Summary: Pastor John shows how the bible built up to the birth of Jesus, and how it shows that God has always been a loving and forgiving God.
The Word Made Flesh. Part 1
CCCAG January 28st, 2018
Scripture- John 1:14-18
When I lived in Kenosha, I volunteered at the county jail as one of the chaplains who would come in and hold services or be on call in case one of the prisoners wanted to talk to a pastor. One of the fruits of that is very occasionally, one of the prisoners who attended the service in the jail would start attending our church once they were released from jail.
I remember one of them asked me to attend a hearing on another charge that wasn’t taken care of before he had served his other sentence because of a backlog in the state crime lab. The public defender was going to argue that the case be dismissed because the system was denying his client his right to a speedy trail. If it wasn’t dismissed that morning, he was looking at potentially 10 years in state prison.
As we sat outside the courtroom, the time passed that the case was to be called. Then the bailiff came out and said that the judge had a sudden family emergency and they were trying to move his cases to one of the 7 other judges so we should just wait for a few minutes while they figure it out.
A few minutes later, the bailiff came back out holding a sheet of paper and announced the last names of the cases, the time, courtroom, and judge that the cases assigned to the judge who had left were assigned.
The case my friend had was reassigned from a judge who was known to be fair and somewhat merciful to Judge Bruce Schroeder.
The person I was there with immediately fell apart and started crying. Judge Schroeder has a nickname among the criminals in Kenosha County as “The Hammer”.
Judge Schroeder is the favorite of the police and District Attorney’s because of his harsh treatment of law breakers and the long sentences he gave. He rarely sided with defense attorney’s in his rulings, and had very little mercy on anyone who stood before his bench.
IF the law said 10 years, you got ten years. If he could legally add to the sentence “with no chance of parole”, you got that added on.
He was also in the paper a lot for the long editorial comments he would rant from the bench on law breakers. It would then end with a huge slam from his extra-large judges gavel before the guards led them off to be sent to prison.
Many people look at God as being like Judge Schroeder- merciless, and taking great joy in using the law to crush people before leveling the maximum sentence allowable by law.
About 10 years ago, Sociologists from Baylor University released the results of a study looking into America's different views of God. Part of the study was a survey conducted by the Gallup organization, which identified four distinct views of God's personality and interaction with the world. Baylor researchers outlined the results as follows:
• Those who believe in an "Authoritarian God" who is "angry at humanity's sins and engaged in every creature's life and world affairs": 31.4 percent.
• Those who believe in a "Critical God" who "has his judgmental eye on the world, but he's not going to intervene, either to punish or comfort": 16 percent.
• Those who believe in a "Distant God" who is more of a "cosmic force that launched the world, then left it spinning on its own": 24.4 percent.
• Those who believe in a "Benevolent God" who is forgiving and accepting of anyone who repents: 23 percent.
That’s a large and divergent view of God isn’t it?
These are not new views though. They have existed for century’s.
For the Apostle John, who’s Gospel we are reading, God to him growing up in Galilee in the 1st century was seen as a Judge Schroeder, or an authoritarian critical God that wanted to use the law found in the Old Testament to pound lawbreakers over the head and send them straight to the fires of hell.
Then Jesus came.
John describes it this way-
John 1:14-18 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. 15 (John bore witness about him, and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.’ ”) 16 For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. 17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known.