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The Reason For The Season
Some Reflections

The Old Gray Dog Ponders -- Advent of the Word
By Rev. James Tuckett

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it. . .
And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.
John bore witness of Him and cried out, saying, “This was He of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me is preferred before me, for He was before me.’”
And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace. For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him.

John 1: 1-5, 14-18

 

You can have brilliant ideas, but if you can't get them across, your ideas won't get you anywhere.
Lee Iacocca

 

    At first, communicating the Christian message was relatively simple. The first converts were Jewish. However, by 60 AD, there were 100,000 Gentile Christians for every Jewish one.
"That you may believe. . ."
    John wrote his Gospel to provide a basis of faith for believers who were not familiar with the Jewish hope of a Messiah. To complicate matters, Hebrew and Greek thought forms were different.
*Hebrew thinking is expressed in concrete images.
The word of God is a consuming fire.
Isaiah
*Greek thinking is expressed in more abstract images.
The word is the judge of truth.
Heraclitus
    The Holy Spirit led John to see that in both traditions there existed the concept of The Word. Being a Jew living among Greeks, John understood both cultures, and he employed both to make his point . . .
The Word was God . . . and the Word became flesh. . .
    John tells us three things about the Word:

1. The Word was God. Jesus is the eternal Son of the Father; He has always existed as part of the Triune Godhead.
2. The Word was the Creator of all things.
In Him all things were created, in Heaven and on earth, visible and invisible . . .
Col. 1: 16
3. The Word is the source of all Life.
I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.
John 10: 10

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth.
    Here is where Greek and Hebrew thinking found common ground: the abstract became concrete.

    The word translated became means was born. The Word was born a man.
    The word translated dwelt literally means pitched his tent. The Word set up camp with us.

The Word brought three things with Him.

1. Grace. The coming of the Savior was totally uncaused by humanity. It was an unconditional gift.
. . . if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works; otherwise grace would no longer be grace.
Romans 11: 6
    Grace is given to one person because of someone else.
. . . by one man's obedience many will be made righteous.
Romans 5: 19

Grace is the unconditional gift of God's riches at Christ's expense.
2. Truth. This is one of the dominant themes of John's Gospel.

*Jesus is the embodiment of truth.
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. . ."
John 14: 6
*Jesus is the communicator of truth.
So Jesus said, “When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am the one I claim to be and that I do nothing on my own but speak just what the Father has taught me.
John 8: 28
*Jesus made abstract truth concrete. Truth is something which must be known with the mind; accepted with the heart; and enacted in daily living.
I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father but by Me.
John 14: 6

3. Glory.
All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ's behalf: Be reconciled to God.
II Cor. 5: 18-20

. . . in order that we, who were the first to hope in Christ, might be for the praise of His glory.
Eph. 1: 12
    Everything Jesus did glorified God. In Him, everything we do should, too.
What Does It Mean to Us Today that The Word Became Flesh?
    It was John's purpose to present, in a believable way for Gentile readers, the Messiah who could transform their lives.
Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in His name.
John 20: 30-31
    If Jesus was the Word which is responsible for all creation, then we ought to know about Him.
    If Jesus brought grace, truth, and divine glory, then we ought to experience these things in our lives.
    If Jesus paid the price for our sins, then we ought to worship and serve Him.
"A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said wouldn't be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic on the level with a man who says he's a poached egg -- or else he would be the devil of hell; you must take your choice. Either this was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But don't come up with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great moral teacher. He hasn't left that alternative open to us."
C. S. Lewis

    Because we were dead in sin (Eph. 2), God did for us what we could never do for ourselves. He became a man and took our punishment upon Himself. Do you believe this?

God presented Him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in His blood. He did this to demonstrate his justice, because in His forbearance He had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished– He did it to demonstrate His justice at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.
Romans 3: 25-26

Blessed Lord,
Thou gave us the Word that we may understand Thee:
Grant that by patience and comfort of Thy Holy Spirit,
we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed Hope
of eternal life which is our in Christ Jesus, the Word.
In His name we pray,
Amen

“A dog barks when his master is attacked. I would be a coward if I saw that God's truth is attacked and yet would remain silent.”
John Calvin


The Old Gray Dog

Jim Tuckett
theoldgraydogponders.com/