Year A – Christmas Day – John 1:1-14

christmas

John 1:1–14 – In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being 4 in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it. 6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7 He came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. 8 He himself was not the light, but he came to testify to the light. 9 The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and the world came into being through him; yet the world did not know him. 11 He came to what was his own, and his own people did not accept him. 12 But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God, 13 who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God. 14 And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth.

Overview –  The Gospel of St. John is both the simplest and most profound book in Holy Scripture. No scholarship is needed to receive it’s truth and yet no scholar has seen through it’s profound matrix of depth. With the most basic language (in the original Greek) it conveys the richest portrait of Christ that could be imagined. Like no other Text, John presents Jesus in profound glory, such as with the “I AM” statements (“I am the resurrection and the life”). And the structure is grand and powerful. The Gospel is framed with seven signs and then Sign-Maker is raised on the eighth day as the Maker of a new creation. These signs outline Water, Bread and Wine. Each of these manifest more fully The Word made flesh.

1. New Creator: Water into wine (2:1-11)
2. Redeemer/Healer: The official/nobleman’s son (4:46ff)
3.  True Sabbath: The paralyzed man at the pool (5:2-9)
4. Bread of Life: Multiplication of loaves (6:1-14)
5. Light of the World: The man born blind (9:1-7)
6. Resurrection & Life: The raising of Lazarus (11:1-44)
7. Living Water: The cross (19:1-37)
Eighth Day: New Adam/Gardener: The resurrection (20:1-29)

Insight – There is magnificent beauty in the simplicity of John’s prologue (vv 1:1-14). The summit of that beauty is in our text, “He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him.” It is deeply ironic that Creator Jesus was not recognized by His handiwork, even more so that even Israel (the special “son of God”) did not receive him. Yet the note of hope at the end of the sadness brings redemptive glory. “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God. . .” This Word and Reason of God has become flesh. This the reason for our Christmas celebration.

Prayer – Almighty God, you have given your only-begotten Son to take our nature upon him, and to be born [this day] of a pure virgin: Grant that we, who have been born again and made your children by adoption and grace, may daily be renewed by your Holy Spirit; through our Lord Jesus Christ, to whom with you and the same Spirit be honor and glory, now and for ever. Amen. (BCP Nativity III)

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Year A – Christmas Day – Hebrews 1:1-4

Hebrews 1:1–4 -Long ago God spoke to our ancestors in many and various ways by the prophets, 2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by a Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, through whom he also created the worlds. 3 He is the reflection of God’s glory and the exact imprint of God’s very being, and he sustains all things by his powerful word. When he had made purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, 4 having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs.

Overview – God is not silent. He speaks to His people. In the Garden He walked with Adam and Eve. After the Fall, God spoke through signs, wonders, stories, and prophets. From a burning bush to a man robed in camel’s hair, God continued to speak. From a donkey to educated men to a shepherd and a fruit-picker, we learn that God does not leave His people alone. Standing on the shoulders of these men, John the Baptist linked their words to Jesus. He prepared the way of the Lord by calling Israel to “Repent, for the kingdom of Heaven is near.” Jesus, he declared, was the mighty victor—one so mighty that John felt unworthy to even untie His shoes. Now the writer of Hebrews tells us that God still speaks. To that of the prophets God adds the voice of his Son. Jesus repeats and then fulfills their words—a messenger better by far. Let us rejoice in the Advent prophecies for they stand fulfilled. And as Jesus goes forth victoriously, let us heed the Father’s command, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear Him.”

Insight – These signs, wonders, and prophets speak the word of God, the gospel of the coming Christ. Each repeats the Proto-Evangelion, the message heard from the beginning that a victor would arise to crush the serpent. With Moses this repetition took the form of, “The LORD God of your fathers… will bring you up out of the affliction of Egypt…unto a land flowing with milk and honey…and, you shall not go empty.” Isaiah declared that “unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given: and the government shall be upon His shoulder: and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, the mighty God, the everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace there shall be no end.”

 

Discussion  – Discuss with your family how the Living Word is made known through the written and spoken word. Discuss how sermons, studies, and readings strengthen our faith. Discuss Jesus’ authority as the Living Word of God and the surety of His word’s fulfillment.

Prayer – O God, you have caused this holy night to shine with the brightness of the true Light: Grant that we, who have known the mystery of that Light on earth, may also enjoy him perfectly in heaven; where with you and the Holy Spirit he lives and reigns, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen.

 

From Pastor Todd Davis, Christ Church, Searcy, Arkansas