INI + AMEN.
Today’s not just a nice history lesson. Though it really did happen some 2,020 years ago. Today’s not make believe either. Jesus was born. We know that because He died. Christmas is about something way more important than history. It’s about the for-you-ness of the history. That Jesus was born and died for you. And we we believe that He was born for you and that He died for you, all because He rose for you. True story.
John’s all about those promises. Sure that’s also in Matthew 1 and Luke 2. Where the Lord kept His promises to His people. He promised to send a Savior, and He kept that promise in Bethlehem some 2,020 years ago. “Unto you”—FOR YOU—“is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.” He also said the Savior would die and rise. Did that, too. Kept that promise. True story.
John assumes you’ve read Luke 2, Matthew 1. They were written some 30 years before his Gospel. John takes a different approach. Why was He born? What’s the end goal? Or to put it another way. Luke and Matthew focus more on God keeping His past promises, but John focuses our attention on what promises God is making to you right now, sitting in your pew.
The Lord keeps His promises. Manger. Body on a Cross. Empty tomb. Not just then. Not just history. For you. Promises kept for you now: Font, Altar, Sermons, Bible, Absolution, forgiving each other. John points us to the enduring promise of Christmas, the eternal promise of Christmas, the eternal for-you-ness of Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem some 2,020 years ago. What’s that promise?
JESUS WAS BORN OF MARY SO THAT YOU’D BE BORN OF GOD.
((I. Jesus is the Word become flesh.))
“The Word became flesh and dwelt among us.” That’s Jesus. Born of Mary. He came among us because we needed Him too. By nature we’re children of wrath, hell-hound, exactly the direction we want to good. Paving our highway with the express lane of our sinful desires or paving it brick by brick with good works. But if we could get back to heaven on our own, we don’t need Jesus. We just need another better building project. Not like Babel. Our own personal improvement.
But the Word comes down into the darkness. Jesus comes. Not just born of Mary—“God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God, begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father, by Whom all things were made.” “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God. Without Him,” the Word, “not anything has been made that was made.”
Jesus is that eternal Word. The Word is “the only Son of the Father, full of grace and truth.” He comes with grace, with mercy, with forgiveness. He comes in the flesh to die. “The Light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not overcome it.” He rises from the dead.
Jesus, the eternal Son of God, is born of the virgin Mary—”Word became flesh”—in order to reveal His Father to us. “No one has ever seen God the Father, but the only God, who is at the Father’s side, He has made Him known.” Moses couldn’t remain in the Tabernacle because of the cloud, but now the LORD comes in a better covering. Flesh.
The eternal God is born in time. Eternal. 2,023 years old. Both True. Both Jesus. Eternal. “Begotten of His Father before all worlds.” “He was with God in the beginning.” 2,023 years old. ”Born of the Virgin Mary.” Died. Risen. Never to die again.
All of this is according to promise. Genesis 3 happened: snake, fruit, tree. Genesis 3’s promise, too: seed of the Woman, tree, fruit. Mary’s Son, Jesus. Cross. Water and blood. But where’s the for-you-ness? Oh, it’s there. John’s got that in spades. We’ve covered: JESUS WAS BORN OF MARY. Jesus eternal Son, eternal Word became flesh and dwelt among us. For what reason? SO THAT YOU’D BE BORN OF GOD.
((II. Jesus is born for our rebirth.))
“But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.”
That’s why Jesus has come. That’s why Jesus was born. You must be reborn. By nature child of wrath, hellhound, selfish, callous, cold, unloving, self-seeking, thinking more highly of yourself than you ought. You can’t work to fix it. You don’t work to be born. You don’t work to be reborn. God has to take care of that. He’s promised to. He has. Manger. Body on a Cross. Empty tomb. Font, Altar, Sermons, Bible, Absolution, forgiving each other.
”When the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that having been justified by his grace we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.”
Holy Baptism is where you are reborn in the Spirit. Holy Baptism is where you were born of God. There you we’re placed into your Heavenly Father’s hands, just as Jesus, the eternal God, was placed into Mary’s arms.
The font’s a simple thing. Simple water. But there the Word (“I baptize you”) made you sons and daughters of God, “heirs having the hope of eternal life.”
The manger was a simple thing. But there the Eternal Word lay, ruling the universe from a humble throne. A humble King on a throne that echoes His Calvary coronation as the Lamb of God. But in the manger He lay for you.
To put this even more simply. Jesus was born so that you’d be baptized, and through Baptism made a child of His Father, made His brother, and be given the Holy Spirit, so that you and I would “become hers having the hope of eternal life.”
JESUS WAS BORN OF MARY THAT YOU’D BE BORN OF GOD. And that’s exactly what you are. The Lord’s made good on that promise. It’s the eternal promise of Christmas. Jesus’ Father is your Father, and you’re His child. Want proof? Look no farther than the Manger. Look no farther than the Font.
Manger: JESUS WAS BORN OF MARY. Font: You are born of God. All for you. For you past, present, future. Then, now, forever. After all, the Lord keeps His promises. Manger. Body on a Cross. Empty tomb. Not just then. Not just history. For you. Promises kept for you now: Font, Altar, Sermons, Bible, Absolution, forgiving each other.
John points us to the enduring promise of Christmas, the eternal promise of Christmas, the eternal for-you-ness of Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem some 2,020 years ago.
JESUS WAS BORN OF MARY SO THAT YOU’D BE BORN OF GOD.
And so you are.
INI + AMEN.