daily biblical sermons


God the Son who existed from all eternity with the Father became man and lived and died among us for our salvation
Fr. Steven Scherrer, MM, Th.D.
Homily of Saturday, The seventh day within the octave of the Nativity of the Lord, December 31, 2022
1 John 2:18-21, Psalm 95 (96), John 1:1-18


Scripture quotations are taken from the Revised Standard Version unless otherwise noted

 

 

 

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God; and 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. He came for testimony, to bear witness to the light, that all might believe through him. He was not the light, but came to bear witness to the light. The true light that enlightens every man was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world knew him not. He came to his own home, and his own people received him not. But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God; who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth; we have beheld his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father. (John bore witness to him, and cried, ‘This was he of whom I said, “He who comes after me ranks before me, for he was before me.”’) And from his fullness have we 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 Son who is in the bosom of the Father, he has made him known” (John 1:1-18).

 

 

This is the prologue to the Gospel of John. It tells us that Jesus Christ existed from all eternity as the Son of God together with his Father. Neither of them was ever made, created, or came into existence, for both always existed from all eternity.

 

 

John calls Jesus the Word. So we see that in God there is more than one person. There is the Father and the Word. Later we will learn that there is also a third person, the Holy Spirit. We see that the Son of God (the Word) is equal in divinity with the Father and has lived with a Father from all eternity. “The Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1).

 

 

St. John says, “In him [The word] was life, and the life was the light of men” (John 1:4). Everyone in the world is enlightened by the Word, the Son of God, for “in him was life, and the life was the light of men”. (John 1:4). All people receive some of the light of the Word. John also says, “The true light that enlightens every man was coming into the world” (John 1:9). This is the true light that all have some experience of. But now this true light (the Word) is actually coming into the world in the incarnation of the Son of God as a man to fully reveal himself to us.

 

 

St. John then says that the Word “was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world knew him not” (John 1:10). This seems to refer to the incarnation of Christ – that the Word actually became flesh and was in the world as a man, but the world did not recognize him as the Word, as God the Son.

 

 

Verse 11 continues this idea, “He came to his own home, and his own people received him not.” This refers to the Jews, the vast majority of whom did not accept him, did not put their faith in him, did not believe in him, and so did not experience his salvation.

 

 

But some did receive him; and these became children of God. “But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God” (John 1:12). These are those who believed in Christ, namely his apostles and other close disciples. These people had a new birth, not the natural birth that everybody has, but a new and second birth to live a new life united to God as his adopted children. John explains that this birth is not a normal human birth, but a birth from God, for they “were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God” (John 1:13).

 

 

Then John makes perfectly clear that he is talking about the Word becoming flesh in the incarnation and living among us as Jesus Christ, whose glory we have seen. “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth; we have beheld his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father” (John 1:14). He came to bring us God’s glory through our faith in him and our union with him in love.

 

 

“And from his fullness have we all received, grace upon grace” (John 1:16). We have received great spiritual riches from him. We have received salvation. He has redeemed us from our sins and liberated us from our guilt. He has forgiven us and declared us ungodly sinners righteous and thereby made us righteous, giving us grace upon grace.

 

 

He did this by his death on the cross in reparation for our sins, in vicarious substitutionary suffering for our sins, He substituted for us who should have died in punishment for our sins so that all who put their faith in him might be justified through their faith. And God will reckon to them his own righteousness so that they shine with the righteousness of God. This is how we have received from his fullness grace upon grace.

 

 

Much more came to us through Jesus Christ than ever came to us through Moses. Moses came to prepare the Jews for Christ, but the fullness of grace and righteousness imputed to us came through faith in Christ: “For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ” (John 1:17).

 

 

Christ is the ultimate revelation of the Father. We have never seen God, but the Son of God has revealed him to us. “No one has ever seen God; the only Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, he has made him known” (John 1:18).

 

 

What does all this mean for us today? It means that in Jesus Christ, through our faith in him, we receive an ineffable abundance of blessings. We receive redemption. We are saved, we are redeemed, justified, and made righteous through our faith in Christ, because of the life and sacrificial death of the Word made man, the Son of God, Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world.

 

 

During this Christmas season we celebrate the coming of Christ incarnate as a man into the world to save us. We rejoice in the salvation that we experience in him. We rejoice that our sins are forgiven and that our guilt is lifted from us. It is God who justifies us through Christ; that is, God declares and thereby makes us ungodly sinners righteous so that we shine with his own righteousness, which he reckons to us, because of our faith in his Son. This is an abundance of blessings never possible under the old law of Moses. This is the fullness of God’s salvation that he in the greatness of his love has revealed to us.

 

 

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