What Is At The Center Of It All?

Text: John 1:1-18

In the name of Jesus: Amen.

Thousands of years ago ancient Greek philosophers attempted to make sense of the world that we live in. 

They looked at everything in life and saw many different parts.  And here is what puzzled them.  They wondered what united all the different unstable parts of our world together.  Otherwise stated, they saw the world as constantly changing – changing seasons, changing weather, changing natural disasters, changes in life and death, and so forth – which led them to believe that there had to be something in the middle of this life holding all these changing things together. 

Some of these ancient philosophers believed that water was the common principle that united all things – after all most of the world was covered by water.  Others thought that air was the common standard – the thing that kept everything stable.    And other philosophers had their theories.

The point being is this; these ancient philosophers knew that there had to be a center to everything.  They knew that there was something that united the universe together. 

In layman’s terms, it would be like seeing a bunch of spokes of a wheel and saying, “There must be a hub at the center keeping this wheel together and spinning!”  Or, it would be like looking at a basketball game seeing players moving back and forth tossing a ball around – often in chaotic ways – and saying, “There must be a coach behind these players guiding and directing them.”  Or, another example would be looking at an orchestra and seeing all the instruments playing at different times with different notes at different volumes and saying, “There must be a music conductor that is uniting everyone together and creating this music!” 

This is what the ancients were pondering.  They were trying to find the ‘thing’ that was at the center.  They were trying to find what was constant and stable.  They were trying to find what united the many parts together.

Well, long story short, a philosopher came along in the 6th Century BC that said something profound that we must take note of.  He said that “the Word” was at the center of the universe.  Yes, the thing at the center of the universe that united everything together and gave stability was what he called, “the Word.”[1]

Now, your mind should be going to our Gospel reading right about now.  If you can recall, the Apostle John just mentioned “the Word” as well.  You see, John was not only picking up on Jewish ideas but also Greek ideas in mentioning ‘the Word.’  He states that ‘the Word’ is the center, stable, creating thing of life.  And, he says explicitly that the Word is God! 

It makes sense, doesn’t it?  The Word – God – is our creator, sustainer, center, and stability.  Even though these ancient Greeks were pagans, they were hitting very close to the God of the Bible. 

But what these ancient Greek could not fathom is what John also says about ‘the Word.’  Fasten your seatbelts, friends!  John says that ‘the Word’ became flesh and lived among us.  Yes, you heard it right, God became flesh and blood.  Jesus – the Word – pitched a tent in human flesh to be with us.

So, to get the full impact of what John is telling us this Christmas Day, you need to be looking upon the baby in the manger.  Yes, picture the baby in the manger for a moment as you consider our Gospel reading again.  In other words, picture the little baby being born in Bethlehem, for this is the place in which Jesus – the Word – put on flesh and blood. 

Hear our Gospel reading once again, dear friends: 

The babe in the manger is the Word.

The babe in the manger is God.

The babe in the manger was in the beginning – before time, matter, and space existed.

Everything was created through the babe in the manger; nothing – not one thing! – came into being without Him. 

The earth, moon, stars, and universe were made by the babe in the manger. 

In this little baby is life and this life was the light of mankind that shines in the darkness. 

In this little baby of Bethlehem, we see glory with our own eyes, the one-of-a-kind glory.

Pretty amazing to think about, isn’t it? 

In this vast world and universe, Jesus is the center.  He is that which is stable.  In Jesus all things in heaven and on earth were created, things invisible and visible.  Whether thrones or dominions or rulers or powers – all things have been created through Jesus and for Jesus.  Jesus – the Word – is before all things, and in Him, all things hold together.[2] 

Truly amazing

Now, I don’t have to tell you that this is all quite glorious! 

Just in case this is not amazing enough, though, consider the whole reason why Jesus put on flesh and came to earth in the first place.  He did this, so that you and I may know His glory.  He did this so that we wouldn’t have to speculate and search as the ancient philosophers did.  He came to humanity, put on flesh, and shows us glory. 

And so, we see glory in Jesus being the beginning and end.  We see glory in all things coming into existence through Him. 

Glory is also seen in the virgin birth, the singing angels. 

We see glory in Him walking on water, giving sight to the blind, granting health to the sick, and life to the dead. 

And glory not only shines from the Mountain of Transfiguration and the empty tomb but especially from Mt. Calvary where He suffered and died for the forgiveness sins.

This glory even comes to you directly and personally, this day, as you hear the word, remember your baptisms, and eat and drink the body and blood of Jesus for the forgiveness of sin.

Dear Baptized Saints, Jesus is the center of the universe.  He is that which is stable.  He is the glorious Word; the radiant glory for a world living in the night of sin.  And because He put on flesh and blood and comes to you in the Word and Sacraments, He is your center, He is your stability, He is your consistency, He is your forgiveness, and He is your glory.

Merry Christmas, dear Baptized Saints!  

In the name of Jesus: Amen. 

[1] Heraclitus, “Do not listen to me, but listen to the logos.  The logos is the real feature of the universe that stays the same.” 
[2] See Colossians 1:15-17.  

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