Not A Vague Or Floaty Ideology But Flesh And Blood

Text: John 1:1-1-18

In the name of Jesus. Amen. 

In the reading from the Gospel of John, John tells us that the “Word became flesh.”  But what on earth does this mean?  

Now, because the majority of us here are not familiar with Jewish culture, we do not and cannot understand what John means by “the Word.” And so, if we can, for a moment, let us explore what is meant by the term, the Word. 

For the average first-century Jewish person, words were more than just mere sounds – puffs of wind – that came out of a person’s mouth.  For the Jewish person, words were alive.  They did things.  Words had energy and were charged with power.  

Now, even though we live in a Western Civilization, this still makes sense to us.  For example, remember when you were a child, and your parents raised their voice?  Yes, the words of an angry mom were alive, full of energy, and charged with power.  The words of an angry mom can make little disobedient kids clean their room very quickly.

But back to first-century Jewish thinking.  Even though words were powerful for the average Jewish person, words from God were viewed as even more powerful.  The reason why the Word of God actually created things.  If you can recall, in the Old Testament, the Word spoke things into existence at the beginning of the Bible.  No big bang theory.  No evolution.  No natural selection.  Just the Word.  The Word spoke, and things happened.  Let there be light, and there was light.  

And so, it was understood that the speech of God was very powerful.  Where the Word was present, there would always be something happening.  When God spoke in the Old Testament, it was always the Word.  When the prophets spoke, it was always the Word.  And the Word did things.  

So, all of this brings us back around to the phrase, “the Word became flesh.”  In other words, when John says, “the Word became flesh,” he is saying that the Word from the Old Testament came on the human scene.  The Word acts afresh, as a human being, with flesh and blood.  When John says, “the Word became flesh,” he refers to none other than the babe lying in the manger.  

Now, do not let this escape you.  This is not some obscure and meaningless theological point that theologians argue about in seminary.  In other words, the fact that the Word put on flesh means that the Word of Christianity is not a collection of theories and philosophies, and ideas.  The Word of Christianity is not an ideological system existing in the minds of religious people.  The Word of Christianity is not based on popular opinions or a democracy.  No, instead, the Word came into humanity with flesh and blood. The Word is Jesus Christ in the flesh, born and laid in that manger.  

Now, it is important to keep in mind that, unlike Christianity, many heretical religions and movements of the world are not based on flesh and blood.  For example, unlike Christianity, the Mormon Church bases everything upon supposed golden plates that were revealed by an angel.  And Islam?  Islam is based upon an angel named Gabriel that revealed guidance to Mohammed through various visions.  The same is true for countless movements.  For example, communism is based upon several political thoughts and theories.  Feminism is based on assorted social ideologies.  Globalization is based on some core policies.  And so, what all of these religions and movements have in common is that they are connected to visions, thoughts, theories, ideologies, and policies.  But this is not the case with Christianity.  Christianity comes back to the Word. And the Word, well it put on flesh?  And since the Word put on flesh, it means that if you want to hear from God, you don’t go running towards visions, theories, visions, or ideologies, but rather, you can simply listen to Jesus Christ – the One who put on flesh and was laid in that manger.  If you want to connect to that which the whole world owes its existence, do not go running towards policies or thoughts, but listen to Jesus Christ, the Word who put on flesh and was laid in that manger.  If you want comfort amid death, do not run to various visions, signs, and superstitions, but listen to Jesus Christ, the Word who put on flesh and was laid in that manger. 

And as you listen to the Word put on flesh, know this… the Word who put on flesh is still alive, powerful, and full of energy.  For example, when Jesus speaks to stormy winds and waves and tells them to shut up in the New Testament, the wind and waves listen.  They bow to the majestic words of Jesus.  Jesus speaks, and nature listens.  And when Jesus confronted death itself, all it would take was a simple Word, and death would release its grasp from its victim.  Blindness, muteness, leprosy, dropsy, bleeding, and death – they all were no match for the Word. The reason is, the same Word that created the world in Genesis chapter 1 is the same Word that put on flesh and blood in the New Testament.   

Dear Baptized Saints, the Word of God is not some vague, ethereal, floaty, and obscure message hidden from our ears.   No, the Word is a person.  And that person is the babe born in Bethlehem.  That person is the One crucified, buried, and resurrected.  And so, because the Word became flesh and blood, died, and rose, we should listen to Him, and listen to Him often.  For when we listen to the Word who put on flesh we hear Him saying to us, 

“It is done.  Your sins are atoned for.”

“Do not fear.  I will call you forth from death to life.”

“I will come back to make all things new.”

“No one will snatch you from my hands.”

Dear friends, Jesus is not only the center of the Old and New Testament, but as the eternal Word, He is the author of all the scriptures.  And as the author of all the scriptures, He continues to speak to you today so that you might listen to Him.  Yes, you are to listen to the Word who put on flesh so that you might not fear but be strengthened in the faith unto life everlasting.   

In the name of Jesus. Amen.

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