Bethlehem Lutheran Church—Bremen, KS || AUDIO
INI + AMEN.
“The Word became flesh and dwelt among us.” Some of the greatest Words ever written. No other religion has that. There’s no one like Him: Word…flesh…among us. Set up shop among us. Pitched His tent among us. Tabernacled among us. Walked and talked among us. But not just Word among us—Word one of us! As we joyously sang, “God is man, man to deliver, And the Son Now is one With our blood forever.” “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us.”
((2. There is no God besides “the Word made flesh.”))
There’s no need to wonder about God. Not anymore. There’s no need to search for God. You don’t have to have soar like an eagle and reach angels’ heights to adore Him. You don’t need to be lifted up by a wave or tsunami of emotion to experience Him. You don’t need to be super smart to intellectually make the climb to understand God. Not that any of that would work anyway.
No, God doesn’t wait for you to feel anything, doesn’t wait for you to understand anything, doesn’t wait for you, for me, or for anyone for that matter. If He’d waited on us, we wouldn’t be here today. Instead, “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.”
We try to categorize Him, fit Him in a box. Relegate Him to a small corner. Much like the innkeeper. We use labels and then think we can wrap our minds around Him. Or we think Him too far beyond us. That He’s far too powerful, far too amazing, far too awesome, far too unknowable, outside our grasp, something to be worked towards. But yet, so simply: “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.”
There’s no God besides Him. Absolutely no God besides “the Word made flesh.” Word who reveals what’s in His Father’s heart. Word incarnate by the Spirit. Word as a Baby! Word as a man! God’s now graspable, touchable, seeable, hearable in a way He never was before. So, relatable. “Baby wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.”
Yet we could spend 100,000 Christmases pondering this mystery and fail to understand it. But our understanding won’t save us. Our categories or right answers don’t either—they may confess Him, but they don’t save. Neither do the heart warming feelings of the Christmas season. He saves us. Him the Baby, the Man, God! No other God besides Him: “God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God.” He saves us. He flesh and blood saves us!
((1. Where His flesh is, there He is.))
That’s the key to this whole Christmas season. It’s not just that “the Word became flesh and dwells among.” He did so for our salvation, and that means wherever His flesh is there He is, there God is doing His saving thing. Where His flesh is, there He is; where His blood, His salvation. He is flesh and blood Savior, after all.
He is flesh and blood God, too—a baby! All of God was in that Baby. He was helpless. God in a manger, God in a crib, God in diapers (if they had those back then), God crying when He was hungry or tired—not all crying is sin. Fully man, fully baby. Nevertheless “The Word who is God.” Only in His flesh could God be grasped, touched, and heard. There He dwelt among us as one of us.
He comes full of “grace and truth.” Not just in Bethlehem’s manger or house, but Jerusalem’s cross. Yes, “He came to His own but His own did not receive Him.” They killed Him—pierced His flesh, shed His blood, and buried Him. The Light shone in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome It,” didn’t overcome Him. He rose from death. His flesh lives again. He is flesh and blood still, your born, died, and living-now Lord Jesus.
“The Word became flesh and dwelt among us.” In His flesh the Word is found, God is there because He’s God Himself—eternal Son and Word of the Father. The Word’s flesh is God’s dwelling place among us. Not just in Bethlehem, in Nazareth, in Judea, or Jerusalem but even in Bremen.
THE FLESH OF THE WORD IS WHERE GOD DWELLS AMONG US.
So it is today. THE FLESH OF THE WORD IS WHERE GOD DWELLS AMONG US. Flesh and blood for you. There God comes to dwell not just among us, but He comes to dwell within you. He would pitch His tent within you. The Word would tabernacle with you, and that only happens in one spot: where is flesh is. “The Word became flesh and dwelt among.” Still that way your entire life through His Sacrament. Will be that way forever, too, when you flesh and blood dwell with Him who is now and forever your flesh and blood Savior and God.
INI + AMEN.