Dec 6 2020 - Advent Through John pt 2 - Who is Jesus?

Lord, thank You for the opportunity to worship You – and to sing some Christmas Carols, and yet to recognize the purpose of Christmas is the cross and resurrection and that we have new life because You died on that cross and You rose from the dead and now we experience that life – we have been raised up like You – in Your image – so that when we see You, we will be like You – and You are inside of us, so we reflect You. We look forward to Your coming as a baby in Bethlehem, but we also look forward to Your second coming and that new life when this world will be created anew – when we will be with You forever.

John, in his gospels – answers the question – WHO IS JESUS?

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

And in verse 14 – he makes it clear – the word IS God.

We need to put ourselves in the shoes of the listeners – both Jews and Gentiles –

When he said WORD – it is the word LOGOS – and at a basic level – it means to speak, or to say. But like many words, it is used for many different things with a variety of meanings. In the Greek world – (they don’t use capitals, but we do) – they would understand this to be a divine personal power who worked with the gods in the creation of the universe.

When it says the word is fully God – that would be radically new – and these next lines as well:

. 2 The Word was with God in the beginning. 3 All things were created by him, and apart from him not one thing was created that has been created.

This logos is a person and a force.

The next line was to the Jews, who would have had numerous concepts of the Word – the expression of God’s divine power.

In Genesis 1, when God created the heavens and earth – it was by His Word – God spoke – Let there be light – and for each day of creation – it was done by the speaking of the word. He speaks creation into existence.

They would agree

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

.. and would have thought – what is he getting at here?

. 2 The Word was with God in the beginning. 3 All things were created by him, and apart from him not one thing was created that has been created.

And then getting to verse 14 – to say that Jesus was God – they knew there was 1 God – and John makes it clear that the One God is really Three – God the Father, God the Son – and he brings in the Holy Spirit. The whole thing is centered around the Genesis 1 account – that hidden in the shadows – is the Trinity.

God created the heavens and the earth – vs 1

Vs 2 – the Spirit hovered over the waters.

Vs. 3 – God spoke – The Word – Jesus.

As we look back, John is using 2 different things as he looks at advent – first, looking to creation – and over and over again, he references the creation of all things – with hyperlinks to Genesis 1-3 – and the second thing he does – he looks forward to the New Creation. The Old Testament prophets continually looked to this New Creation – and Jesus IS that new creation.

John Ference led us in a great discussion of what it means to be created in the image of God. In general – God created us in His image – and humans failed to live as image bearers in the world. I would say – and this could be argued – that they could not live as image bearers, faithfully – the failure was inevitable – and there were devastating effects on all of creation – Romans 8 talks about how creation moans and groans and how the world has become corrupt because of it.

Why didn’t God just create people who wouldn’t fail? That is an endless argument you wouldn’t come to a conclusion on. But we do know that human failure is a greater part of God’s greater story – after they eat of the tree – He works with them as they are. He doesn’t immediately throw them out or try to fix them up – and then everything changes at Advent.

Athanasius – one of the church fathers – has a book about the Incarnation.

There is the story of a painting in a cathedral – and there is a fire or something and the painting is destroyed – and he doesn’t destroy the canvas – he brings the subject back to be redone –

God did that with Jesus - In doing that - we can be found in His image.

Romans 8: 28 And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren;

Predestination - That we would be in the image of Jesus

We think by being in the image of Jesus – we think of moral behavior – am I acting right? Being moral and righteous? That is part of it – but not the purpose of it.

What does it mean to be in the image of Jesus and God? God is trinity – what was He doing before creation? It seems almost sacrilegious – Was He bored? Lonely? What was He doing? For all eternity? He was in an eternal love relationship – Father/Son/Holy Spirit. When we think what it means to be created in God’s image – that is first – the core and essence of being God – in an eternal love relationship – Father/Son/Holy Spirit.

So at the core – to be created in an eternal love relationship with God and with people. The great commandment – and the second is like it – love God – love people. It comes right out of His being. He asks us, as His image bearers, to enter into that.

Jesus – He says in Romans – the firstborn of many brothers and sisters – is the eternal, uncreated one – the preeminent, or ultimate human – becomes the ultimate image of God – because He is, in every way! Think of it like a couple who comes together out of their love for one another – they create children – an extension of the love for one another. And extensions of that love are invited in, to participate and be a part of the love of that family. As humans – we are an extension of WHO God is – eternal love within the Trinity – HE calls us brothers and sisters – but we go beyond just being a creature to being family. Jesus is our brother! Wow! Isn’t that amazing?! Our God, whom we worship, considers us brothers and sisters.

Then verse 4 –

John 1:4 4 In him was life, and the life was the light of mankind. 5 And the light shines on in the darkness, but the darkness has not mastered it.

John talks a lot about light and life. And the word, mastered – some translations – did not comprehend it – overpower it – overcome it – those are different things – this translator – what they are saying – that both of those things are true – and they are trying to find a middle ground. The darkness of this world did not believe, did not understand Him – did not comprehend Him. But he is also saying that the darkness will not overcome the light.

When God said let there be light – it pierced the darkness – and the darkness could never swallow it up. It feels like we are living in a time where darkness is winning. Feels like. Start with the pandemic. It can feel like the pandemic is winning.

Cindy and I have heard of so many more people who have it – or are dying from it – it feels like it is wining – beating our health and having an impact on our lives –

It is having an economic impact – for some, not so much – for others, tremendously so.

I think, one that is not talked about as much – the psychological impact it has had on so many. We were talking about the importance – we need to figure out how to connect – it will take initiative! We are comfortable and safe. Some are really good at this. Just making phone calls! Asking how folks are doing! So important!

The other impact it has had - there is a huge divide – and that is a symptom – the darkness of our world – political, racial, pandemic divide – and people are in attack and defend mode. We all recognize it. Either defending or attacking. And everyone is afraid that they are losing something! If this side wins, I will lose! If that side wins, I will lose! And you may? But here is a question? Would Jesus defend or attack because He might lose? No. We know that. When He stood before Pilate – did He defend? Absolutely not! He offered no defense.

I think the saddest thing – there is a growing rift in the Church – and the divide has seeped into the church. This is a lot of doom and gloom – so I will close with this:

John 16:33

I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace. In the world you have trouble and suffering, but take courage– I have conquered the world.“

What we have going on now in our world – is normal – in the world, you have trouble and suffering – but take courage!

The darkness of the world was conquered by the light of the cross. The very moment it seemed like it was darkest – the light came forth…

You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world. (1 John 4:4)

That is why we won. We conquer and win, because inside of us lives the one who has conquered!

Romans 8:35 35 Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will trouble, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? 37 No, in all these things we have complete victory through him who loved us!

Will the election, pandemic, tweets, comments in the thread? NO!

In ALL These things – complete victory! Not because our SIDE won! Not because we ourselves don’t get sick – but because of Him who loved us – solely because of Him who loved us.

When these things happen – it might seem like God doesn’t love us – we lose our job or are sick – we think He doesn’t love us – in this world we have tribulation! But He has already shown His love!

38 For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor heavenly rulers, nor things that are present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in creation will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Let’s pray

Lord, thank You. It all looks dark – but nothing – no darkness – can separate us from Your love – because of what took place with Your son – Advent – the first coming – sets up – Advent – the second coming! You came first to die and be raised – You will come again to re-create – to restore all things to You.

John 1:6 6 A man came, sent from God, whose name was John. 7 He came as a witness to testify about the light, so that everyone might believe through him. 8 He himself was not the light, but he came to testify about the light. The true light, who gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was created by him, but the world did not recognize him.

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