Here we are at the CHRISTMAS Season. I remember reading the words on a Christmas card that “if our greatest need had been information, God would have sent us an educator; if our greatest need had been technology, God would have sent us a scientist; if our greatest need had been money God would have sent us an economist, but since our greatest need was forgiveness, God sent us a savior. I do not want to speak out the various festivities that are celebrated at Christmas but if we are not careful, the festivities of the season can loot or take away the message of the gospel. That is why I thought it would be appropriate to speak of the greatest need the people have. It is not the festivities of Christmas but the greatest need is salvation. That is only found in the one who left heaven and became a human and died a death that He did not deserve so that we may live forever. This is the message of Christmas. This is the good news!
In this occasion, I just want to take your attention to two important verses of the Bible that is John 1:14 & John 3:16. John 1:14 says “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.” John 3:16 says “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
When we wake up on the Christmas morning, what will we be looking for? Will we be running to gather the gifts around the tree or our first thought is about Jesus, the word of God who came into the world to shine a warm light into the overwhelming darkness of human sinfulness? Will our first thought on Christmas morning be about which presents underneath that tree is for us? As part of God’s eternal plan, 2000 plus years ago, God stepped out of heaven and became a man. John completes his introduction of Jesus by proclaiming His humanity in the midst of His divinity.
John 1:14 – this verse contains the truth behind the story of the angels, shepherds, wise men and the journey to Bethlehem that first Christmas. John 1:14 tells us what really happened 2000 years ago and what it means to us today. Without this verse the rest of the story has no meaning. This verse reveals four great certainties. 1. Jesus became human 2. Jesus lived among us 3. Jesus revealed His glory and 4. Jesus invited us to Himself. John1:14 says “The word became flesh”. It would be John’s account of the Christmas story. In his Christmas story there are no Joseph, no Mary, no Bethlehem, no manger, no stable, no shepherds, no wise men, no star, no angels and no baby. But this is not any less the Christmas story. Without those features John is bringing out the Christmas message.
The word became flesh- that is the most profound truth of all truth. That is why we celebrate Christmas. Not because of the physical features of a stable, a manger, a star, an young couple, shepherds and wise men. They all participated indeed in the physical, historical features of the birth of Christ. But the real story of Christmas is the word became flesh. God became Jesus of Nazareth! When he stepped out, Jesus Christ became the visible expression of the invisible God. He became a visual aid, as it where, to reveal the nature of the father. This is a hard concept for us to understand. Theologians refer to this action as the incarnation. Notice the next phrase of John1:14, Jesus lived among us. It reveals the residence of God on earth, made his dwelling among us. The word dwelt literally means “to pitch a tent”. Theologians define it as “to tabernacle”. In fact, the Tabernacle was sometimes called the Tent of meeting because it was the divinely appointed meeting place between God and man. In the same way-but in a much deeper sense-Jesus is the place where we meet God today. For thirty three years He lived among us, walked down our streets, moved in to the neighborhoods and manifested the glory of God. We have seen His glory, the glory of the one and only, who came from the father. When Jesus steeped out, when he walked on the earth, people could see him, gaze upon and God’s presence shining through Him. They saw the importance of God in their lives. And, just so there was no mistake John recorded number of signs and miracles Jesus performed that openly declared the glory of God. When Jesus turned the water into wine at Cana of Galilee, John tells us in chapter 2:11 that “He thus revealed his glory and his disciples put their faith in Him”.
Jesus was not invisible. When we look at Jesus, we see the face of God. God wants to be seen and to be known in His son Jesus Christ. When you hear Jesus teach, you hear God teach. When you come to experience Jesus, you experience God. In Jesus we see God. Jesus offered grace and truth. These are the final two great pair of words John used to introduce Jesus. Grace is an irresistible compulsion to give men more than they deserve spontaneously from the boundless generosity of God. Truth, on the other hand has roots in a divine determination to be consistent, predictable and there by trust worthy in dealing with mankind. These two words grace and truth explain why Jesus stepped out, came to the earth. Because He was full of grace, He died for us while we were yet sinners. Because He was full of truth, He was able to pay for our sins completely. Here is the good news for people like us. Because Jesus is full of grace, we can come to Him just as we are to Him. We don’t have to clean ourselves up first. Because Jesus is full of truth, we can come to Him in complete confidence knowing that He will keep his promises. When He promises a complete forgiveness for our sins, He means it. The one gift the world needs during this Christmas season is grace and truth, which we find it in Jesus Christ.
Please turn your attention with me to John 3:16. It is the most influential and most famous verse in the entire Bible and this is probably one of the first few verses any Christian might have memorized. Millions of people have memorized this one verse. Why this is so important? This explains the reasons for Christmas. This summarizes the Bible in a single sense. It tells us how to settle our eternal destiny in one single verse. John 3:16 is all about God’s marvelous love. If you have opened your Bible I just want you to look at it and notice a few words in this verse- God, only, son, perish, eternal and life. We understand Jesus came to bring God and man together through his love. He is the bridge between man and God, the son- Jesus Christ. This verse gives us four greatest things. 1. The greatest love 2. The greatest sacrifice 3. The greatest offer 4. The greatest gift.
This verse says God so loved the world. Now that word means, nobody will ever love you with the intensity of love God does. His love is extravagant, His love is lavish, and His love is beyond comprehension. No man/woman will ever love you more than God does. He loves you so much. The problem is the limitation of English language, because we use this word in common and in so many different ways. May say like this I love my wife, I love my children, I love eating good food and so on. But here we see the Agape love of God which is unconditional love. God’s love for us is “Agape” love. God’s love is eternal. He always loved you. Ephesians 1:4 says “long before He laid down earth’s foundation, God had us in mind and settled us on as the focus of His love.” The Bible says that everything is created as an object for God’s love and the only reason we are alive is because God wanted to love us. God’s love is not only eternal but it is universal. The Bible says God so loved the world, not just good people of certain color or race or creed but the whole world. If you are breathing now or your heart is beating, it means God loves you and me. God’s love is unconditional. It does not look who you are? What you have done or how long you have done that? God’s love is not based on who we are but who God is? The Lord is good to everyone. God loves you on your good days, on your bad days, when you are well or unwell. God’s love is multi-dimensional. Ephesians 3:18 &19 say “may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how long, how wide, how deep and how high is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” We need to understand these four dimensions of God’s love during this Christmas season. There may be times that we are not able to feel His love but He still loves us. God’s love is the greatest love, because of this greatest love, God made the greatest sacrifice. The Bible says He gave His only begotten son. It does not say He sent an angel to save this world but His only begotten son. He cares for the world so much that He sent His very best. He did not send a representative but He came Himself. God in human form is Jesus Christ. Christ is the visible image of invisible God. That is why the Bible says anybody who has seen Jesus has seen His father. Why did Jesus come into this world? Many people wanted keep Jesus as a baby. They do not want to see Him as the King of kings and Lord of lords. But Jesus came in to this world to die for us. Jesus came to do a lot of things for us. He came to teach, He came to show us what life is all about but primarily to die for us through which He has the greatest offer for us that whoever believes in Him shall not perish. During this Christmas season that is the greatest offer. Whoever believes in Jesus Christ shall not perish instead they will receive the greatest gift from God. That is eternal life, everlasting life.
What does all of this mean for us during this Christmas? The fact that Jesus came, made his dwelling among us, He loved us so much that He died on the cross for our sake. If we believe in Him, we shall not perish but will have eternal life. Jesus is here, Jesus is real, Jesus want to get involved in our life. Jesus identifies with our pain, our loneliness, the hurt of rejection, the sadness of our life, and the scars of mental or physical abuse. Yes, Jesus felt it, He became a man, He understood us and now Jesus offers grace. In other words, the one gift we all need during this Christmas is eternity that can be found only in Jesus Christ. The gift of salvation! The giver is Jesus Christ. He is the one present/gift you cannot live without. Jesus is the one who met the conditions of God for the payment for our sins and now offers forgiveness on the basis of His grace.
God bless. Have a blessed Christmas!