Sermon for Christmas Day based on John 1:1-14
Dear people in the light of Christ: grace, mercy, and peace to you from God the Father and our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.
Our Gospel lesson for Christmas Day is the most important of the Christmas accounts for knowing who Jesus is. It most clearly teaches that Jesus is not just man, but that He is divine; that He is God.
First, we see this because He is the Word. John points us back to the beginning as recorded by Moses in Genesis, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” John writes, “In the beginning was the Word.”
For each day of creation, God created with His Word. The first day, God said, “Let there be light” and there was light. This John corroborates by writing, “All things were made through Him, and without Him was not anything made that was made.”
If everything that was created by God was created through Christ, who is the Word, then that means that Christ is not created. Christ must precede everything that was created. Christ therefore is eternal without beginning.
Nothing exists apart from God and what God has created. If Christ is not created, He is therefore God.
Then John tells us, “And the Word was with God.” This was in the beginning, before creation. There was nothing outside of God, so of course the Word was with God. Again, this is the same that Moses writes. When he writes, “God said, ‘Let there be light’” it shows that whenever God speaks, the Word must be with Him. The Word was with God, a separate person, but also God. Therefore John continues, in order to be as explicit and clear as possible, “And the Word was God.” There is no doubt therefore that Jesus is very God of very God as we confess in the Nicene Creed.
Second, our Christmas Gospel tells us concerning the Word, “In Him was life.” Of course, you cannot create life unless you are the source of life. Apart from the Word, nothing is alive. All things that are alive are alive through the Word.
This is also true of eternal life. Jesus says, “I am the resurrection and the life.” (John 11:25) There is no resurrection without the Word. There is no eternal life without the Word. Only the Word made flesh can give eternal life because only He died to earn you eternal life, and only He conquered death by rising from the dead Himself. Only the Word made flesh can give eternal life because He is the source, the cause, the fountain of life.
Next, our Christmas Gospel tells us concerning the Word, “The life was the light of men.” If the Word is the light of men, without Him, we are in darkness. This is why the prophet Isaiah writes concerning the birth of Christ, “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shined.” (Is. 9:2)
Without Christ, man is in complete spiritual darkness. He may imagine that he is pleasing God in his life. He may think that his ways are right. He may think that he clings to what is life, but because he is in darkness, he really clings to death.
All who trust in Christ for salvation, however, are in the light and have life. Even though our body will die, our soul will live forever and never die. This is what Jesus promises when He says, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die.” (John 11:25-26) “Though he die, yet shall he live” sounds like a contradiction if you don’t know what He means. It is no contradiction. Whoever believes in Christ has eternal life even when his body dies. The body is buried and awaits the day of resurrection, but the soul returns to its maker in Paradise, and is alive.
Christ died as a man and His body was buried. Yet His spirit lived on because He is Life. Life could not and cannot die. Consequently, death was overcome and was swallowed up by life, so much so that His body soon again became alive.
This same Life is the light of men. He who recognizes and believes in such a life in Christ, indeed passes through death, yet never dies. Christ, who is our Life protects him, so that death cannot harm him. Although the body must die and decay, the soul will not feel this death because believers are in the light of Christ, who is Life. On the day of resurrection his body will be raised imperishable and reunited with the soul.
He who does not believe this, remains in darkness and death. Such a soul will taste and feel death, and will die eternally. On the day of resurrection, his body will be raised from the grave and both body and soul will suffer eternally for rejecting Christ who is the Life.
Christ is your life. The soul of all who believe will never taste death because Jesus tasted death for you. The eternal Word who created you, came to earth to save you. God became man to deliver man. He is your light. He is your life.
The darkness of this world cannot overcome the light of Christ. Death cannot overcome Christ, who is the Life. The Word who created you will protect your soul from death and raise your body on the Last Day. He is God, so you know that He keeps His promises and can do what He says He will do. He is eternal, and in Him, you too will live forever.
May these blessed and comforting words of the Gospel strengthen you at this Christmas time. Jesus is the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in Him, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in Him shall never die. Amen.
The peace of God which surpasses all understanding will keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen.