In the Name X of Jesus. Amen! Our text for this morning’s sermon is taken from St. John’s gospel account the first chapter (John 1:1-14).
Beloved in the Lord,
Our God, the God of creation, does not deal with sin, death or evil, as we would expect. Therefore our God does not deal with us as we would expect. Our great expectations never seem to pan out and so expecting God to be different, to act different, to speak different, we get confused. Confused we despair. Despairing we double down the only way we know how. We work harder. We return to the Law. That is the essence of our confusion. We are by nature creatures who cannot conceive of a god other than one who rewards good people and punishes evil people. We much prefer Moses and the Sanhedrin with Pilate and Caesar providing back up rather than what our Lord actually gives us. But again, even our misconceptions leave us dazed and confused because why would a god who rewards good people allow a bad person to shoot dead those who excel in civil righteousness? Why do good people die and bad people never seem to get punished? And it doesn’t have to be random acts of violence, we could also include, cancer, car accidents, war, and the list could go on and on.
In the beginning it was not like this. That’s why St. John takes us back to the beginning. If we’re to get things right we can’t begin to understand things if we are in the middle of things. Everyone is in the middle of this mess. But it’s back at the beginning that our Lord sets us aright.
“In the Beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God. All things were made through Him and without Him nothing was made that was made.” In the beginning things were good, very good, the kind of good we all wish we were and we all wish we had. Man was good. Woman was good. There was no sin to deal with. No sin therefore no death, no cancer, no guns, no wars or rumors of wars. There was no misunderstanding each other, no misconceptions about God, no despair, and no fear. “In Him was life and the life was the light of the world.” Where the Word was there was life and life was good, very good.
But Adam rejected God’s Word. Eve took the fruit and then gave some to her husband. With that original sin, sin came to us all. With sin in the world there followed death. Death and sin go together. Death spread to all men, women, and children, because in Adam’s sin, we all sinned. Until you get that original sin right you won’t get the yourself right and you won’t get God right.
Original sin, the sin from the beginning, the sin that rejected God’s Word and set aside the Life of the World, brought a depravity upon us that we can feel and experience in our every day lives. Even here, though, what we feel and experience doesn’t faze us. We all seem to think that we’re really not as bad as we observe nor as Holy Scripture teaches. There’s always someone worse. That’s why need more law, more Moses, more government. Not to curb our sin, but to curb our neighbor’s sin. That’s how we think and believe sin should be dealt with. And that is the wrong way to think and believe.
God doesn’t deal with sin the way we expect. Our Lord deals with a sinful world in much the same way He brought creation into being. He gives His Word. The Word was with God and . . . the Word became flesh. He doesn’t just give a word we can hear. He gives a Word we can see and touch. “In many and various ways God spoke to His people of Old but now in these last days He has spoken to us by His Son.” God’s Word becomes flesh. God’s Son is born of a virgin. The Word is heard and the Word is active. The Word does what it says. Jesus fulfills the Word, enfleshes the Word, and moves about from place to place, ear to ear, heart to heart.
Yet even in the giving of His incarnate Word, He astounds us. He doesn’t thunder from the Mountain. He did that once and frightened all Israel. The Lord doesn’t want to frighten you. He wants to deal with you sin and your death. To do that, He wishes to draw near to you. To draw near to you the Lord became flesh. Becoming flesh he was born of a virgin. This, beloved is how our God deals with our sin and our sinful world. He sends a Baby, a baby born of a virgin, a baby born without sin, original or actual. He is the baby for the sins of the world. He is the baby for you and me and all who desperately long for the end of sin and the destruction of death.
This baby grows and matures and lives a life we are unable to live. We are depraved, corrupted, full of sin. He has no sin, but is full of righteousness. He is fully human, fully man, fully male. He is born for our babies, born a boy for our little boys and for our husbands and fathers and brothers. He is born of woman for our little girls, born to save our sisters and mothers and wives. There is none left out of His salvation. He has assumed our full human nature. Nothing is lacking with Jesus. And yet Jesus is also fully God. The Word with God in the beginning became flesh and dwelt among us. He is God of God, light of light, very God of Very God, begotten not made.
This is how God deals with our sin. This is how our God saves you. He takes your place under the Law, the Law you have broken with your sins. He suffers your punishment. He dies your death, and He gives His life as a ransom for yours and for all people. Who would’ve expected that? Who would’ve fathomed a baby? And who would have thought of a cross?
For this baby is destined to be crucified for you. “He came unto His own but His own did not receive Him.” They examined Him. They listened to Him. This cornerstone didn’t fit the world’s expectations. They tossed Him outside the city gates and they put Him to death. But our God doesn’t deal with sin as we expect. He doesn’t wave His hands in the air like a magician. His hands are nailed in place. He doesn’t perform some sort of disappearing act. He takes away the sins of the World. He doesn’t go about in glory but suffers the agony of the cross. He doesn’t fight to save His life but surrenders into death and is laid in a tomb. He doesn’t see decay but three days later Jesus leaves the tomb – risen from the dead, sin defeated, the grave made powerless, the devil’s teeth knocked out and eternal life made certain for all who believe and are baptized. He does the unexpected, the unimaginable, the unbelievable!
Now, we cannot see our Jesus as the disciples did so long ago. Instead, our God comes to us in a most miraculous manner. He hides Himself in water. He clothes Himself with bread and wine. And He speaks through the voice of a sinful mortal. Through these means of grace He gives the forgiveness of our sins. This is how our God deals with our sin, our death, and the devil. Receiving these with faith we touch, taste and listen to the God of creation, the God of the heavens and the earth, the sea and the dry land, the God who levels mountains and walks on water.
This God of creation is come for you. He is born for all. Listen to His Word. Repent! Believe the Gospel. Come back ever Lord’s Day for more and more. Our God isn’t like we expect. He wills to give you more, to be near you, to uplift, to strengthen you and to save you from the perils of your sins.
Beloved in the Lord, now that we’ve been to the beginning and back let us approach the throne of God eating and drinking and making merry in His Spirit. There is joy today, joy in this house, joy in our God and Savior. Merry Christmas and Joy to the World! AMEN!
The peace of God which surpasses all understanding keep your heart and mind through faith in Christ Jesus. AMEN!
Pastor Tony Sikora
Hope Lutheran Church
De Witt, MI