By Rev. Dr. Sergio E. Arevalo, Jr.
(Dec 25, 2014, 9am, Christmas Day)
We know that we have many religions in the world nowadays. However, only one religion who has God that became human being.
Hinduism has no gods that became flesh, but you can find a man that became god. Buddhism has no god that became flesh, but they have man who became enlightened one. Islam and Judaism have God who is transcendent watching from afar the affairs of the people.
We Christians believe that God who was transcendent became immanent. In other words, our God did not remain far from human beings, he came nearer to human beings. Actually he became human being. He incarnated and lived among us. He knows our feelings as humans, he experienced what we are experiencing. You say you suffer? Jesus suffered more than we do! He also died but he died not for his sake, but for us, for our salvation.
I. The Light and Life of Creation (vv. 1-5).
Let’s read John 1:1-5, “In the beginning, the Word existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God. He existed in the beginning with God. Through him all things were made, and apart from him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life brought light to humanity. And the light shines on in the darkness, and the darkness has never put it out.”
The Word is logos (logoς) in Greek. The Word was preexistent since the Word was God. The Fourth Gospel begins with the cosmic pre-existence of the Word and the Word’s relationship to the world rather than the stories of Jesus birth.
In the time of the Evangelist it was very heard to draw a sharp line between Hellenism and Judaism since the two were in constant contact with each other in the Eastern Mediterranean world.
Logos figures prominently in early Stoicism as the term for the rational principle of the universe and that cosmological sense of logos is evident in the prologue.
The Stoics followed Heraclitus in believing that the cosmos is connected by an all-pervasive intelligence called the Logos, which one can translate it as the Word or the Law. It’s a form of divine providence that guides all things. It exists in all things, but it vibrates particularly strongly in human consciousness.
For the Stoics, the meaning of life, the goal of human existence, is to develop our consciousness and bring it into harmony with the Logos (http://philosophyforlife.org/philosophies-for-life/stoics/).
Some thinkers believe that the Logos of the Fourth Gospel was more influenced by Jewish and early Christian interpretations of Stoicism than by Stoic philosophy directly (The New Interpreter’s Bible, vol. 9, p.519.)
As the verse says, “In him was life, and that life brought light to humanity.” The Logos is the bringer of life and light to the world. Without Him, we have no life and light. The light that he brings gives hope to darkness.
II. The Witness to the Light (vv.6-8).
The Light has forerunner, and he was John the Baptist. He endured the hardship of being the witness of the light. He even imprisoned and beheaded because of his testimony of the light.
In my recent message I said, “John the Baptist was sent by God. He was not just sent from God, but he was also a witness about the Light. He was not the Light, but he was ‘holding’ the Light so that others could see the Light. ‘The Light that no darkness has or will ever extinguish.’ Meaning John the Baptist was sent by God to be a witness so that others could see and experience the true salvation brought by Jesus Christ.” (http://sergioarevalo.net/the-man-who-prepares-freeway-for-his-master)
The messenger was from God, and he sacrificed his whole life just to do the will of God. We know that he suffered in jail, and consequently beheaded by King Herod.
John 1:9-13 says, “This was the true light that enlightens every person by his coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through him. Yet the world did not recognize him. He came to his own creation, yet his own people did not receive him. However, to all who received him, those believing in his name, he gave authority to become God’s children, who were born, not merely in a genetic sense, nor from lust, nor from man’s desire, but from the will of God.”
The Logos is the Light of the world. When the light is with us, those who are in darkness might experience light, hope, love, joy and victory.
IV. The Word Became Flesh (vv. 14).
“The Word became flesh and lived among us. We gazed on his glory, the kind of glory that belongs to the Father’s unique Son, who is full of grace and truth” (v. 14). The incarnation of the Logos is the embodiment of God’s unconditional love to humanity and to his creation.
Imagine this for a moment, lying at your feet is your dog. Your dog and every dog is in deep distress. Some of us love dogs very much. If it would help all the dogs in the world to become like men, would you be willing to become a dog?
Would you put down your human nature, leave your loved ones, your job, hobbies, your art and literature and music, and choose instead of the intimate communion with your beloved, the poor substitute of looking into the beloved’s face and wagging your tail, unable to smile or speak?
Christ by becoming man limited the thing which to Him was the most precious thing in the world; his unhampered, unhindered communion with the Father (C.S. Lewis).
In our passage today, we see two different spheres of God’s presence: (1) Eternal-sphere of the cosmic Word of God, and (2) Temporal-the sphere of the world and the incarnate Word.
Long ago, there was a wise and good king in Persia. He loved his people. He wanted to know how they lived. He wanted to know about their hardships. Often he dressed in the clothes of a working man or a beggar, and went to the homes of the poor. No one whom he visited thought that he was their king.
One time he visited a very poor man who lived in a basement. He ate the simple food the poor man ate. He spoke cheerful, kind words to him. Then he left.
Later he visited the poor man again and disclosed his identity by saying, “I am your king!”
The king thought the man would surely ask for some gift or favor, but he didn’t.
Instead he said, “You left your palace and your glory to visit me in this dark, miserable place. You ate the course food I ate. You brought gladness to my heart! To others you have given your rich gifts. To me you have given yourself!”
God is willing to make most any accommodation to have fellowship with us. Even becoming human (Brett Blair, Sermon Illustrations, 1999).
People around us will know that we have this kind of God if we are going to show Him through us. When we meet the needy, the hopeless, the homeless, the sick, the victims—show that God lives in us.