Sunday sermon 23 December – Life and Light

Reading  –  John 1:1-14

1:1  In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

1:2  He was with God in the beginning.

1:3  Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.

1:4  In him was life, and that life was the light of men.

1:5  The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.

1:6  There came a man who was sent from God; his name was John.

1:7  He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all men might believe.

1:8  He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light.

1:9  The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world.

1:10  He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him.

1:11  He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him.

1:12  Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God—

1:13  children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.

1:14  The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

Reflection (Following the Nine Lessons and Carols today)

So we’ve heard the story. How people turned from God and the world went haywire. Wrong. Bad. How God called a man called Abraham to be his man and how he had a plan. How God planned to rescue the world and foretold of the coming of a child. How the baby Jesus was born in Bethlehem.  How heaven opened – through messages, angels and dreams – and God got the attention of shepherds and stargazers. How King Herod was rattled by this coming King – whom the three magi came to worship and give gifts to. It’s a broad sweep of God’s story of his dealings with people.

And finally we heard this amazing passage from John called the prologue to John’s Gospel.

Both St Augustine and the great preacher Chrysostom are reported as having said: “It is beyond the power of man to speak as John does in his prologue.” John Calvin also wrote of this passage – the prologue or beginning of John’s Gospel, “… it says much more than our minds can take in.” So we look at this passage with some trepidation today.

The story of the Incarnate Word is presented  in simple and powerful phrases—” The light shines in the darkness,” “the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us ,” “full of grace and truth,” “We have seen his glory”,  and most significantly: some “did not receive Him,” but others were “born of God.”

John explains that this is all about the WORD of God. Who is this Word of God? No we are not referring to the Bible here, but to Jesus. How Jesus was God – creating all things with God – and how he came bring two things really:

  1. Light
  2. Life

The opposites are

  1. Darkness
  2. Death

The coming of Jesus is all about counteracting darkness and death with light and life. About the antidote.

And the choice is simple.

  • Walk in the light!
  • Choose life!

At one level people don’t get it. John writes:

John 1:5  The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it. (NIV84)

They could not see it! The also could not recognize him – perhaps because they were looking for the wrong thing. Although this verse can also be translated like this:

(NIV)  The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it, which is encouraging when the darkness of evil and sin seems to have an upper hand!

Sadly many rejected what God did. Listen again to verses 10 and 11:

John 1:10  He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him.  John 1:11  He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him.

ON THE PLUS SIDE LISTEN TO THIS

John 1:12  Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God—John 1:13  children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.

The new family of God begins through faith in Jesus

  • Believing in Him
  • Receiving Him

There is no better time than this time – Christmas – to welcome Jesus into our lives.

“No room in the inn” is not the best response.

“Come Lord – and live in us” – is better.

In me. I receive you and I believe you are who you claim to be. The one though whom we become children of God – born of the spirit – born of God!

Jesus came to introduce us to God again! To help us begin again.

And to bring us into His family! Are you part of the family? Would you like to be?

Someone once said “the benefits are out of this world”. They are also right now!

Amen.

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About robinpalmer

I am a Presbyterian Pastor living and working in Browns Bay on the North Shore of Auckland in New Zealand. We moved here at the end of March 2011 after spending five years in Wellington the capital city. I am passionate about what I do - about communicating and writing. I also enjoy my counselling work, especially with young people.

Posted on December 23, 2012, in Sunday Morning Sermons and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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