Immanuel Lutheran Church—Bremen, KS || AUDIO
INI + AMEN.
Jesus is the Word. Jesus is God. He’s “full of grace and truth.” He’s the true light, true life. “Light and life to all He brings, Ris’n with healing in His wings,” as Hark! The Herald Angels puts it. Jesus, the Word, created everything, and then He took on the flesh He created to save us—die and rise for us. “The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not overcome it.” “He came to His own, but His own did not receive Him.”
Jesus is the Word made flesh. He was sent from His Father to make Him known to you. He came from the Father to deliver you back to His Father. That’s what’s wrapped up in the Christmas story—and one more surprise! And so, Christmas is no different than any other Sunday, and yet everything’s eternally different because of Christmas.
CHRISTMAS IS ALL ABOUT WHAT JESUS, THE WORD, DOES FOR YOU.
((I. Jesus, the Word, reveals the Father to you.))
So, what’s Jesus done for you—each of you? Well, He’s revealed the Father to you. He had to do that because we would never believe anything about God because apart from Jesus there’s only darkness. The darkness of our assumptions about God, our own thoughts and ideas about who He is, what He does. The darkness of the God of mountains and volcanoes, of cute bunnies and Grizzly Bears, of beach resorts and tsunamis Christmas week.
Instead, only Jesus reveals the Father to you. He flesh and blood does it: born of the Virgin Mary. In the Babe of Bethlehem, in the man Christ Jesus, we see God. All that is God is in the flesh and blood Jesus. In His flesh He reveals the Father to us. And what does He reveal about the Father? “We have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.” In the flesh of Jesus we see that the Father’s full of grace, mercy, and the truth that He “wants all to be saved” from sin and death, in spite of what our reason tells us about our own experiences of the world.
((II. The Word delivers you to the Father.))
What else does Jesus do for you? He delivers you to the Father. That’s the “grace and truth” of Jesus. We need to be delivered from the darkness, and so Jesus does that. We are delivered—born for, died for, risen for. We are reconciled to the Father in the death of His Son, Jesus, the Word. God’s death is your eternal deliverance!
In the death and resurrection of the Son you are ransomed children of God. We trust His death and resurrection. We trust Him who died and rose. “To all who did receive him,” that is, “who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.”
But there’s more delivering you to the Father, and, in fact, delivering the Father to you, and this gets us to the surprising thing Jesus does for you. It’s something we overlook so often, but it is part of Christmas. So, what surprising thing does Jesus do?
((III.)) Jesus, the Word, sends you a preacher.
That really is part of Christmas, too. There were angels for the shepherds. Shepherds for the people. Chief priests and scribes for the Magi. And so ”there was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came to bear witness about the Light so that all would believe through him,” through his preaching. He bore witness to the Light. We heard it on Sunday: “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.”
The Lord still sends preachers to preach the Word that witnesses to Jesus, the Word, the true Light. Preachers don’t just preach repentance (stop sinning). Seriously stop sinning. They don’t just preach you’re forgiven in Jesus that He was born, died, and rose for you. No, they deliver Jesus, the Word, to you through the Word and the water—Holy Baptism—, as Paul says, ”He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal.” There you were made children of God, “heirs of eternal life,” ”born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.”
Without a preacher, Christmas goes unnoticed, and the Lord doesn’t want His revealing Himself to you in His Son and you being delivered, redeemed, bought back to Him in the death of His Son to go unnoticed. He also wants you to receive it, to hear it, to believe it. For that He sends you a John, an under-shepherd, an earthly angel. (Angel just means messenger.) He sends preachers to deliver Jesus the Word right to you—over your forehead, into your ears, into your mouth, into your heart, soul, mind, and strength.
CHRISTMAS IS ALL ABOUT WHAT JESUS, THE WORD, DOES FOR YOU. He reveals the Father to you, the mercy and love of the Father. Jesus does this by taking on the flesh He created to be born for you, to die for you, to rise from the dead for you. If He didn’t do that, you and I wouldn’t be here today.
CHRISTMAS IS ALL ABOUT WHAT JESUS, THE WORD, DOES FOR YOU. He also delivers you back to the Father. In His death and resurrection, you are saved, you are redeemed, you are delivered. We trust Jesus, and “whoever believes in his name, he gives the right to become children of God.”
CHRISTMAS IS ALL ABOUT WHAT JESUS, THE WORD, DOES FOR YOU. He delivers His birth, His death, His resurrection right to you with a preacher, a preacher who baptizes, absolves, Gospels, and Lord Suppers you. You wouldn’t have Jesus, the Word, unless He was given to you through the Word and Sacraments that the Jesus-sent preacher delivers to you. Jesus does this so that ”everyone would believe in the Light through” the preacher’s preaching, Gift-giving.
In this way Christmas is no different than any other Sunday, and yet everything’s eternally different because of Christmas. As we sang, ”God is man, man to deliver, And the Son Now is one With our blood forever,” even as His body and blood are for you, today and always.
INI + AMEN.