“In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”
When we confess our undoubted Christian faith, as we so often do when we recite the Apostles Creed, it is kind of like boasting about our God. He confesses that He is the great Creator and Provider, that He is our Redeemer and Intercessor, and that He is our Teacher and Sanctifier.
That word “boasting” often has bad connotations. We are told that we should not boast or brag. Were we to boast of our own accomplishments, we certainly should be reminded that we are not to do so. However, when we boast in the Lord, declaring His wonderful deeds, we are not boasting in a bad way. To boast in our God is to confess Him. It is to give wonderful witness to all the great things that God has done and continues to do for us. Certainly we have cause for such boasting!
At the beginning of John’s gospel, John confesses his faith in Jesus. John had much to say about Jesus throughout his gospel. He could not wait to write about the life of Jesus, the signs and miracles of Jesus, and the teachings of Jesus. Most of all, however, John wanted to write about the death and resurrection of Jesus and the freedom that we have when we believe in Jesus and commit our lives to Him.
Before getting to any of the things that Jesus did during His ministry on earth, John boasts about Jesus by telling us who He is. He writes, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” Just a few verses later, he adds, “We have seen His glory” (John 1:14).
John acknowledges that Jesus is eternal. Everything was made by Him. John declares that not even the tiniest thing that exists in this world came to being without Him. In Jesus there is life. In Jesus there is light. Jesus came shining brightly into this dark world, shining His light into the darkness of sin, death, and hell. John writes that Jesus conquered them all. If you are afraid of any of those things (sin, death, hell), then you need to know this Jesus.
John continues to boast about the kingdom, power, and glory of Jesus. But he saves the best for last when he writes that “the Word became flesh and lived for a while among us.” That is the absolute best miracle that could ever take place. The God whom we confess as eternal, incomprehensible, invisible, infinite, and almighty came and dwelt among us!
There was a movie made back in 1947 entitled “Miracle on 34th Street.” It is a cute little story about how Old Saint Nick makes a little girl’s Christmas come true by granting all her wishes. Many of the Christmas specials on television today follow a similar pattern as did that movie years ago. Someone wants lots and lots of presents for Christmas. Through events in the program, this person finds out that giving is more important than getting. Just before the closing credits, the child says, “You know what, Mommy? It really is better to give than to receive.” In brilliant worldly wisdom the mother replies, “Yes, dear. That’s the miracle of Christmas.”
What these Christmas specials do is show us how little we really expect from Christmas. All people really want is for their wishes to be fulfilled. We want stuff. All kinds of stuff that we will tire of and sell at the next garage sale. In the process, the true meaning of Christmas is lost. What Christmas is really all about is that the second person of the Trinity is with us.
That is the good news of this season! In Isaiah 9, the prophet declares that to us a child has been born; to us a Son has been given. The most exciting words in Isaiah’s prophecy are the words “to us.” It is to us that He has come. Very God of very God is with us. For us and to us God Himself has come in the flesh.
Jesus is one with us in every experience of life from birth to death. We do not have a Savior who does not know what we are going through and therefore is unable to sympathize with us. The Bible teaches us that Jesus went through every aspect of life except one. He knows all about hunger and thirst. He knows all about loneliness and rejection. He knows all about pain and suffering. He knows grief, joy, sadness, and every other emotion we have. Jesus experienced everything we experience with the exception of sin. Jesus never sinned.
Not only did Jesus experience life, but because He was without sin, He is able to totally change our lives. He once said, “I am come that you may have life and have it to the fullest.” We can have that full life because of one more thing that Jesus did in His life: He died.
Jesus did not die because He had to die. He did not die just to go through the experience. He died so that through His death we could have eternal life. That is why Paul wrote that if he was to boast in anything, he would boast in the Lord. For Paul, what really mattered was that because of what Jesus Christ accomplished through His death, we have been reconciled to God. Those who know Jesus have the glad assurance that nothing will separate us from the love that God has for us.
“The Word became flesh and dwelt among us.” That is the true wonder of Christmas. It is the absolute best miracle ever. John calls us to place our faith in Jesus. When God is with us, then we are with God. To Him be the praise and the glory forever!