By Rev. Gene Brunow
The Gospel for Christmas Day is John 1:1-14. This text of John takes us all the way to the beginning of the world and points out that the Word/Jesus was already there at the creation of the world.
The term Word, or Logos, is strictly a Biblical expression or designation for the second person of the God-head, for Jesus Christ. He is no creature, no part of the creation, for He existed when no part of that existed. He is the Word which God spoke from eternity, begotten of God from eternity. And He existed, not as a dead substance or thing, but He was alive and active.
The Word created every bit of universal matter. He is the source and embodiment of life. As the source of all created light, he provided the sphere/context in which life can grow and flourish. Unafraid, the Word of life faced down the darkness of sin—and won! The victory goes to the living Word, who is our Life!
John uses “life” 36 times. The Word is God’s life (John 11:25, 14:6). In him is the life of the “living God” (Jeremiah 10:10), the great “I am,” who alone is immortal and eternal (1 Timothy 6:16), upon whom all life and existence depend (John 10:10). A few Greek manuscripts have “In him is life” to convey that he is the ever present source of life eternal.
The Word’s life is light. “The Lord is my light and my salvation” (Psalm 27:1). The life that Christ gives enlightens and illuminates the dark heart and mind of man. The full revelation of God’s life and light is precisely in the incarnation.
St. John introduces us to the Baptist’s mission: he is the supporting player, the best man at the wedding. He came to offer a true witness to the Light so that all people could have the opportunity to believe in the Messiah. John prepared people for the arrival of the Light, whose coming had long been proclaimed by the ancient prophets.
“God of God, Light of Light” was now coming into the world. The participle “coming,” like the present “shines” (v 5), points to the continuing entrance of the light into the world as the Gospel spreads to every dark corner of the globe.
Here is one of the central passages of John’s gospel, along with 3:16 and 20:31. God the Father incarnated his Son among us; the divine Word takes on the limitations of human flesh. He came filled with glory, glory that consists of God’s grace (merciful love) and truth (complete fidelity to God’s character and promises).
By taking on human flesh, God the Son comes into the world He created. He graciously brings deliverance from spiritual darkness and authorizes believers to become God’s children. Those who do not receive Christ by faith remain in darkness. Christ, the true light, has overcome the darkness, and he promises His forgiving grace to us and all people.
O Word made flesh, be present with me this day, and fill me with your limitless grace. Amen.
As John the Baptist was a supporter of his leader, Jesus Christ, how can you support your spiritual leaders? What kind of encouragement could you offer a pastor or other church worker?
In this study, we are reminded that Jesus is referred to as the Word and the Light. As the Light has overcome the darkness, what are some ways you can be reminded to turn to God’s Word in the darkest of times? What are some Bible passages that give you encouragement during dark times?
In verse 14, we are told that Jesus came, “full of grace and truth.” Why do you think God chose to emphasize these two words, grace and truth? What does it mean for us that Jesus came full of grace and truth?
We know that there are some who still live in darkness, without Jesus. Pray for someone today that you know is in darkness, desperately needing Jesus, our Light.
This month's study text:
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4 In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
6 There was a man sent from God whose name was John. 7 He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all might believe. 8 He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light.
9 The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. 11 He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. 12 Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— 13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.
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.
John 1:1-14 (NIV)
Rev. Brunow is a member of Emmanuel Lutheran Church, Fort Wayne, Ind. Find more of his devotionals at genesbrunotes.com.