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The Word Became Flesh!

December 25, 2013

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Christmas Day                                                    Trinity Lutheran Church

25 December 2013                                            Murdock, NE


+Jesu Juva +

John 1:14


The heart of this day’s message is this:  “the Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us.”   The enfleshment of God is what this day is all about.  It is historic fact.  At Bethlehem God visibly entered the world by being born as a human being.  God of God, Light of light, very God of very God – who is of one substance with the Father by whom all things were made “came down from heaven and was incarnate [enfleshed] by the Holy Spirit of the Virgin Mary and was made man,” (Nicene Creed).


The eternal Word, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity, took on human flesh.  The Creator of all things became His creature.  The Word through whom light shined into darkness, through whom sea and sky and dry land were separated, through whom plants, birds, fish and animals were made.  He is the One in whose image man and woman were created – the One through whom all creation is blessed and held together.  The Lord of the universe sets aside His royal robes and puts on diapers.  He who perfectly reflects God’s glory and bears the very stamp of His nature – who upholds the universe by His Word, takes on flesh and blood.  The Infinite become the finite.  The Eternal breaks into time.


In this little Baby all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell.  In Jesus the entire fullness of the deity dwells bodily.


“The [eternal] Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us.”


In the Old Testament God’s dwelling place was a tent, the tabernacle.  Then the temple in Jerusalem.  That was where God’s glory and His holy name resided among men.  But now in these last days God has come to dwell with us in a far more intimate way.  His dwelling place is now your flesh and blood.  His temple is His body, born of His mother Mary.  His temple is also your bodies joined together as living stones united by His body and His blood.


Behold the wonder of Christmas:  the only-begotten Son divested Himself of His kingly crown and scepter to take on the vestments of a servant.  He came not as a stranger, but as your brother.  Not as a judge but as the Savior.  Not in power and might but in weakness and humility.  He came to be Immanuel:  God with us.


The incarnation is super disgusting.  Christmas offends.  Always has.  Always will.  There will always be someone trying to outlaw the celebration of Christmas.  Sinners don’t want God so close.  Don’t want God to be God in that way – way down here in the flesh.


Sinners want to be God.  To replace God with themselves!  Sinners want to exalt themselves, be the center of everything, and be little divinities not God’s creatures.  There is no inherent desire in us to become servants.  We throw in the towel.  We do not tie the towel around our waist to stoop down and wash feet.  We want nothing to do with becoming nothing for the sake of others.  We sinners are bound in our 24-7-365 quest to be gods unto ourselves.


So, incredibly, God does the unthinkable.  He reaches down to us.  To be with us, His rebellious sinners.  He reached down to us deeply.  He became one of us.  The least among us – the most despised – a tiny, poor helpless infant.  We did nothing to bring Him from heaven.  He comes without our invitation.  Without our preparation, decision or welcome.  He comes without our help or consultation.  He is sent by the Father, conceived by the Holy Spirit, and born of Virgin Mary.  He is pure gift to and for you:  sinners.


This is why “the Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us.”


However, the Word became flesh without sin.  His is holy and sinless.  This is one big difference between Jesus and you.  Do not forget that Jesus has no earthly father.  God is His Father.  Jesus bears our humanity, then, without the inherited stain of Adam because He has God, not Adam, as His Father.


This is very important.  With Jesus’ birth learn that your sin is something foreign to your humanity.  The Word became flesh without sin.  We think that our idolatry, killing, coveting, adultery, immorality, drunkenness, lying, gossiping and greed are what it means to be human.  “To err is human,” everyone declares.


Wrong.  Dead wrong.  The Word became flesh to preach a different sermon.  And it’s this:  to be a sinner is not what it means to be a human.  To err is to be inhuman or unhuman!  Sin does not make you a human.  Sin dehumanizes you.  Sin makes you less than human.  Sin is a foreign object, a cancer, a toxin that has seeped deep into our human nature and has polluted our humanity.  Sin robs you of your dignity as God’s creature.  It drives you to despair and a miserable death.


Jesus, the Word made flesh, recovers your humanity.  He reclaims the dignity you once had as God’s foremost visible creatures.  Jesus restores the image of God to your flesh and blood.  In Jesus, God in His fullness is pleased to dwell with you bodily.  You can boast before all creation, that your flesh and blood sits enthroned at God’s right hand and rules over all things.  Even the angels bow in awe and adoration before this God-Man Baby Jesus.  It used to be the custom to bow the head and even bend the knee at the words of the Creed “and was made man.”  That is a good custom and it’s a shame that we have forgotten it.  We just rattle through the words of the Creed apparently not even thinking what we’re confessing.  We glide right over the greatest wonder in the universe and this world:  GOD BECAME MAN IN HIS SON JESUS CHRIST.


Made His dwelling among us.  His dwelling is proactive.  For you and for your salvation.  The Holy and sinless One takes on human flesh and blood in order to take up your sin.  To bear your sin.  In His Body on the cross.   He who knew no sin was made to be sin.


Your salvation depends on the Word made flesh Jesus bearing your sin and answering for it.  If He doesn’t do this, then you’d have to carry your sin and answer for it.  That would have hellacious results!


But the good news is this:  Jesus has taken your sin and its damnation.  His word of forgiveness gives you His holiness and perfection.  Hear His Word today in the Sacrament as He dwells among you still.  “Given and shed for you for the forgiveness of sins.”  Your sin.  All of it.  He says so.


To believe what He says – that He is God for you — and receive what He gives – in His Word and Sacrament — is to live as a human being.  His creature who lives by faith.  Faith alone in Him.  And then in love for others.


Merry Christmas.


In the Name of Jesus.


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