Summary: A textual sermon on John 1:14 (Outline taken from John S Meyer's booklet "Outline for Christmas Sermons" from Baker Book House, # 33 The Miracle of Christmas)
One of 1995’s biggest singles was Joan Osborne’s “One of Us.” It made a virtually unknown singer an overnight sensation. It’s a song of spiritual questioning and about conceiving of God in a modern age. These are some of the words of that song: “If God had a name, what would it be,
and would you call it to his face, if you were faced with him, in all His Glory,
what would you ask if You had just one question…Chorus: What if God was one of us? Just a slob like one of us? Just a stranger on a bus, trying to make his way home.
Those lyrics concerned some conservative Christians groups because of their irreverent tone. I’m not claiming that the song has any of the right answers, But that question, “What if God was one us?” could very well be the most important question ever asked this side of heaven. The central question in all of history.
Many marvelous things surrounding the birth of Christ. That he was born in Bethlehem.
Angel came and told shepherds and they went to the scene. Providential but not miraculous
Miracle is an event that is contrary to the established laws of nature. Not really miracles until we talk about the star. “After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen in the east went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was.” Matthew 2:9, NIV.
Virgin birth is a miracle. Experienced only by Mary. Joseph had a struggle.
But the incarnation of the Son of God was the greatest miracle of Christmas. Didn’t talk specifically about John 1:14 last week. Focusing on this one verse this morning.
Thesis: From vs. 14 let’s talk about the incarnation, the identification, and the intervention of the Son of God.
The Incarnation (The Word became flesh)
The meaning of the word incarnation. The word come from Latin and means “in the flesh.”
Jewish thinking of God coming in the flesh. “We are not stoning you for any of these,” replied the Jews, “but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God.” John 10:33
The Gentile thinking of God coming in the flesh. “What the king asks is too difficult. No-one can reveal it to the king except the gods, and they do not live among men.”” Daniel 2:11, NIV.
The longing for it among mankind. “When the crowd saw what Paul had done, they shouted in the Lycaonian language, “The gods have come down to us in human form!” Barnabas they called Zeus, and Paul they called Hermes because he was the chief speaker.” Acts 14:11, 12. A legend had it that in that region an elderly couple named Baucis and Philemon (not in NT) gave hospitality unawares to Zeus and Hermes, visiting incognito.
Stories of the Gentiles gods coming to earth disguised as humans, never would they be born as a baby and limit themselves in that way. They did this to have malicious fun with mankind or to experience pleasure of a sensual nature with men or women. Stories of them having children by these lovers. Nothing of holiness or righteousness in these accounts.
The Word was made flesh.
What is flesh? It is human nature. For Jesus Christ, it meant being confined to the flesh in time (left heavenly time, eternity, and came into the time of creation- Max Lucado points this out - When Jesus came to earth he heard for the very first time as phrase never used in heaven - He heard, “Your time is up”. Think about that. As a child he had to leave the Temple because His time was up. As a Savior he had to die because his time was up. Imagine what it would be like to never have to know about schedules or appointments or calandars and suddenly have to follow the clock) space (limited because now he could no longer be everywhere but only at one place at that point in time), and abilities (because part of our time and space).
It is weakness, fatigue (Jesus got tired), sorrow (“he began to be deeply distressed and troubled. “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death,” he said Mark 14:33, 34), and suffering (“But this is how God fulfilled what he had foretold through all the prophets, saying that his Christ would suffer.” Acts 3:18).
With us ( made his dwelling among us). ““The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel”--which means, “God with us.”” Matthew 1:23, NIV.
Meaning “he tabernacled among us” For 33 years Jesus Christ tabernacled among us. The word "dwelt", means to pitch his tent and it's the idea that He really came to live with us. He reduced Himself to become a part of our system, a part of our culture, a part of our world, a part of what we are. He was one of us. Mary Ellen Ashcroft- "As Christians we have focused on the saving death of Christ but thrown out the Incarnation in our Christmas wrappings. As we cover God with Christmas, we hide what is most distinctive about Christianity. And this is the tragedy: What many don’t know about Christianity is that God has chosen to identify with their pain, their humanness, their flesh.”