- When decorations and trinkets trivialize the image of Jesus, it’s just as important now, as it ever was in history, that we seriously consider who this child truly was – and is.
Read John 1:1-18
Dorothy Sayers We may call that doctrine exhilarating or we may call it devastating; we may call it revelation or we may call it rubbish; but if we call it dull then words have no meaning at all.
- Only those without a spiritual pulse would consider the incarnation boring.
- Cultural context: Spirit and matter opposed. This passage helped the early church form a high view of Christ. “The Word” is distinguished from and identified with God.
- This is new revelation to original audience. The Spirit is bringing a greater depth of understanding!
- Familiar language, but distinct nuances that enrich our doctrine.
- The Humanity of Christ (14)
- The Deity of Christ (15)
- The Offer of Christ (16-18)
The Humanity of Christ (14)
- “The Word” (1) = preexistent, Creator, life, light.
- “Flesh”: Took on true humanity, not appearance. Real infant who cried. Required food, drink, sleep. Felt joy, pain, tired, anger.
- “Dwelt” = Tabernacled among us. The glory dimly portrayed by the tabernacle is perfectly displayed by the Son, our mediator.
- “Seen”: John witnessed glory of Jesus’ earthly ministry, including his transfiguration.
- “Only” (18; Heb. 11:17). Isaac was Abraham’s “unique” son, but not his onlyson.
- Jesus possesses “grace and truth” in “full”. Christ is the climax and culmination of God’s covenant faithfulness!
- “Fullness” = Sproul: A glass full when water at brim. But, pleroma = holding a glass under a spigot of water.
- The energy level of my kids often overwhelms my capacity. They seem to have an endless supply of energy for laughter, dancing, wrestling, etc. But there are often times when I have to request a break. I need to recover.
- Do you realize you NEVER overextend Jesus? He doesn’t tire of giving grace. He doesn’t have to conserve grace. He doesn’t withhold grace from you to give it to others. His grace and truth are boundless.
- And because Jesus came as a human he is entirely familiar with your weaknesses. He sympathizes with you in your pain. And because he was without sin, he can support you.
The human nature of Christ was taken on by…
The Deity of Christ (15)
- Christ’s pre-existence (1).
- Fully human, yet never ceased being fully divine! He remained “the Word who was with God” from all eternity.
- Although Jesus was born 6mos after John, he ranked higher because he pre-existed.
- The fact that Jesus Christ was preexistent means he is preeminent. There is no one higher, only equal. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are one God, same in substance, equal in power and glory!
- Christ is one person with two natures, divine and human. He did not subtract one to add another.
Sproul Hymns and sermons are often heard that have God setting aside his deity when he becomes incarnate. That is heretical. The divine nature of Christ during the incarnation is fully divine. Christ did not give up any divinity when he took upon himself a human nature. All the divine attributes are retained in the person of Christ.
- Why does it matter that the Son of God preexisted?
- God reveals himself through the word of the prophets. And those words were never delivered apart from the Mediator who is the Prophet of all prophets.
- It was “the Spirit of Christ” who prophesied through the Old Testament prophets (1 Peter 1:10-11).
- The light of Christ will continue to lead us throughout eternity (Rev. 21:23).
What do we do with this knowledge?
The Offer of Christ (16-18)
- 16 “Received” = Accepted possession of everlasting supply of grace. “Upon” = “in place of”/“instead”.
- 17 Elaborates “grace replacing grace”. Comparison > contrast. Grace multiplied in Christ > Moses.
- Law accomplished its limited purpose. Schoolmaster. Heavy yoke that ministered death/condemnation. Yet, truly gracious.
Augustine The law threatened, not helped; commanded, not healed; showed, not took away, our feebleness. But it made ready for the Physician, who was to come with grace and truth.
- 18 Later Jesus: “I and the Father are one…Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father.”
- “No one has ever seen God” Exodus 33:20
- Isaiah 6 The holiness of God. R.C.’s funeral, most prolific teaching.
- Merely the hem of the Lord’s robe filled the temple.
- The seventh “woe” fell upon Isaiah and left him “undone”.
- The burning coal purified the “unclean” lips of Isaiah for the proclamation of God’s revelation.
- Those “undone” by God will see the glory of God in the face of Christ, who remains “full of grace and truth.”
RSB Christ reveals God. He brings the invisible and the visible together in a way that has no parallel or analogy.
- May we NEVER lose sight of the character of God that was fully concentrated in the child, born of a virgin, laying in a manger…
He offers you all to receive “grace upon grace”
Calvin We shall find angels and men to be dry, heaven to be empty, the earth to be unproductive, and, in short, all things to be of no value, if we wish to be partakers of the gifts of God in any other way than through Christ.
- The humanity of Christ reminds us that this child came to sympathize with us in our weakness, yet without sin.
- The deity of Christ reminds us that this child never ceased to be the eternal Word that was with God.
- The offer of Christ reminds us to receive Him above everything else!