(A Christmas sermon)
Theme sentence: Jesus, the Word made flesh, came to bring light, life and adoption.
Aim sentence: Keep receiving and believing in Jesus and the light, life and adoption He brings.
Superhero movies are hugely popular – Who of you are fans of Superhero movies?
Justice League is on at Ster Kinekor at Somerset Mall at the moment.
Listen to this from the description of the Justice League movie.
“Despite the formation of this unprecedented league of heroes – Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Cyborg and The Flash – it may already be too late to save the planet from an assault of catastrophic proportions.”
Wow, that sounds amazing! I haven’t seen the movie – but I’m pretty sure I know who wins!
Every year more and more of these movies hit the screens – and audiences can’t seem to get enough of them.
Why are these movies so popular?
Many say it is because something deep within us longs for a rescuer. Someone like us, but better.
In all these movies there is some deadly crisis that our planet is facing. And a rescuer – or team of rescuers come along to save the day.
And the audience gets to walk out of the cinema with a joy – a peace – knowing that good wins in the end.
Our world is longing for a rescuer – someone like us, but better – who can sort out the mess around us.
As Christians, we have a great opportunity to offer truly good news to a worried world.
The Gospel answers the reality of this longing in our hearts for a rescuer.
God’s Word tells us that the deadly crisis on our planet is called sin – it affects every single one of us. And only He can save us from it.
Jesus is the one who came that first Christmas so that He could save the world.
John 1 tells us that Jesus is human – someone like us, but better, God-with-us, Emmanuel.
There is a great picture that does the rounds from time to time.
Jesus, sitting with a group of superheroes, saying, “And that’s how I saved the world!”
He is the rescuer our world is longing for.
And unlike all these other superheroes – Jesus is real.
The superheroes we read about in The Marvel Collection are not real. They were made up in the minds of some creative people.
The Hero we read about in The Bible IS REAL!
John wants us to know that he SAW Jesus with his own eyes – and John wants us know for sure that Jesus is the rescuer our world needs.
Look at verse 14, “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”
If you’re looking for a rescuer – a Hero – here He is – Jesus brings Life and Light.
Life and Light (1 – 9)
John starts his Gospel by putting the spotlight on Jesus and highlighting how amazing Jesus is.
And he ends his Gospel by giving us his reason for writing. In John 20:31 we read, “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.”
You see life is on offer here.
True life – Full life – Eternal life.
This whole section is about Jesus – and look what John says in verse 4, “In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”
Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night and I need to go to the loo – or I need a drink of water.
Do any of you ever do that?
When I wake up I slip out of bed and walk through the house in the dark. I know my house quite well – so most of the time that goes well.
But sometimes something has been left on the floor – or a piece of furniture has been moved – or a cupboard door left open – and I end up hurting myself – crash – stomp – ouch!
Now I never would crash into those things if the light was on.
Light helps us to navigate properly.
John is telling us that Jesus is the light shining into the darkness of our world.
He helps us to understand how life works best – how to make it through this life best.
His light began to shine that first Christmas – and 2000 years later His light shines more brightly than ever!
His light shines onto the darkness of our sin – He shows us what a mess we are in – Exposing our need for a rescuer.
Not only does Jesus rescue us – but He gives us LIFE – true life – eternal life.
If you think life is good here and now – John wants you to know that there is even better – fuller – truer life on offer.
The true superhero has come with life giving power!
You see, the Hulk is strong – but he is not real.
Superman can fly – but he is not real.
Jesus brings Life and Light – and He is real.
So we sing:
“Hail the heaven-born prince of peace
Hail the Son of Righteousness
Light and Life to all He brings.”
How should we respond to this light and life?
John tells us next that Jesus needs to be received and believed in.
Receive and believe (10 – 13)
Look at verse 12, “To all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.”
This one who brings light and life needs to be received!
But look at the shock in verse 10, “He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognise him.”
The world was made by Jesus – but when He came – most people didn’t recognise who He was.
Isn’t that so sad?
In the movie Notting Hill, there is a great scene where a famous American actress, Anna Scott, ends up having supper with a group of very ordinary people.
Everyone at the table knows who she is – except one guy – Bernie.
Bernie makes a fool of himself – because he doesn’t realise that he is in the presence of greatness.
Imagine meeting the Almighty God – The God who created the world and everything in it – Imagine meeting Him – and not recognizing Him.
That would be pretty embarrassing, wouldn’t it?
We’ll that is what happened with Jesus.
Look at verse 11, “He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him.”
He wasn’t just not recognised – he was actually rejected.
The King of the universe – creator of all – rejected by His creatures.
We can still meet Jesus today – we meet Him in His Word, the Bible. But many still reject Him!
But not all rejected Him back then – and not all reject Him today.
Look at the mind-boggling news in verse 12.
“Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.”
Not only does this rescuer come bringing light and life.
He comes with signed adoption papers.
Signed with His blood.
Those who receive Him and believe in Him don’t just get to join His team – they get to join His family!
If you are a Christian here this morning you get a share in Jesus’ family wealth – which is beyond your wildest dreams!
John is saying, “Don’t reject Him. Receive Him –and join God’s family.”
“Joy to the world the Lord has come
Let earth RECEIVE her King.”
But how on earth can this be possible for us?
God made it possible when He came to dwell with us.
God with us (14)
Our rescuer can save us – can give us life – can adopt us into His family – because He came as one of us – He came to dwell with us.
Imagine some new neighbours moved in next door to you – and you went to great them with a plate of cookies – You knock on the door and as the door opens there stands Jacob Zuma.
The president of South Africa dwelling in your neighbourhood – next door to your house.
That would be a real shock.
Look at the greater shock in verse 14, “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.”
The Word became flesh.
Don’t miss how BIG this statement is.
Verse 1 tells us that The Word IS GOD.
Verse 3 tells us that ALL THINGS were made by Him!
The Word is God almighty the creator of heaven and earth.
And then we read in verse 14, “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.”
Imagine some new neighbours moved in next door to you – and you went to great them with a plate of cookies – You knock on the door and as the door opens there stands the Lord God of all creation!
The almighty creator came as one of us! God with us – Emmanuel!
He dwelt as a man – in the world He had created – side by side with this creatures – Those who knew Him called Him Jesus.
And the writer of this Gospel, John, saw Him! He lived with Him – spoke to Him – ate alongside Him.
Halfway through verse 14 he writes, “We have SEEN His glory!”
John records the glorious things that he saw Jesus do.
Jesus turned water into wine – glorious.
Jesus healed the sick – glorious.
He fed crowds with a little fish and bread.
And most glorious of all – Jesus died for the sins of the world He had created – and then HE defeated DEATH – He rose to LIFE – Glorious.
Light and LIFE to all He brings.
Jesus came to dwell with us – so that by His death we might dwell with Him – in His glory – forever!
In a world longing for a rescuer – HERE HE IS!
So, how should we respond this Christmas?
If you are a superhero fan – as you watch those movies let them remind you that the ultimate rescuer has come – there is nothing to fear anymore.
Just as the audience gets to walk out of the cinema after a Superhero movie with a joy – a peace – knowing that good wins in the end.
We can all walk out of here today with an immensely bigger joy and peace – knowing that in Jesus GOOD HAS WON.
As we read the Bible we see God’s glory on display most wonderfully in Jesus
His light shines into the darkness of our sinful world.
Bringing life and adoption
If you are here this Christmas and you are still longing for a superhero – a rescuer – someone to make everything right with the world.
You need to know that this Christmas you can receive Him – there is no better gift to receive this Christmas.
The offer to dwell with Jesus – to live with Him – is still on the table.
His light shone into the darkness that first Christmas as a baby’s cry was heard from a stable.
But the cradle wasn’t the highpoint of His life.
He went from cradle – to cross – to grave – so that He could save.
He defeated death as He walked out the grave alive – and He now offers LIFE.
John wrote all this for YOU – so “that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.”
You can walk out of here today with a joy – a peace – knowing that Jesus has won – good has won!
Receive and believe in Jesus – and the light, life and adoption that He brings.