My name is Tyler, and I’ve met a lot of you guys, but not all of you guys, so it’s good to see you guys. Lots of faces that I love, and we’re just a week before Christmas, but yeah, and today it’s kind of like monumental sermon for me, because for the next two weeks, alongside Molly, I’m still on staff here at the church because in two weeks we’re going to make a transition. And so it’s been an eventful month, but especially this week. So in case you haven’t heard it, though, from me personally, Molly and I just want you to know that we are really grateful for your support for the last six years being on the ministry staff here in the east region and you guys have just been really supportive to us as we’ve learned to grow, to lead. And we’ve been here for ten plus years, since 2008 for me.
But the last six years have been just like a different experience standing up here a lot of weeks, and it’s been a really fun journey up and down. Lots of different roles. We started with campus and now we’re leading singles, and it’s really been great the whole time. But I just wanted to fill you guys in that starting January 1, Molly and I are going to be stepping off staff here, and I’ll be taking a job teaching art at a local elementary school.
That’s me through and through. So it’s going to be here in East Orlando. We’ll be here. This is our home base, so we’ll be in the East Side all the time, and I’m just excited to figure that out for our family. But I think what I’m learning is you always learn things through life seasons, and this season is kind of teaching us that when you pray for God to answer prayers, sometimes they’re unexpected answers, but he is hearing our prayers and he’s opening doors and we’re seeing our needs. And when all those collide and you’re trying to discern what God wants, where he wants you to step next. For us, we feel that it’s clear that our next step here will be on a different path. But it’s really going to help us, and I think Molly especially, to stay home more and tend to some of our family’s needs as a medical mama. And just some of the things that we deal with in this last year and a half has kind of shown us what our family will look like going forward. So we just want to say we’re grateful for you guys. We love you deeply and you mean so much to us that we can’t leave. So we look forward to being here in the new year for sure, just in a different capacity, right? Yes. Thank you, guys.
ll right, well, let’s do this, you guys. Today we’re going to be in the book of John, so you can turn to John chapter one. We’re not going to flip around too much because we’re going to say in the beginning, every beginning of almost every gospel. I’m kind of jumping in too soon. I want to talk about family still, though. But yeah, John is going to open up with Jesus. I want to open up with the heart of a child and use one of my favorite kids in my life, one of my favorite kids, just an example of his heart. Okay, so my family here my son he turned four yesterday. Yeah, he’s a four year old. He’s a big boy. He knows that word, big boy like, holds special weight. Although he doesn’t know exactly how old he is. It’s like the least thing on his mind. Someone asks him, he’s like, how old am I again? He looks at me and I’m like, Count the fingers. He can count. He just doesn’t know how old he is. And so I hope this year he’ll grasp that. But he’s thinking about so many things. He’s so excited about things. His birthday, he wanted a Jonah and the Whale cake. A Jonah and the Whale cake. Let me see if I got this. Yeah. Can you hit next for me? Yeah.
So I’m pretty excited about what we made for him. We made it happen. Okay, there’s a little blowhole on the top with tissue paper, and we got Captain America, who tossed Jonah over. Who knows where Jonah is? But if you ever heard of a surprise cake, we found this on the baking channel. You can put stuff inside the cake. So when we opened up the cake and we cut into it, you got to see Jonah inside. And he like, whoa. But I think what I want to show is he’s just a lot of fun. And I think because he has so much excitement about everything and he has so many questions about everything, there’s any, like, kind of just a lull in the conversation and I just get to think of my own thoughts, he’ll quickly say, dad, can we play quiz questions? Quiz questions? And he wants me to ask him questions. And then he wants I want to ask you questions about everything, right? About mailmen and what they do and electricity and why it’s dangerous and all kinds of things. We talk about everything.
And it’s really fun because I think having a little kid, you get to experience things how it was experiencing something for the first time, like, all over again. You get to kind of live through them and see what it means to experience something for the first time. Because you forget. We tie our shoes every single day, maybe unless you just slip them on.
But he doesn’t know how to do that, and he doesn’t know how to do all kinds of things that he’s learning, and it’s fun to teach and seeing him soak things up. He notices things that I don’t even notice anymore. And I think the reason I love him so much in this part of his character is that I used to be like that a lot more. And I think all of us used to be like that a lot more. But the sad thing is that as we grow and we do things enough, we just start to lose a sense of wonder about life, right?
Kind of get dull. Like Scott shared routine. Things can get routine. And that’s kind of the danger that our hearts grow cold and that we just kind of do things on autopilot and not take in the reality of what it is, especially sacred things. Christmas is one of those things that is sacred.
For Luke, he makes this face, and I caught it last week. I was like, Whoa, I told him something and I had like, a camera. And I was like, what do you think about that? And he’s like, whoa. I snapped it. And that’s what his face looks like most of the day. And he’s just so full of wonder. And Christmas and the reality of what it means for us is people and what it’s always going to mean, it’s always going to be worthy of this kind of wonder, as if you’ve heard it for the first time. Because no matter how many times we hear it, the truth is we’ll never fully get it. Like it is a deep miracle and mystery. It’s the story of how God on the surface you can say it, you can tell it. It’s the story of how God came down to be with man and sit with us in all our brokenness and all our mess and just be there with us, his compassion and his love. He became a baby, grew up and did all that was needed to help us out of that mess. And that’s what we’ll unfold. So I want the story to unfold. I want John to do it.
But this is the story of the Emmanuel. We’ve heard that name, right? God with us. That’s what it means. That Jesus came to be with us. He condescended Himself in a loving way, the God of the universe, to become a little baby that could have been killed by Herod, right, that was born in the most humble of circumstances, uncomfortable, but he did it for us.
It’s a mystery. The why of it is a mystery. The how of it is a mystery. It’s not ordinary and it’s not routine. And that word is going to be said a lot.
But when you think about this, our lives are filled with routines that are very helpful, right? They’re not mind boggling like this event. They’re mind numbing. You do them unthinkingly. You tie your shoes unthinkingly, you wake up, bedtime, bath time, food, all of it. You just do it day in, day out. And so much of life, it’s helpful that it’s that way. But the danger for Christians is that the longer and the more often you do Christmas, you start to kind of notice the things that maybe don’t deserve our attention, because the one thing that it’s really about, the core of it, is such a mystery. It’s like our minds can’t wrap around that. But I can wrap around a reindeer, right?
I can wrap around a Christmas tree or anything else, but the fact that God became a human being for my sake. Christmas can become like that mind numbing thing where we don’t give it the weight of glory that it deserves. And so to this morning, my goal is that you would regain a sense of wonder about the Christmas story. That’s all I want to do, just reawaken and stoke in the wonder that maybe you once had when you heard it. And if you’ve been to church a bit, you you might not realize just how routine that story is. You know, that you can tell it and retell it and hear it and just hear it again, and it still has kind of lost its magic. But it’s all about you. This story has so much to do with you.
And year after year, we have to fight to not let it become sentimental. I think a lot of Christmas movies I love. I love lots of, I like Elf, that’s kind of a fun one. But it just it distracts and it’s a way to cope with the inability to grasp all of it and not just sit there and sit there and think, wow, God was in a manger. He was actually in a manger and he could be held. That’s crazy. So let’s ponder and let’s wander and wonder into the scriptures and really sit with what John will show us in his gospel this morning.
We don’t want it to become what is worthy of this title, the most wonderful time of the year. We just don’t want it to become the most routine time of the year. And so let’s take some time and talk about John.
So I hope you’re there. John does a really cool job, a very unique job of telling the Christmas story. And I think some people, and they’re like, John, there’s no Christmas story in that book. That’s why it’s probably the most exciting one to preach on, because it really does make you think about it in a way you don’t usually think about it.
Matthew has his story in Bethlehem. He got the Wise Men and all of that. We heard that last week. Really kind of the traditional story. And there’s so much wanting, too.
Like, so much of that story that he only went into Matthew two, but there was Matthew one, Matthew three, like, so many elements of that story that are incredible. And then you have Luke. I’m sorry. Yeah, Luke coming next week, right, on Christmas weekend. That’s going to be what you would think. Get a head start, read it. But today let’s look at John. And I think John’s pretty cool because he has probably the most epic Christmas story, like, mind blowing Christmas story. And it’s cool. All of Jesus’s disciples, they had various degrees of closeness and friendship with Jesus, but John was set apart. John actually had, like, the closest friendship with Jesus.
He had the most alone time and the most meaningful conversations, at least in his words. He gives himself that title, right? I’m the one loved by Jesus. And he was in the inner circle. No one else argues that John was the closest.
He leaned in the closest. And he probably had a secret handshake I like to believe. A little dap, park it like, whatever Luke likes to park it. That’s his secret thing. It’s like, just so you know, if he ever gives you one of these, he wants you to give him DAP, and you got a screech as you go in. And I like to imagine John and Jesus were that close, that they would do embarrassing things and laugh together more than any others. In fact, he probably had, I would say, the chance to be the most familiar and routine with Jesus of any of them. The most close ups probably knew all the human things that Jesus was doing. That that’s not what I’m here to talk about.
But he saw the humanity of Jesus, right? And he knew firsthand how Jesus Jesus was a man. He was a man. He was God, of course, but he got to see more than anyone else. And so it’s especially noteworthy when you look here in the first three words of John’s gospel, what he says and how he wants to tell his story.
I’ll just say what he’s not going to do. He’s not going to tell a VIP like, I was the closest. I’m going to tell you something no one else heard, because I was his bestie. And I just want to elevate myself and say, no other gospel writer can say this, so I’m going to say this. I’m going to give a unique angle.
He had nothing in it about himself. In fact, he’s like, let’s start, and I want you to wonder with me at who Jesus is. This is how he begins. In the beginning, he backs up to the dawn of eternity. That’s how he’s going to start.
So let’s read the whole thing. Verses one through 18 says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God. The word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him was not anything made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. There was a man sent from God, whose name was John, John the Baptist, that is. He came as a witness to bear witness about the light that all might believe through Him. He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light. The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, yet the world did not know Him. He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born not of blood, nor the will of the flesh, nor the will of man, but of God. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us. And we have seen his glory. Glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. John bore witness about him and cried out, this was he of whom I said, he who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me. For from his fullness we have all received grace upon grace. For the law was given through Moses. Grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God, the only God who is at the Father’s side, though he has made him known.”
So John is taking us back, and this is like an incredible, poetic, beautiful scripture about Jesus. I remember a whole year of my walk with God. I just kind of pondered and came back to this, and it was like, what does this mean? And I think I get it a little bit. I get it enough to preach about it, okay? But it still leaves me with wonder and mystery as I look at this. And I know someday I’ll get to meet Him face to face. And I can’t wait to see this word, this Word of God, his name for Jesus in this section here.
So when John, he takes us back, he wants to tell us a story about Jesus. And in the spirit of Christmas, he says, like, let’s start at the beginning, but not the beginning you think. Let’s start at the really way beginning. Let’s all the way back, you know, before the stars were born. It’s just he is just him. Him and his father together and the spirit. And this is all that’s on the scene. Like, this is the Jesus that I’m about to tell you about. Who, he was here before pages were invented, before ink, before words were spoken. He was the Word waiting to speak life into everything. This is Jesus. He’s not an ordinary man, so he doesn’t have an ordinary origin story, right?
He didn’t just change the world or save the world. He made the world. And I’m about to tell you about Him. This baby lying in a manger. This is where he comes from.
So today in this opening chapter, I kind of just want to highlight three things that I can pick out from John’s beautiful introduction of Jesus into the world. And I’d like to kind of ponder them with you as we ponder this Christmas story. And there’s a lot more that you can look at later, but we just have time for three. So the Christmas story is the story of three things for this morning. One, it’s the story of the Word of God becoming flesh.
Second, it’s the story of the light of God dawning into our dark world. And thirdly, it’s the story of the Lamb of God who comes to take away the sins of the world. Those are three things we want to look at.
So number one, the first thing Christmas is about is it’s about the Word, the Word that became flesh. We’ve read this section here recently and when you look here in the first opening verses, the Word Or, the Logos, the Logos. It was the thing that kind of everyone could understand. It’s behind everything, right? It’s the inception of thought that thinks things into being. It’s a divine expression of truth in the world, right? An origin of truth. That it’s the expression, a Word expresses something. Jesus, his express intent is to express who God is, right? Verse 18 says he makes God known. He puts them out there and puts God in his presence into the world.
That’s who he is.
He says a couple of interesting things that you can see about this Word becoming flesh. It says that he’s eternal, forever. No beginning, no origin story, actually, really. But this is the best we can do. We can back up as far as our minds can handle before they explode.
He’s eternal. He’s a distinct personality. So he is his own person. He’s his own man. But it says he was with God in the beginning, right?
So he was there and then it says he was God, not another guy. He was God himself, right, but his own person. So that’s kind of mind boggling. People have argued about that for hundreds of years. And there’s a right way to say it and a wrong way to say it. And man, I’m always worried about explaining the Trinity. But he was God, and he was also, it says, the Creator, that all things are made through him. So the whole universe was in his hands. He made it all. This is who the Word is. And this story is about how this Word became flesh. Like he bled. The word it’s nothing ordinary. To understand this, John helps us beautifully and he helps us to feel the weight of verse 14 because it’s not ordinary. And so once you get what he’s introduced the Word as when he says in verse 14 that the Word became flesh and dwelt among us and we have seen his glory, that’s like, Whoa. This Word, this word we’ve just described, he is not familiar, not routine, not mundane. Like, you can’t even grasp who he is. And he is here. He’s here.
You know, what he’s saying is that this little baby and this little stable I think stable was a kind word I’ve heard. It’s probably a cave like kind of cut into rock. This little baby in a cave in a little bowl that a donkey would drool in and slop and eat its food. That was his first crib. He was actually the creator of the universe, the one who made the stars, right? Who made the donkey and made the mom and all the DNA and everything that, that would hold him and support him. He was its creator.
Jesus is God. Like, we are worshiping God. You got Santa Claus, you got, you know, all these things and then you got God himself. Like I don’t need to compare them. There is all right, we’re we’re worshiping God like, like nothing can steal the show from, from Jesus and his entrance into the world.
God, he was in the manger. Like ponder that. Ponder that with me. It’s, it’s, it’s what the Bible says. And I think if you, you know, you walk around, you listen to just the radio for a minute, you’ll realize people don’t have room for this reality in the way they think. They don’t have this way of thinking. They’re too naturalistic or miracles are like, miracles, that would be a miracle. Wait. They have no way of understanding or thinking this through.
And honestly, it’s because it is a miracle. It is impossible. And yet it happened. God who writes the rules can break the rules. I don’t know how he became a man, but there’s no scientific way to explain that. God made man, right?
And so there are so many things here that you just have to realize this is not ordinary, this is crazy. And if you find Jonah and the whale, like it’s a stretch, it’s a whale tail. I’ve heard people say that. If that’s hard to swallow, thank you. Thank you. Then you got to realize like the birth of God, like God inserting himself into humanity, that’s crazy too. And if feeding 5000 people or Jesus healing people, you know, like just with a touch is crazy, you got to realize from the very beginning, God is a God of miracles and he’s a God of wonder. And if you can’t, if you can’t sit with that, I don’t think you’ll get far in the story of Jesus and who he was from the very beginning.
So nothing is more impossible than this right here, that God became a helpless human baby named Jesus Christ. That can’t be familiar to you guys. I want you to try to wrap your mind around it with as much effort as you can. And if you feel like you’ve done it, keep going because you haven’t yet. But try. Try because that’s how you stand in awe of who God is. The story of Christmas is the story of the word of God becoming flesh.
And if you read on in verse four. Our second thing to point out is in verse four, he says in him in this word was life and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it. And then down in verse nine, he says the true light which gives light to everyone was coming into the world. What he’s also saying here is that the story of Christmas is a story of the light of God dawning into a dark, dark world. That our world gets this sunrise, that the light of God would come in the form of Jesus.
In Isaiah nine, like Scott shared earlier, Isaiah nine, verse two, a few sentences before, it says that the people walking in darkness have seen a great light. On those living in the land of deep, deep darkness, a light has dawned. And then in verse six he says, for unto us a child is born, a son is given, then Government will be on his shoulders, and he’ll be called Wonderful Counselor, mighty God, everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. He has all of those titles at once. And he is this light that’s dawned on a people walking in darkness.
And what’s crazy is this prophecy, it’s a prophecy because it was written 700 years before Jesus came on the scene. This is 700 years before John One was ever even written. And yet God here is saying like, I’m going to fulfill my promises to my people that they will have a savior and they are lost and broken and they don’t know where they’re going. But Jesus is coming. And these people, these people he speaks about and we would be lumped into this too, they walk around in deep darkness. Deep, deep darkness. Not just like I can see a little bit, it’s kind of foggy or kind of dim. No deep darkness. Like you can’t see your hand in front of your face. In a spiritual way, you are lost.
And so Jesus, here he comes to be the light of the world, to be the light of the world, to turn on the lights and to help you see that man like gosh, Jesus is your only hope. Let me just turn on the light. I got to do that.
Let there be light, right. He said that first. Before creation. And he’s also saying that in the lives of men and women that get to meet Him, right. That the magi would travel so far to meet Him and that a light would guide them is so appropriate, right. And I think that one of the problems that we have to grasping this. We have an obstacle and that’s that the way the world thinks is really different from this. It flies in the face of this. And the way the world’s thinking goes is like, okay, and especially during Christmas time, okay, I’m going to be a Grinch for a second. It’s going to sound like it, but I’m for Jesus, all right. And so the way the world thinks is all right maybe if there’s a little Christmas cheer and I sing loud for all to hear and dress my front yard as many lights as I can and all the kind of things and get into the spirit. Maybe if I give out a couple of hugs, invite a stranger in my home and little frosty mugs and whatever. I’m not writing a storybook right now, but I kind of want to. But yeah, there’s so much magic and Christmas dust like elf and if you can just be kind enough, maybe we can work together and the best of humanity that we can defeat the darkness in the world, that we have the light within us. Have you ever heard that? To make a change?
I’ve heard others say, but I’ve not heard God say that. It’s kind of this faith in ourselves, and I just kind of took a random quote. There are so many on social media like, believe in your light, right? And it sounds great. It sounds fuzzy. It sounds right, actually. And I think because we know deep down that there is something wrong. Something has gone out within us. Something has gone out because of sin. But we can’t muster up a part of ourselves to make the world a little brighter. If any light were coming to the world at all, it won’t come from us. Do you guys understand that?
In John’s gospel here, it says quite the opposite. He actually says in verse eight, he talks about John the Baptist. And he clarifies. He kind of pauses and like, all right, get through this. He’s talking about John like the word became flesh and then talk about John the Baptist. What’s the difference here? Like, why? But he goes to this guy because he’s ushering in the light and he makes certain that the spotlight is not on John. He says, John came as a witness about the light, that all might believe through him. He was not the light, but he came to bear witness about the light.
So he’s like, look, even John the Baptist, who Jesus himself calls the greatest of all men, he was not the light. There was no light in him. He just knew where to point people to. Like, the source of light is over here, right?
He is over there. And I think we feel, like, so disturbed that man we have no light in us because we realize God didn’t start humanity out like that, right? Sin and its effect, it’s darkened our hearts. It’s twisted us and darkened our eyes. And Satan has done that to so many where he’s blinded men and women from the beauty of the gospel in Corinthians four four.
That’s what Satan wants to do. But our sin, right? Our sin has clouded our hearts in darkness. It wasn’t like that from the start, but it’s just the effect sin has on our hearts, right? That now, no matter how much we try to come together. I don’t know if you’ve ever done a big group hug one time. Have you ever done a jelly roll hug? It’s like everyone holds hands and you roll and you’re like, Big group hug. And then you unroll, and it’s like, so fun. Like, that warms my heart. Even that doesn’t bring light. I can’t light my own path. No one can. You can’t see your way back. We’re all in the dark without Jesus. If you get someone who’s in darkness and you put them with someone else who’s in darkness, all you have is more darkness and more affirmation. Like, it’s not just me. I need someone to help me. And you can’t do it, and I can’t do it. Who then can help us? Because nobody knows the way to heaven on their own. So that’s why Jesus came. That’s the story of Christmas, that Jesus came to shine light into a dark world and show us the way.
Back to verse nine. Let’s read through 13. He says it well. He says, “The true light, which gives light to everyone, he gives it to us. He was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, yet it didn’t know Him. And he came to his own, and his own people didn’t receive Him. But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born not of blood, nor the will of the flesh, nor the will of man, but born of God.”
That’s the goal. That’s what this light came to do, to show us the way to the hand of a father and a king who would say, come with me to my kingdom of light, right? Jesus came to make way so we could be something that we are just not. We are not. He made a way that we could be children of God, that we also could be children of God, a God who’s ready to adopt us and to be a son or daughter of his very own. What an incredible, incredible gift. I don’t know where you’re at today on this spectrum of light and dark. I know where you’re at, apart from Jesus, right? I don’t know if Jesus has kind of turned the lights on in your life yet, but I know that all of us know what darkness feels like. And spiritual darkness is thick. You can feel it in the air. You can feel it when you breathe in, and you just know. God, I don’t know where I’m at, but I’m not with you. And that’s all I know. And maybe you know because you’ve been there, right? You’ve been there. You know what it’s like to be in darkness, to be trapped, to be lost, stuck without direction. I got me. I got my sin. Let’s just keep doing this until something works and let my sin see how far it takes me. Maybe I’ll find God. I don’t know what I need, but I know I need something. You know that.
Or maybe you know that. And this hits home because you are there today. Maybe this is where you’re at. Darkness. You’re like, wow, that makes sense. I see this. I want light. I want to be with the light. My life is so dark, right? My sin is so powerful, I don’t know how to untangle it because I can’t even see the knots to untie them. And I need Jesus to scatter the darkness in my life. I desperately want to know Jesus. And if only someone would like John the Baptist, what does it say he did bear witness about the light that I might believe. I just need someone to open their mouth and testify that Jesus. Just testify. Show me and tell me everything that Jesus did in your life and maybe he could do something like that in my life.
And maybe you’re sitting here because you need to go to someone in darkness and tell them about the light, right? Maybe that’s your whole purpose in life, that God says, I want you to change this life, and that’s going to change this life and it’s going to change the world in a minor way because Jesus is the hero. And you’re just going to tell them about Jesus, just like John the Baptist. And maybe this week you need to do that, right? You got the beginning of the story. The end of the story is beautiful too, but you can start it’s Christmas week. What a better opportunity to tell them why Jesus came, what the Christmas story is about? It’s about a light coming to a dark and dark world. And so Jesus helps us find our way back not to a dim light, but to his full presence, clear and with him.
And so our last thing that John wants us to ponder about Jesus is that Christmas is the story of a lamb. And as we ponder as we ponder the Christmas story this morning, I want us to think about its purpose as we conclude the purpose of this story. It’s why, right? What’s the cliche for that? It’s reason for the season, right? And it starts to become clear as as he introduces this John the Baptist guy. Like I said, like John the Baptist, man, he plays a role and it says that he was a witness about the light.
And he and this is his witness. John says something. It defines how we see the Christmas story. You got to turn the page to verse 29. So John was a witness and you get to see what he witnesses. You get to see in verse 29 in live time. It says, “The next day, John the Baptist saw Jesus coming toward him and said, behold the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.”
So you got to imagine, like, John is teaching and spending all his time talking about Jesus. Forgets to eat, eats locust, drinks honey. He’s just all in. I have no time, but my time is short, and I got to tell him about Jesus. And then Jesus walks towards him, right? And he knows who Jesus is, and he knows that people don’t know who Jesus is. And so he’s so excited to point out, like, this is the man. Don’t miss him. He’s right here. Wow. And he’s coming to John, and he wants us not to miss that he really is the savior of the world. He really is the eternal word. He’s the light. He’s the lamb.
You have to understand that John had to point out Jesus, because, I mean, Jesus was kind of ordinary in a lot of ways. He came not to be like, look at me. I’m the king of the world. Like, he’ll have that time. It’s coming. But he came, like I said, in the most humble of circumstances. Born to teenagers, broke teenagers that slept in a cave when they had a baby. And he was a blue collar worker working with his hands, likely a stonemason or a carpenter, one of the two. He knew how to put in a hard day’s work, and he sweat, and I’m sure he bled and broke fingers, and he was your everyday kind of guy that made society. He added to society.
So John is like, it is time. I see Jesus is coming up. I’m going to point you out. Like, don’t miss this. You know, like, simple man on the surface, right?He’s not wealthy. He’s not flashy. He doesn’t look like a king, but he is not an ordinary man. And so John like, when he stands out, he he what does he say? What’s the first word to introduce him? He says behold. You don’t whisper the word behold. Behold is a word for an announcement. Behold. Literally, it’s like, let me get your attention, right?
Do you know who this is? It’s a word for a megaphone. It’s a word that says, do you know whose presence you are in? Behold. That’s what you say when you want to wake someone up who’s sleeping or turn ahead who’s distracted or someone who’s in a routine. You want to get them out of their routine. You say, behold. Behold. That’s what you do with a sense of wonder and awe. It’s not a casual word.
It’s not a casual announcement. In fact, they would say behold if a king would come in town like, behold the herald’s trumpet and a king, he’s here, right? And this is what John is doing. But the thing is, you cannot behold something that’s familiar. You can’t. Beholding is not a casual act. You can see something if it’s familiar, but you can’t behold it. Jesus’s brothers did not behold Jesus until later. You can understand Him on a surface, but you can’t behold it unless you’re standing in awe. And I think it’s really hard to keep that sense of awe and wonder about Jesus. When you see a nativity scene on the side of the road and you’re like thinking more about what kind of plastic, if it’s up to code, if it was all faded, the lights are out, or, I don’t know, did they make that nativity scene with whatever, you just get lost in things that are so routine. And I think I made it an exercise to look for as many nativity scenes this week. And I’m like, wow, do they know what’s in their yard? It’s in their attic half the year.
For me, though, I’ve lost a sense of beholding at times. I don’t pause and like, wow, that’s amazing. When I talked about Luke and his birthday, it would make sense that Luke’s birthday coincides kind of with maybe Mary’s pregnancy journey, that Molly was pregnant with Luke all the way leading up to Christmas time. And I remember the first year he was born, and I was like, wow, he’s going to be born maybe on Christmas, right?
And just thinking about Jesus and his story and really connecting because of the timing of that and thinking like, man, it was such a wonder filled time for me. And I think it’s a battle every year to fight to connect with the depth of what that really meant, that God would become a man. It can happen so easily that we lose our awe because I think we are flawed and we’re broken with our sin. And part of that is that we don’t appreciate beautiful things. We’d rather eat from a manger, right? All of life is like the most beautiful things. Their glory fades, but not this eternal Word. He’s still worthy of us to behold. We have to fight to continually behold Him because he was born so he could die for us.
Communion thought. I really want to just give us time to ponder and wonder about Jesus coming and remember that time in his life, to remember Jesus and recall Him and his coming as a baby. Right. We usually think about all the stories, but this one is infinitely mind boggling, that perhaps you just need to get back to that sense of awe, right? Awe and wonder.
And here’s a couple of things to consider. One is that in awe, think about in awe that the one who could hold the universe in his hands. He could hold it all in his hands at one time. He could fit into the palms of someone’s hands. All of that. In awe, consider that the one who spoke the universe into existence with his words had to undergo the process of learning to talk and learning to even say words. That he would go through all of that. In awe that the actual word of God. He was born so he could be a lamb, right? A lamb is born usually for one or two things, right? In this society, a lamb was a sacrifice. A lamb born with the intent to die in your place for your sin and for your forgiveness.
We’re going to take communion. What we’re going to do is we’re just going to marvel at his love for us. His act of being born was the beginning of the most loving thing anyone has done for you or ever will do for you. That he could be born in such a vulnerable state. It’s vulnerable to be a human. I mean, I know that this season is a happy time, but man, a lot of people connect with death more than any other time during this time of year.
And to be born means we’re all going to die too. And Jesus knew I’m being born, so I will die. I will die and I will be vulnerable so that I can get through the most vulnerable spots in your heart as well. That’s my end game, that I can have communion with you and you can have communion not just with Jesus, but with each other now. We can help each other and celebrate that we all share such a great gift, there’s enough to go around.
And so we’re taking communion, right? And we’re meditating on how this little baby in a manger came to deal with our sin. He became physical so that his story could climax in death, should have been your death, but it was his. And what we can celebrate this morning is the incredible gift that he gives us. And it’s a free pass on all of our sins and all that our sins deserve.
So with that, let’s go ahead and let’s pray together and meditate with wonder. Dear God, we thank you so much for all that you have done for us. We are so grateful that ultimately, the Christmas story, while it doesn’t begin with us or anyone on this planet, it does end with us in mind and it ends with Your aim to reconcile us to you. Because, God, it’s a story about your Word becoming flesh. It’s a story about Your light shining into our dark world and taking on our darkness and giving us hope to know who you are and how to follow you.
And it’s also God, a story about a lamb, innocent in every way, that came to die for us and take away our sins. And for that we love you and we praise you and give us every sense of wonder back that we’ve lost. We love you. It’s in Jesus name we pray. Amen.