Merry Christmas! This week on Friday, we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. A birth that divided history into BC and AD. A birth that changed our world and our eternity forever. Our current message series, Jesus the Messiah, is all about the baby that was born 2000 years ago. But the baby Jesus was not an ordinary baby by any means.
Today, our message is entitled Jesus the God-Man. We’re going to be talking about who Jesus is and how He brought hope into our world. Let’s watch a short video about the hope that Jesus brings called Bethlehem Hope. We commonly think of hope as something that we wish for. For example, I hope that it snows on Christmas. But when the Bible uses the word hope, it means something quite different than simply wishing for something in the future. Hope in the Bible is the confident expectation of what God has promised. Biblical hope is not wishful thinking, it is based on faith.
Hebrews 11:1 (ESV) Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.
Here we see how hope and faith work together. It takes faith to have the assurance or confidence that the things we hope for will ultimately come to pass. For, hope and faith have to do with the future, we put our hope and faith in the promises of God. What is in the future, the future that we hope for cannot be seen with our eyes, because it has not yet come to pass. Yet with faith and hope, we can have a firm conviction in things that are unseen. The Bible is filled with verses about the hope God wants to bring us.
Psalm 42:5 (ESV) Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation
When we don’t have hope, what do we have? Without hope, we are depressed, we are anxious, in turmoil about the future. With hope in God, we have faith that we will praise God again in the future. Where does Jesus come into the picture with hope?
Colossians 1:27 (ESV) … God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.
Let’s focus on the last phrase of this verse, Christ in you, the hope of glory. Jesus Christ came to this earth, so that He could live within each and every believer. When Jesus lives within us, He is our hope of glory. What is this glory talking about? It is spending eternity with Jesus in glory, in heaven coming down to earth, filled with the glory of God. No matter what happens on this earth, no matter how bad things may get, we can have hope through Jesus of eternal glory with Him.
So, this morning, we’re going to look more closely at how the coming of Jesus brings hope. We’re going to learn more about who Jesus is from His closest disciple, the apostle John in the very first chapter of the Gospel of John.
John 1:1-2 (ESV) In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God.
As we read through this passage, we will clearly see that John refers to Jesus as the Word. In these introductory verses to the Gospel of John, we learn some very important things about Jesus. The first three words, In the beginning, are meant to remind us of another verse. The very first verse in the Bible, Genesis 1:1 says, In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. That is the beginning of time, the beginning of our universe. Jesus, the Word did not begin in the beginning, He already was existing. So, baby Jesus, born on Christmas day, did not come into existence then, He was there in the beginning, He has always existed, He is eternal.
Jesus, the Word was with God, speaking of God the Father, yet Jesus the Word was also God Himself. God the Father existed in the beginning and Jesus the Word was with Him there. Why is Jesus called the Word? A word is an expression of thought, of who someone is. Jesus as the Word is an expression of the Word of God, an expression of the Father. To hear Jesus, to see Jesus is to hear and see God the Father.
John 1:3 (ESV) All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.
No only was Jesus there at the beginning, He created everything. All things in creation were made through Jesus, the eternal Word. Nothing that exists came into being without Him. As God spoke, Jesus, the Word created our world.
John 1:4-5 (ESV) In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
Jesus is filled with life, He is eternal. And that life He has was given to all living things when He created them. The life that is in Jesus brings both physical life and spiritual life. This life that Jesus has gives light to people. What was the first thing that Jesus, the eternal Word created in Genesis 1:3? And God said, Let there be light and there was light. What was there before light? There was darkness and chaos. Can darkness overcome light? No, light always wins. When light shines, darkness must fade away. God dwells in brilliant light and that light shines through Jesus as the eternal Word.
So, how does the truth that Jesus is the eternal Word impact us today? We must choose to believe the truth what is written in the Gospel of John. The apostle John was Jesus’ closest disciple. He saw Jesus in brilliant glory and unapproachable light in Jesus’ transfiguration on the mountain. John through the Spirit’s inspiration is showing us who Jesus really is. Jesus is not just a great moral teacher, not just one of many religious figures.
Jesus is the eternal Word who created the universe and each one of us. Jesus is bringing His life and light into our world and driving back the darkness of sin and Satan in people’s lives. Jesus invites you and I to follow Him, to walk in His light, to walk by His Word. When a person becomes a follower of Jesus, the life and light of Jesus come into their life. When a person becomes of believer, they have Jesus’ eternal life. His Word dwells in their hearts, His light shines through their lives. All that Jesus is is available for every believer. No matter what you’re going through, no matter what darkness you’re facing, open your heart to the Word and light of Jesus this Christmas season.
John 1:6-7 (ESV) There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him.
The last prophet in the Old Testament was Malachi, who prophesied 400 years before Jesus was born. After Malachi, there were no more prophets until John the Baptist. John the Baptist was really the last prophet of Israel, even though his words are only recorded in the New Testament. John the Baptist was sent by God to prepare the way for the ministry of Jesus, as prophesied in the last verses of Malachi. Jesus is described here as being the light. John’s task was to point people to Jesus so that they would believe in Him.
John 1:9 (ESV) The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world.
Jesus is the one and only true light. For thirty years, Jesus had been preparing for His ministry which would last only three years. When John announced that the Lamb of God had come, Jesus’ ministry began and His light began to shine. Jesus the true light gives light to everyone. The light of Christ shines on everyone in the world. But each person must choose to receive His light.
John 1:10-11 (ESV) He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him.
In Jesus’ three year ministry in Israel, He taught as no one had ever taught about God before. He healed the sick, cast out demons, raised the dead and did many other miracles. Yet, by and large, most people did not recognize who He was. Jesus was the creator of the world, yet most of those in the world did not receive Him. Even the majority of the Jewish people, who were waiting for their Messiah, did not receive Him. At the end of His ministry to multiplied thousands, only 120 people were still following Him. But Jesus’ ministry brought salvation to those 120 and the power of the Spirit multiplied their impact after Jesus ascended into heaven.
John 1:12 (ESV) But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God,
To receive Jesus is to believe in his name. When a person believes, Jesus brings them into the family of God as children of God. Only believers in Jesus are children of God. To become a child of God, one must be what Jesus calls being born again.
John 1:13 (ESV) who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.
Believers are born again through the work of the Holy Spirit. People who are not believers are children of the devil according to Jesus. But when you are saved, you are born again into the family of God and God is your Father. In every child of God, the light of Jesus dwells and shines forth.
This concept of Jesus being the true light of the world, which shines in the darkness is incredibly important. Those who are not believers live their lives in spiritual darkness. Those who are believers live in the light of Jesus. Each person on this planet is either in the light or in the darkness, there is no middle ground. Truth resides in the light and lies are hidden in the darkness. Light is more powerful than the darkness, so we need not be afraid of the darkness.
God calls each one of us as believers to not hide the light of Christ in our lives, but let it shine forth for all to see. How do we let our light shine? We let our lights shine simply by following Jesus, the light of the world. In every situation, we do the things He leads us to do. We show His love, we speak the truth of His Word, which also is light. As we let our light shine, which is actually the light of Jesus, it penetrates the darkness in people who are not saved. As they begin to see that light, the truth penetrates their hearts until they choose to receive the light of Jesus into their lives. As John the Baptist pointed to Jesus, so we must point to Jesus with our lives. Remember, when you let the light of Jesus shine through you, it will overpower the darkness in other’s lives. Jesus is the true light.
John 1:14 (ESV) And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.
When Jesus was conceived in the virgin Mary by the Holy Spirit, the Word, Jesus became human. God Himself took on human flesh without relinquishing His divine nature. Jesus was born and grew up in a human family with Mary and Joseph as parents. Jesus became one of us in order to save us.
In the Old Testament, God dwelt with His people within the tabernacle where His glory was visible over the ark of the covenant. In a similar way, Jesus came and lived among people and showed His glory to them. They saw not only His glory on the mount of transfiguration, but also in His miracles, His love and His teaching. Jesus the Word was God’s Son and He was full of grace and truth.
John 1:15-16 (ESV) (John bore witness about him, and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.’”) For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.
John emphasizes that Jesus brought grace to this world, indeed grace upon grace. What is grace? Grace is God’s unmerited favor. Grace is God’s forgiveness for the guilty sinner who has rebelled against God. You see, no one deserves to be forgiven, we all as sinners deserve to spend this life and eternity in hell apart from God. But Jesus came to bring God’s grace to us through His death and resurrection.
John 1:17 (ESV) For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.
The Old Testament law, summarized in the Ten Commandments, told us God’s requirements to live a holy, sinless life. The problem was that no one could live a holy, sinless life. So, we were all doomed to eternal death. The sacrifices of animals brought temporary cleansing, but without the sacrifice of Christ on the cross, brought no eternal life. So, in the final analysis, the commandments of the law saved no one. Jesus came with the grace and truth of God, making a way for everyone who received that grace and truth to be saved.
John 1:18 (ESV) No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known.
John’s introduction to his gospel about Jesus ends with this verse. No one has seen God the father, people had only seen the shekinah glory over the ark. John speaks of the only God, who is at the Father’s side. Who is this? This is Jesus Christ. He is the Son of god, at the Father’s side and He is also the only God. What did Jesus come to this earth to do? He came to make God known. Jesus said in His ministry that if you have seen Him, you have seen the Father. Jesus only said and did the things that the Father told Him to do. In every aspect Jesus was the exact representation of the Father.
So, with the ministry of Jesus, we can know everything we need to know about God. And this revelation of who God is comes not only through the pages of the Bible, but in our hearts through the ministry of the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Jesus. Jesus is the Word of God made human.
What are the implications of Jesus becoming human and living among us on planet earth? God’s Word tells us that Jesus understands everything about us, because He experienced life as we do. He was tempted as we are, He was hungry and tired as we are, He faced persecution and trials as we do. So, He is able to gently and graciously help us in our walk on earth. Through Jesus we can have an eternal relationship with God that begins in this life and continues forever.
This Christmas, when we think about baby Jesus in the manger, let’s rejoice in the blessing that He brought in our world and lives. Jesus came to bring us hope, hope for a life with Him now and in eternity. Hope that our sins could be forgiven and that we could have a relationship with God. Hope that our lives could have meaning and purpose that would last forever. Hope that the light of Christ in us could dispel the darkness in our world and in other’s lives. Hope that we could truly know God and lead others to know Him to. Jesus is the Word of God made human.
Today, we’ve looked at how John introduced His story about Jesus. Jesus is the eternal Word, the one who created the universe and holds it together. Jesus is the true light that came into a dark world to dispel the darkness. Jesus is God’s Word made human, choosing to live and die as one of us. Jesus came with grace upon grace to give us hope no matter what we’re going through.
This Christmas season, He wants to bring hope into every aspect of your life. Despite the economy, politics and Covid, we can still be filled with joy. We can have hope, because Jesus is King of Kings and Lord of Lords. He has a purpose and plan for your life to bring you true joy. This Christmas, He wants to reveal more of Himself to each one. Open your minds and hearts to receive His grace, truth and love.