25 December 2020 (Christmas Day Morning Prayer) John 1
On every Christmas Day, we hear sermons about the birth of Jesus. Last year, we meditated about the attributes of Jesus Christ: Wonderful, Counsellor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Today’s meditation is based on our Gospel reading, the gospel according to St. John, chapter 1. We know that this gospel was written by one of Jesus’s disciples, John. John and his brother James were fishermen. After Jesus chose Simon Peter and his brother Andrew to be His disciples, He saw two brethren. James and John, the sons of Zebedee, were in a ship with their father mending their nets when Jesus called them. They immediately left the ship and their father and followed him. Jesus surnamed them as Boanerges, which means ‘The sons of thunder’. John is referred to as the ‘disciple whom Jesus loved’. At the Cross, Jesus gave him the responsibility of taking care of His mother. After Jesus was resurrected, John boldly proclaimed Jesus as Christ and Messiah and was deported to Patmos. He wrote the Gospel of St. John, the three epistles of John and the book of Revelation. Theologians believe that John and his brother were the disciples of John the Baptist before becoming the disciples of Jesus.
The gospel of John says about the relationship of Jesus with the Father Almighty. Although the books of the Holy Bible were written by many authors, they are interlinked with one another because they were written by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. We can see a link between the first chapters of Genesis and John’s Gospel. Both the books start with ‘In the Beginning’. Genesis tells about the beginning when God renovated the earth for humans to live. John tells about the birth of Jesus so humans can inherit eternal life.
In the first few verses of John 1 we read, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not”. John mentions the three important key attributes of the triune God in these verses: 1) Word, 2) Life and 3) Light. Let us meditate on each attribute comparing the verses in the first chapters of Genesis and John.
When the first sin of the archangel separated the world from God, God’s anger covered the earth. The earth was frozen, became shapeless and the darkness covered the whole earth. The spirit of the LORD God was upon the face of waters. When God decided to renovate the world, He renovated the world by his words. We read this in the first chapter of Genesis. God created light and firmament to divide the waters from the waters. He gathered the waters together in one place and made the dry land appear. The earth brought forth grass, the herb yielding seed, fruit tree yielding fruit, and living creature after his kind. God did all of this with just His Word. The Bible says, “God said” “and it was so”. In Genesis, the Almighty Father created the whole earth by His words.
When humans lived in sin, God the Father sent His word through His prophets to caution them to repent and turn back to Him. This happened many times. When God’s anger was kindled, there was a period of silence when God did not speak through prophets for about 400 years. When the Almighty Father decided to save humans from sin, He sent His only Begotten Son. Jesus was born so humans could be saved and inherit eternal life. When Jesus came, He spoke the Word to fulfil His Father’s will. He preached the Gospel and we read His Word even today. He healed many and cast the devils away by His word. Psalm 33: 9 says, “For he spake, and it was done; he commanded, and it stood fast.”
The Father Almighty renovated and created the whole world with His words. But He did not create the humans with His word. He formed man of the dust of the ground in His own image and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life. Man became a living soul when God gave him His own breath to live. God gave His breath to humans so that they would not sin against God. Being made in God’s own image and breathing His breath should have kept humans from sin. But Adam and Eve yielded to temptation and sin separated humans from the presence of God. Humans lost God’s breath of life and became the slaves of sin.
When humans lived under the slavery of sin, God the Father gave His only Begotten Son Jesus Christ. He lived like us in flesh and gave us an example to follow. He overcame the temptations in the wilderness with the Word. He saved mankind from eternal death when He laid down His life for us. He sacrificed Himself on Calvary so we can be saved by His precious blood and inherit eternal life. In John 10:10 Jesus said, “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.”
When the Archangel sinned against God, thick darkness covered the earth as a swaddling band. The earth was covered with darkness. When God renovated the world, He said ‘Let there be light’ and gave light to the world. He separated light from darkness.
When humans were living in darkness enslaved to sin, Jesus came as the Light to show them the way. Jesus began to preach about the kingdom of heaven and the people who sat in darkness saw a great light. To them which sat in the region and shadow of death, light is sprung up. Jesus came as light and freed us from our bondage of sin which is darkness. John 1:5 says, “the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not”.
John 3:16 gives us the reason for Jesus’s birth. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” The Almighty Father sent His only Son Jesus Christ to save mankind from perishing. On Christmas Day, Jesus came as the living Word from the Almighty Father. John 1: 11 says “He came unto his own, and his own received him not.” Today, we are remembering and celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ. We have heard the Christmas events many times. We know all the events very well. But have we received Jesus as the Living Word? In his epistle to Hebrews, chapter 4, Verse 15, St. Paul said, “For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin”. Are we following Jesus’s life as the example and walking in the Light? Romans 6:23 says “the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Have we accepted the most precious gift of all time? Do we have the assurance that we will inherit eternal Life? Jesus came as the living Word to lead us to the Light so that we will inherit eternal Life. In John 10:28–30 Jesus says, “I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand. I and my Father are one.” Is the purpose of Jesus’s birth fulfilled in our lives?