Second Sunday of Christmas
January 03, 2021 | Bryan Simmons
Passage: John 1:1-18
Well, Pastor Ryan, I think John One really sums it up quite nicely, I should probably just sit down. It's a beautiful text, a beautiful text, and I would love to wax on it a little bit here. John's birth narrative of Jesus, goes a little further back than most of us expect. John makes this incredible claim.
You know, it's funny, I on New Year's Eve had the opportunity to Zoom with a colleague of mine, an old friend from seminary and his wife and three kids. And we were talking and we were joking a little bit about this Masters of Divinity that we received. It's it's quite an accomplishment, but kind of a funny title at the same time. When you receive this master of divinity, you almost expect to be able to call fire down from heaven on a whim and just, you know, make bread out of stones like it says in scripture. We don't get any of that. I know -- the secret's out! Ordination doesn't elevate us any more than any of you in that regard.
We kind of have this fascination with that which is beyond that, which is outside of us. And we get very excited about these movies that that show this, you know, superhuman movies and movies about space or movies about magic. We get really caught up in this stuff, and it's because it is quite fascinating to think about. This power, this force that is beyond us. That maybe, just maybe, we can harness -- who was a kid watching Star Wars? And tried to move a glass of milk or something with the force when they were younger?
Heck, I still try to do it today just for fun!
But we have this inner desire, I feel this inner craving to master forces that we have no idea about. And even in this scientific age of enlightenment that we find ourselves in, I feel like the more that we know on the surface, it seems like the magic dies away, but the mystery grows even deeper.
Science is still working on me, and I'm no nuclear physicist, but we're still working on a way to explain how the math works on the macro level and the math works on the micro level. But the math is different for both. We're trying to find this unification theory that harnesses the theory of relativity, where it talks about gravity and all these things that large bodies of mass and things like that, space, time.
And then on the micro level, how things in the quantum field work. Chaotically, yet somehow together. It's this deep, deep mystery of the world that surrounds us. And yet we are awed by the force and the sheer power of these things.
I think John speaks to that. I think John speaks to this inner desire of our hearts. To go to this force and to try to, maybe not harness it, but maybe understand it? Maybe accept that it's there? I don't know. But John makes this incredible claim right away in Chapter one.
Talking about this word of God, which people would have readily understood was the agent of creation. This this word of God, where God speaks something and it comes into being. This word itself is what actually fashioned it. This force, this cosmic unknown. That brought into being what we understand as existence and being. And John says that this this force, this power that brought things into being that created creation became human for you. And for me.
It is an incredible testament, it is an incredible claim to make. And an incredibly reassuring one, too. And that the Christmas message, this boy in a stable born for you and me, is the very force, the very being that brought creation itself into being.
So whatever happens to Jesus. And whatever Jesus does, means something all the more, not because he's some long line of succession of the prophets or something like that, although he also neatly fits into that, according to Matthew and Luke. But because he is the very being of creation. Because he is the word of God made flesh for you and for me.
Sometimes this force of creation sometimes can be a scary thing to think about because there is this totality of power that we know we'll never be able to harness ourselves, and that we are by nature of being within the creation as a whole, succumbed to it. We are slaves to creation itself. Because we can't control it, it controls us.
And so to hear that Jesus -- the word made flesh. To hear that Jesus, who created everything well, the son of God will say the word of God created everything, became flesh for you and for me. It takes that scariness away. Because now we understand who God is and we understand from John One that God is for us. So that we, from his fullness, have received grace upon grace.
This world can be a scary place, can be a very threatening place. I mean, my God, look around, we aren't even together because of a virus. But this testament, this testament of John, this claim that John says: Jesus is the word incarnate. It means that this can't overcome us. It means that this isn't God trying to destroy us all. Because we know through this claim, that the very creator of everything is on our side.
And so as the Christmas season winds down and we casually coast into Epiphany this week ... may you carry that claim with you.
In the uncertainty of twenty twenty one, which I read a tweet from Twitter itself, in 2021 the bar is low. As we carry ourselves into the uncertainty of this new year, that we may know, that amidst the uncertainty, amidst the danger, amidst the unknown -- God is on our side. And that not only is God on our side, but this being that became flesh has the authority to win over creation. This being made flesh is the only one that harnesses total control over it.
Let that carry you through the next week, the next year. Heck, the next few moments if life is going that hard for you right now. God is for you. The word made flesh is here for you and for me. So that we may have grace upon grace.