Summary: Out text is another way of telling the Christmas story... The Word became flesh and lived among us and we have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
Text: John 1:1-18
Thesis: Our text is the Christmas story. There is no Mary and Joseph. There are no shepherds and sheep. There are no angels singing on high. There are no magi following yonder star. There is neither manger nor stable. Yet it is another way of telling the Christmas story.
When Bonnie and I were in college there was a popular place to eat on North Snelling Avenue in St. Paul. It was about a block or so north of University Avenue, on the west side of the street. It was called Sweden House and it was famous for its smorgasbord. The buffet was a veritable feast of breads, salads, sides, entrees and desserts. The great temptation, of course, was to load your plate and chow down but a more measured and wiser way to approach it was to take a sampling of several of the offerings. Rather than gobble ones way through the smorgasbord, consequently stuffing yourself early on… you could nibble your way enjoying a little of this and a little of that.
We are going to nibble our way through the text today. We could fill our plates with any one of the words we are going to talk about but rather than stuffing ourselves on one word, we will nibble on several.
The first word is Word.
I. The Word: Word
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. John 1:1-3
I am afraid that most of us have probably created Jesus into an image that appeals to our sentiments.
• There’s the Republican Jesus—who is against tax increases and activist judges, for family values and owning firearms.
• There’s Democrat Jesus—who is against Wall Street and Wal-Mart, for reducing our carbon footprint and printing money.
• There’s Therapist Jesus—who helps us cope with life’s problems, heals our past, tells us how valuable we are and not to be so hard on ourselves.
• There’s Starbucks Jesus—who drinks fair trade coffee, loves spiritual conversations, drives a hybrid, and goes to film festivals.
• There’s Open-minded Jesus—who loves everyone all the time no matter what (except for people who are not as open-minded as you).
• There’s Touchdown Jesus—who helps athletes run faster and jump higher than non-Christians and determines the outcomes of Super Bowls.
• There’s Good Example Jesus—who shows you how to help people, change the planet, and become a better you. ("Who Do You Say That I Am?" from his DeYoung, Restless, and Reformed blog, 6-10-09)
But Jesus defies those limitations. The Bible says that Jesus was with God in the beginning and that Jesus was the agent responsible for creating and sustaining the universe.
This is what the bible says about Jesus in Colossians 1:15-21: He is the image of the invisible God… for by him all things were created in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible. He is before all things and in him all things hold together or are sustained. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him…”
The Word in our text refers to what we think of as the pre-existent Christ or Christ before he became the baby in the manger in Bethlehem who grew up to be the Savior of the world. The Christmas story is about how the Word of God, i.e., the pre-existent Christ who existed in time an eternity with God and one with God, humbled himself making himself nothing by being made in human likeness. Philippians 2:5-11
The image we are to have of Jesus is not that of a super Democrat or Republlican or patriot or therapist or sports enthusiast… but the creator and sustainer of the universe. This is the Word of God revealed to us as the expression of God. This Word came down from his glory to live among us and die for us.
The second word is received.
II. The Word: Received
He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, children born not of natural descent, nor human decision, but born of God. John 1:10-13
Verses 10-13 present us with an antithesis or a contrast. It says that the Word or Jesus was in the world but the world did not know him and did not receive him. In other words, the world rejected him. The people to whom he came, i.e., the people of Israel, rejected him.
We turn people away for any number of reasons. If you have a Facebook page you may be asked to be friended by someone. When that happens you are presented with two little boxes: One box says, “Confirm” and the other says, “Ignore” If you do not want to be a Facebook friend with someone you can simply ignore the request or in other words, reject the invitation.