And The Word Became Flesh (John 1:1-14)

Text:  John 1:1-14

Grace and Peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

Today is the day that we have been journeying towards for the past four weeks. 
Four weeks ago, as we began the season of Advent, we encountered the fact that Jesus Christ approached your sin in His birth in a manger and He approached your sin on the donkey as He rode into Jerusalem towards Calvary’s Cross.  We heard that at the Cross—a Cross that should’ve been for you and for me, a Cross where you and I are not only unable to pay for our sin but a Cross that we are totally and utterly afraid of—Jesus encountered your sin and mine, bore it upon Himself, was forsaken by the Father, endured hell, and then said “It is finished.”  We learned that the very sin that causes us to step back from is the sin that Jesus stepped towards and into when He was born in the manger.  Yes, the very sin that we try not to own is the very sin that Jesus owned on the Cross, as if it was His very own. 

Three weeks ago we heard the news that we needed to be gifted repentance, sorrow for and an understanding of our sinful condition.  We learned that we desperately need to be given the gift of repentance.  Our pride and our self-reliance, our stubborn belief that by our own goodness we can please God; these are the things that need to be continually killed in us so that we can be prepared to receive the kingdom of God.  Yes, we heard that repentance is a gift that prepares us to receive the greatest gift of all, Jesus, our forgiving Savior.

Two weeks ago in preparing for this day we asked the questions, “Who is Jesus?  Who is He to us personally?”  And finally we asked, “Who do we expect Jesus to be?”  We answered these questions hearing that Jesus was the suffering Messiah who came in a manger and the glorious Lord coming again.  We heard that He is the one who came to ransom you from sin, death, and the Devil.  He is the one who came to atone for your sin.  We learned that we can expect Him to continually come to us in His Word and His blessed Sacraments, where He declares you forgiven and delivers to you real grace.

Finally, this past Sunday and last night we looked at the names of the babe in the manger, ‘Immanuel’ and the name ‘Jesus.’  We heard that Immanuel means ‘God with us’ and that the name ‘Jesus’ means that He saves us from our sins. 

The past four weeks of Advent have been like a funnel, leading us to Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.  The past four weeks have challenged us to ask difficult questions about Christ, and to examine ourselves. The past four weeks of Advent are intended to cause us to anticipate, contemplate, and assess just who Jesus was when He came in His nativity some 2,000 years ago. 

Today, our Gospel text from the Apostle John reveals to us what happened in the manger some 2,000 years ago.  The Gospel text for us today is the climax of this Christmas Season.  This climax is that the Son of God became flesh and dwelt among us!  This is huge!  Do you hear this?  The Son of God became flesh and dwelt among us!  This is remarkable.  God took on our human nature; He took on flesh.  God Himself took on this poor and feeble human nature.  God is eternal, all powerful and all knowing, yet He descended from the heavenly throne and became true man.  Do you know what this means?  This is not some theological nuance that is only important for theologians.  Rather, it is extremely relevant to each and every one of you, right here and right now and here is why.  The Son of God was made man, so He could take your place on the sacrificial alter and die for your sins and the sins of the world. Keep in mind that if Jesus was not true God and sinless, His life and death would be nothing and you would be lost and damned.  If Jesus was not God, His life and death would have no power over sin, death, and the devil.  On the other hand, if Jesus was not true man, how could He have kept the requirements of the Law and how could have He died.  Indeed, in Jesus we see true God and true man.  In Jesus, the Scriptures boldly show us that Jesus is fully God and fully man; therefore, this gives us tremendous assurance, hope, and confidence.

An old church father contemplating on this once said, “Now I can see that God my Lord is not angry with me; for He is my flesh and blood . . . If He were ill-disposed toward me, He would not have taken on my flesh and blood.”[1] Indeed, my friends, the very fact that the Son of God was put on flesh, gives us confidence in the hours of our greatest doubt, fear, pain, and worry.  Martin Luther once said that little is gained against the devil when we reply with long words, but rather when we are bombarded with the lies and accusations of the evil one we are to say, “I am a Christian of the same flesh and blood as my Lord Christ, the Son of God.  You settle with Him, devil!”[2]  We can go on to confess, “You see devil, for us human beings and for our salvation the Son of God came down from the heavens, was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary and became man.  This happened so that He might be crucified for us under Pontius Pilate, suffer death, be buried, and then rise again!  This was all done for us; it was done for me.”

Yes, Jesus, the Son of God, became man “for our sake in order that we might enter into great glory, that our flesh and blood, skin and hair, hands and feet, stomach and back might reside in heaven as God does.”[3]

My friends, as Advent concludes this day and as we celebrate Christmas today, may we confess that “Christmas is not about us and our families. Christmas is not about sales. Christmas is not about big family dinners. [Rather,] Christmas is about the Christ. Christmas is about the Son of God coming into the world . . . to suffer and die in the place of all sinners [in order] to restore communion between the Father in heaven and all mankind. Christmas is about sinners coming into the presence of God and receiving the forgiveness of sins. Christmas is about what Jesus is doing for you. Christmas is about God the Father manifesting [i.e., showing] His love for you in the flesh of His Son Jesus. Christmas is about hearing Jesus and hearing what He has done for you throughout His earthly ministry, His suffering, His dying, His descent into hell, His rising again from the dead, and His ascension into heaven. Christmas is about the life you have in Jesus and your life begins in His being born in Bethlehem. The Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end born to redeem you from death and to give you life.”[4] 

Beloved baptized saints rejoice! “Rejoice because on this happy morning, your Savior is born for you. Jesus is The Lord and King of glory. The angels of heaven sang of His birth and now, today, you join with your songs of worship and praise.”[5]

May the peace of God, which passes all understanding, keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Amen.

[1] Bernard of Clairvaux, Sermones in cantica, Sermon II, Patrologia, Series Latina, CLXXXII, 792.
[2] Martin Luther, Luther’s Works: Volume 22 (St. Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing House, 1957), 106.
[3] Luther, Luther’s Works: Volume 22, 110.
[4] Rev. John Wurst, Your Savior is Born (, Accessed 12-21-13) 
Note: Brackets added.
[5] John Wurst, Your Savior is Born.

Note: Sermon preached at Zion Lutheran Church December 25th of 2013.

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