[Message shared with the people of Friendship Church on Sunday, December 25, 2005]
No long-winded sermon on this Christmas morning. Just a few thoughts on our Bible passage.
It's one that sounds strange to our post-modern ears. "In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God." What does that mean?
Back in the book of Genesis, you may remember, when God wanted to create the heavens and the earth, the plants and the animals, and humanity, He spoke a word and life sprang into being.
God's Word has power. This is something affirmed repeatedly in both the Old and New Testament portions of the Bible.
"Your Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path," one of the Psalms says.
The "...word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing until it divides soul from spirit, joints from marrow; it is able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart." That's from the New Testament book of Hebrews.
God loved speaking His Word to His ancient people, Israel.
He told them, after upbraiding them for trying to live without Him in their lives, "I alone know the plans I have for you, plans to bring you prosperity and not disaster, plans to bring about the future you hope for."
And He said, "I am the Lord your God; you shall have no other gods before Me."
God spoke His Word and parted waters to free His people from Egyptian slavemasters. He spoke it and gave them a land. He spoke again and allowed enemies to overtake His people after they had forgotten Him and His love. He spoke it again to tell His people that one day, an anointed king, a Messiah in the Hebrew, a Christ in the Greek, would come to save them from their sins and to give them new lives with Him forever.
As the centuries wore on though, most of God's people seemed to have forgotten about Him or to have consigned Him to one hour of their weeks. But one day, God sent an angel to speak a word to a man named Zechariah, a priest. He and his wife, Zecharaiah was told by the angel Gabriel would have a son, a great prophet who would call people to turn from sin so that they could receive the coming Messiah.
Later, Gabriel went to a young peasant girl in the hill country near the Sea of Galilee. He had a word from God for Mary: She was to give birth to the Messiah, God in the flesh.
On the night of Jesus' birth, angels brought word of this great news from God to shepherds who went and worshiped Jesus.
Jesus, you see, is the ultimate, definitive Word from God. God is the greatest of all communicators and through Jesus, His message has been communicated directly into our lives.
He says: "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me."
He says, "Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls."
He says, "For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son that whoever believes in Him will not perish, but have everlasting life."
And later, filled with the Holy Spirit sent by Jesus, Peter said, "All who call upon the Name of the Lord will be saved."
In Jesus, God is speaking His Word to us again this Christmas morning. He says, "Turn from sin, turn from worry, turn from the dying ways of a world edging toward inevitable demise and instead, follow Me. I give life beyond the grave, forgiveness beyond your wrongs, strength beyond your weakness, hope beyond your despair."
Those are good words for us today. And the Word made flesh will make them good for all of who follow Him, for all eternity!