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Before the Child Came (Sermon 11-27-2022)

There is an amazing piece of art done by a Korean artist which is unique. It took him two years to complete the scroll. The artist meticulously drew the picture by hand with a very fine tipped pen. It is not a painting, but a picture created by writing thousands of words with shaded letters.

It is actually the entire New Testament written out by hand. There are 185,000 words on the scroll with an average of 1,000 words per line. The letters are drawn; some thick and some thin so that they bring out this picture of Jesus. There are 27 angels surrounding Jesus and looking to Him, representing the 27 books of the New Testament.

The original work was 6 feet long by 4 feet wide. The figure of Jesus isn’t imposed onto the words; instead, the words reveal the picture of Jesus as they are inked light and dark to bring out the portrait of Jesus. The words have become flesh, a person.

I don’t have much doubt that the artist had the words of our text in mind as he drew this fantastic picture. Here in John’s Gospel, we learn of Jesus before He came to earth as a baby in a manger-here we learn of what God was doing before the first Christmas day.

In the Bible text we are about to examine today Jesus is described as “The Word.” The term translated “Word” is the Greek word Logos. Logos means “word” in the sense that we mean it, but it also means “reason.” The basic idea is that Jesus is both the Word of God and the Wisdom of God. Jesus was the logos before He came to earth, He is still the Logos today, and He will always be the Logos.

It is important today, as we enter into this Christmas season, to better understand some of the meaning behind this Christ’s first coming. Let’s consider four facts concerning this Word, Jesus, today.

I The Incredible Word

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

He was in the beginning with God.

All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. (John 1:1-3 NASB)

1. Jesus is Eternal

Notice how John’s words purposely echo the words used in the account of the creation.

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. (Genesis 1:1 NASB)

In the beginning was the Word (John 1:1a NASB)

Beginning is used in the sense of before time-while we cannot fully comprehend it or explain it, Jesus has always existed. One of the best ways to put it is: There was never a time when Jesus was not. Jesus did not have His start in Mary’s womb. He has always been and He always will be. Jesus described Himself with these words: I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end. (Revelation 22:13 NASB) He is simply but significantly proclaiming that He is an eternal being.

2. Jesus is God

Have you ever wondered the difference between true Christianity and a cult? Here is a simple answer. Every church that believes the Bible, regardless of the name over the door, all agree on one fact. Jesus is God. The first sign of a cult is that they downgrade Jesus to something less than God. They may say He is a prophet, or a great man, or a wonderful teacher, but every cult group denies this central fact of scripture: the Word was with God, and the Word was God. (John 1:1b NASB)

When we sing about that little baby on Christmas Day, we are singing about no one less than God Himself. Jesus was God before coming to earth, He was God during those 33 years He spent here, and He will always be God. If a person believes anything less than this concerning Jesus, they do not believe in the Jesus of Scripture.

3. Jesus is the Creator

All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. (John 1:3 NASB)

Even many Christians seem to be confused on this fact- Jesus Christ is the Creator of the Universe. From a full reading of scripture, it would appear that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit were involved in the creation account, but Jesus took center stage.

For by Him all things were created, both in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities-all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. (Colossians 1:16-17 NASB)

We have spent a fair amount of time on this first section. It is vital that we understand who Jesus is before we move on with today’s message. If we fail to understand who Jesus is, Christmas becomes meaningless.

II The Illuminating Word

In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it (or over power overcome it).

There came man sent from God, whose name was John.

He came as a witness, to testify about the Light, so that all might believe through him.

There was the true Light which coming into the world, enlightens every man. (John 1:4-9 NASB)

We now move from who Jesus is to how Jesus wants to make Himself known to us. The great God, this eternal being, this creator of the universe, wants to introduce Himself to each and every one of us. Jesus is the Word that brings light to the lives of men and women.

1. The Purpose

The whole purpose of Christmas is wrapped up in the fact that God wants to know you, to be in a relationship with you, to save you from your condition, and to be your companion for all eternity. He sent John the Baptist to testify to the people about Him specifically so they might believe in Him. We can legitimately say that Jesus’ purpose in coming to earth is sitting here today. You are the reason that Jesus came to earth.

2. The Power

The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it (or over power overcome it). (John 1:5 NASB)

Darkness is used here to represent evil and Satan. The power of the light of Jesus Christ can never be thrown down. Let’s not forget that the Word, Jesus, is God, is the Creator, is a force that cannot be defeated by anyone at any time at any place or for any reason. This Word of God that lived among us has power to withstand each and every attack that is ever made against Him.

This is not some helpless infant we’re talking about, but the most powerful being that has ever or will ever exist.

3. The Passion

It is really hard for me to imagine what it must have been like to come down to this world from the glory Jesus had experienced for all eternity. To have never been in the presence of sin, and then to willingly come into a world infested with sin is quite revealing. The only possible reason He would do this was because of His love.

Just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. (Ephesians 1:4 NASB)

God loved you before you even existed. That, to me, is one of the best things that I can know this Christmas season. It tells me that without a doubt that I matter to God.

III The Inclusive Word

He was in the world, and the world was made though Him and the world did not know Him. He came to His own and those who were His own did not receive Him. (John 1:10-11 NASB)

When we read these verses, it is really bothersome. We see that even though Jesus, God in the flesh, willingly came to earth for our benefit, many refused to acknowledge Him, in fact, they rejected Him. Sadly, the same is still true today. Some people, for whatever reason, will not accept God’s greatest gift of Himself.

But there is encouragement if we continue to read.

But as many as received Him, to the He gave the right to become children of God, even those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor the will of man, but of God. (John 1:12-13 NASB)

Jesus does not force Himself on anybody. We are free to reject Him if that is what we chose to do. But for those who accept His invitation to come into a relationship, great benefits await.

Nobody is ever refused entrance into a relationship with Jesus. All you have to do is believe in Him.

There are no hoops to jump through, no steps to climb. Place your faith in Him and you are given the right to become a child of God.

God is going to change you from the inside out. You will experience a rebirth where you are transformed into the person God has created you to be. You surrender your human desires and life to allow God to transform you into His child.

IV The Incarnate Word

And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:14 NASB)

Jesus became human just like us. Some of you have read or heard the story from Soren Kierkegaard. He was a Danish theologian from centuries ago. In his story, a king saw a peasant girl to whom he immediately became attracted. He was troubled because, as king, he could take her as his wife and she would never have the same feelings of love for him. He could reveal himself to her as king and then she might only be drawn to him for wealth and power.

He laid aside his role as king and lived in her neighborhood as a peasant to win her love. This is the only way to be sure that her feelings were freely expressed.

Jesus in similar manner laid aside His role as God and Creator, to come and live with us. He laid aside His throne and robes to live like us. He wants our love for Him to be freely our choice and not because we are over powered by His position. He fully knows how we are because He became one of us.

People want to know what God is like. Well, all they need to do is look at Jesus. Jesus came to show us the love and faithfulness of God. He came to reveal to us the glory of God. Everything about the nature of Jesus is also true about the nature of the Father and the Holy Spirit. In Jesus’ coming to earth that first Christmas day, He was coming to show us the true nature of God.

The whole reason for this baby born in Bethlehem whose birth we celebrate during this time of year may be summed up with these three statements. First, Jesus became human just like us. He entered the world in the same manner we entered. He grew to maturity in the same manner that we did. In every respect, Jesus was human just like we are.

Second, Jesus came to reveal God to us. Yes, we have Moses and the prophets but we only see shadows of God revealed through the dried ink on scrolls. In Jesus, we see God interacting with His creation. We see His compassion and love.

Third, we see God giving Himself for us. Jesus is God in the flesh and Jesus died for us so that we through Him might have salvation and escape the penalty for our sins.

There is the crux of the “why” this baby came. God’s perfect plan was set in motion long before the shepherds heard the angels sing on that night over the pastures outside of Bethlehem.

Are we ready to receive the Christ child? Are we ready to accept this new born child who is God in the flesh?

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