tuesday, it was difficult to drive in and out of our church parking lot because of a barrage of traffic down Webster Street.
2. Where did this traffic come from? Downtown was blocked off because President Obama and Vice-President Biden were speaking at a closed meeting a few blocks away from the church.
3. City, county, state, FBI, and secret service agents were among the security team hopping to their tasks.
4. But 2,000 years ago, someone special came to visit our planet, and his security team consisted of angels, his mother and step dad, and a few nearby shepherds.
5. Who was this most special of guests, and what was his purpose in visiting we mortal humans? That is the very question John addresses in chapter one of his Gospel.
Main Idea: The Christmas season is about celebrating the incarnation, the time when God became a man. God visited this planet in human form over 2,000 years ago; how do we understand who our Savior is?
I. The Background to the Concept of God's Creative WORD (1-3)
A. The Word always was WITH God (1)
1. And God SAID
2. The HIDDEN Word: aleph tav (Greek, Alpha and Omega)
3. The Greek word for "word" is "LOGOS."
4. The Word (God the SON) has always existed
5. To be face to face with God implies a DISTINCT person
B. The Word is GOD (1b)
1. Thus worthy of praise
Psalm 56:4, "In God, whose word I praise— in God I trust and am not afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?"
2. The Jews understood that the Word was God and yet distinct; here are quotations from Targums (Aramaic paraphrases and expansions of Scriptures written by Jews for Jewish communities before, during, and shortly after the time of Jesus; additions made to the Hebrew text show their interpretation and are italicized)
The Targum on Genesis 28:20-21 reads, "If the Word of the Lord will be with me…then the Word of the LORD will be my God…"
The Targum on Genesis 1:27, "The Word of the Lord created man…"
The Targum on Exodus 20:1, "And the Word of the Lord spoke all these words…"
The Targum on Deuteronomy 1:30, "The Lord your God who leads before you, his Word will fight for you…
The Targum on Deuteronomy 4:7 places the Word on the throne of God, "The word of the Lord sits upon his throne high and lifted up and hears our prayer whenever we pray before him and make our petitions."
[source: Answering Jewish Objections to Jesus, Volume Two, by Michael Brown, pp. 19-22]
Brown also quotes Larry Hurtado's summary of the first century Jewish philosopher, Philo:
"Philo calls the Logos (word) 'the second god'… and states that the 'God' in whose image Adam was created in Genesis 1:27 is actually the Logos, which the rational part of the soul resembles…" (Brown, p. 22)
3. We make a distinction between the Eternal Word and the written Word
4. Yet there is a connection to the written and eternal, living Word
5. This is why true Christianity is a religion of the Book where Jesus' disciples have their noses in their Bibles…
C. ALL things were made through Him, no exceptions (2-3)
1. Thus he himself must be UNCREATED
Psalm 33:6, "By the word of the LORD the heavens were made,
their starry host by the breath of his mouth."
I Corinthians 8:6, "… yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live; and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live."
Hebrews 1:2, "but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe."
2. He's the AGENCY of creation, creation exists for him, he holds all together
Colossians 1:16-17, "For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together."
II. The LIVING Word Creates Light (4-13)
A. In him was LIFE, and the life is the LIGHT of men (4)
B. In the creation account, God first creates LIGHT (Genesis 1:3)
C. The offer of his light is made to ALL men (5-10)
1. Most are OBLIVIOUS to the light (5)
In 1932, Robert McGimsey attended a Christmas Eve service in New York City and then headed back to his one-room apartment. As he walked the final blocks, he passed by the open doors of private clubs where people were partying with all their might. They didn’t seem to have a clue that it was Christmas Eve, and if they did, they didn’t seem to care. As he stepped over people who had passed out on the sidewalk, he thought to himself, “What a strange way to celebrate the birth of the most perfect Person who ever lived on this earth. People are missing the whole significance of His life.”