Thursday, December 2, 2021

            John’s Gospel presents a distinctly different look at Jesus than the other three gospel accounts. While Matthew and Luke begin with words about genealogy, Joseph, Mary and Jesus’ birth and Mark begins with Jesus’ baptism, John teaches us about the eternal nature of Jesus—His timeless existence.  Immediately, John tells us that Jesus was, is and always will be.  He has existed forever with the Father and the Holy Spirit—one triune God or what we call the Trinity.  John wrote, “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 1:1-2).
            John’s unique name for Jesus is “the Word.”  Jesus embodied the Word of God in flesh and blood much like the Bible is the written Word of God.  If we want to know what the Father is like, we need only to look at the Son.  John pushes the story of Jesus far, far back beyond Bethlehem and even the Old Testament prophets.  He shows us that our Savior born in Bethlehem has always existed.  He has never “not existed,” with apologies for bad grammar.  But, despite the grammar, the theology is good.  We can rightly say that Jesus has never for a moment “not existed.”    
            We call Jesus’ birth the “incarnation.”  His birth was where Jesus took on the fleshly appearance and trappings of the human body.  Deity assumed humanity.  The Eternal One entered into earthly time and surroundings.  Yet though He became a man, He would live a sinless life.  His sinlessness enabled Him to be the perfect sacrifice for sinful humans like you and me.  He became sin by bearing our sinfulness while giving His righteousness to us.  John later wrote about Jesus’ incarnation in John 1:14. “The 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.” 
            Literally, in Greek, John was saying that Jesus “pitched His tent among us.”  He dwelt with us, like us and for us in every way imaginable with the exception of His sinlessness.  He never brought shame to the Father and never once acted wickedly.  As we approach the day of Jesus’ birth, we must reflect upon our need for His birth.  We needed a Savior—pure and simple.  The contagion of sin is far greater and far worse than any illness caused by germs, bacteria or viruses.  Sin is far worse than any stage or category of cancer.  Sin is 100% terminal and fatal—apart from the grace, atonement and forgiveness of God in His Son Jesus. 
            Isaiah described the human nature quite well in 5:20-21 of his prophecy.  He wrote, “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.  Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes and clever in their own sight.”  The prophet’s message was that we always get it wrong.  We fail.  We sin.  We come up short.  And the only solution is a Savior who could live the life we could never live and die the very death we should have rightfully and deservedly died.
            As we rush into the Christmas season, we enjoy the pageantry, decorations, symbols and beauty.  But we also have to confront the realities and truths that underlie Christmas.  We need a Savior.  We are sinners.  We cannot save ourselves.  The words of John and Isaiah help us to focus on these underlying truths that we cannot forget.  Have a great Thursday!

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