Printable PDF: 1-5-2019 Christmas 2 Sermon
Pastor Mark R Jacobson ~ Christmas 2 ~ January 5, 2020
1In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God….14The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. 15(John testified concerning him. He cried out, saying, “This is the one I spoke about when I said, ‘He who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’”) 16Out of his fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given. 17For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known. – John 1:1, 14-18
DON’T PUT JESUS BACK INTO THE BOX
It’s time. It’s time to put it all away. Climb the ladder. Take down the Christmas lights. Wrap the ornaments carefully. It’s time! Put it all away for another year. For the record, technically speaking, we shouldn’t put anything away until the day after tomorrow. Tomorrow is Epiphany, and we should wait until the wise men can celebrate Christmas, too. Epiphany is the Gentile Christmas. Epiphany is our Christmas, but with school starting back up tomorrow and a regular work week, it’s time to get back to the normal routine.
- See His glory in the Word.
The Apostle John wrote his Gospel at a very interesting time. At the time of John’s Gospel, the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke had been around for decades. At the time of John’s Gospel, the Good News of Salvation had been told and retold by the Apostle Paul and his missionary companions. And yet as more and more of these eye witnesses were called home to heaven, more and more false teachers started to affect God’s holy church. False teachers weren’t questioning the humanity of Jesus and his great teaching and his love for people, but they were questioning his divinity, and with his divinity, they questioned what Jesus really meant for the people of this world. As more time passed the gospel of Jesus Christ became like Christmas decorations in February. Yes, Jesus came into the world and he was great, but now it’s time to move onto what we have to do.
The aged Apostle John had something to say about this false teaching. Under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, the Apostle speaks in a simple way about Jesus’ identity: He says: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God. The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. Jesus is the Word. John hides this identity very poorly because John wants to make a couple of clear points about Jesus.
The first clear point is Jesus is God. As God, Jesus is eternal. In the beginning was Jesus. Jesus, along with the Father and the Holy Spirit, created life. With nothing else but his powerful word, Jesus created the heavens and the earth and all that is in them. In his infinite wisdom, Jesus not only let there be light, but he let there be light with a dimmer switch, so the greater light would govern the day and the lesser light would govern the night. In his infinite wisdom, he also made the fish fit for the water, the birds able to fly in the air, and man and woman for each other. And as he looked over all of his creation, there was nothing else to say but it was very good. His glory was on full display in the beginning.
Then Jesus as true God became flesh and made his dwelling among us. The Creator became created. While we marvel at God becoming man at Christmastime the Apostle John does not want us to lose sight of the truth: Jesus is still God. As true God, Jesus had the power to turn water into wine. As true God, Jesus knew Judas would betray him and Peter would repent of his sins. As true God, Jesus was present with his disciples whether they were out on a boat or in a locked room. As true God, Jesus is eternal, almighty, all-knowing, and always present. John says, “We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the father, full of grace and truth.”
Jesus is God. That’s the first point John wants us to understand about Jesus. The second point is his word endures forever. His Word is always with us, full of grace and truth. Grace and truth didn’t run out of gas when Jesus ascended into heaven. God’s grace is not a good start that must be finished by good works. God’s truth is not a good that is dependent on how we decide how the story will end. God’s Word is everything. God’s Word is like the sun in the sky. The sun in the sky has always shone and given us warmth and always will as long as the earth endures. God’s Word was everything at creation. God’s Word was everything when Jesus was made flesh and made his dwelling among us. And God’s Word is everything as you sit in church today and contemplate your life. See his glory in the Word! Don’t put Jesus back into the box now that Christmas is over. Don’t see Jesus as occupying a time and a place. Jesus is eternal and so is his Word. His Word has meaning for your life today and in this New Year of 2020 and well beyond that.
- Share His grace in your life.
As John continues his introduction to his gospel he emphasizes the continuing importance of Jesus and his work. In verse 16 he writes, “Out of his fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given.” The Apostle John is sending a strong message with the little word “all.” We have all received grace in place of grace. John and his fellow apostles now in heaven received grace when Jesus called them to be his apostles. They received grace when they listened to Jesus preach and teach. They received grace when they saw Jesus perform miracles. They received grace when they saw Jesus rise from the dead and ascend into heaven.
We have not received that exact grace, but we have received grace in place of grace. We have received their eye-witness account. We have received the eternal Word of God. We have received the forgiveness of sins through the ministry of the keys given to the church when Jesus told his apostles, “If you forgive anyone his sins they are forgiven,” and we have received the forgiveness of sins though the sacraments of Holy Baptism and Holy Communion.
As John says in verse 17, “For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.” Moses was the mouthpiece for God’s holy law. The law tells us what to do and what not to do. The law does not empower us to keep God’s law or forgive when we fail. The law tells us whether or not we are guilty of sin. The grace and truth that came through Jesus tells us we are forgiven. Jesus lived, died, and rose for us as our Savior. Grace and truth helps us as we one day face God who created us.
God’s Word prepares us for facing God. John says in verse 18, “No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known.” Who is God? What is God like? What would he say to us? We have those answers with Jesus. When I sin, God’s Word lifts my eyes to Calvary’s holy mountain to assure me that Jesus paid for my sins. When I weary under life’s temptations, God’s Word points me to the powerful Savior who knows how to strengthen me. When I worry about death, God’s Word reminds me of the risen Savior, who has defeated that monster for me.
If getting back to the normal routine is what happens tomorrow and if in a couple of weeks we barely remember Christmas ever happening, our Christmas was a failure. Yes, put away the Christmas stuff, but don’t put Jesus back into the box. See his glory in the Word, and share his grace in your life. Amen.