Today (Feb 12, 2012) I had the privilege of preaching at St. Stephen’s C of E Church in Shepherd’s Bush. The gospel reading for today was John 1:1-14 on which I based the message. This is the first of three posts taken from that message.
I have a friend who is a graphic designer and years ago, he made a Christmas card with buildings across the front. On the inside he wrote, “The Word became flesh and moved into our neighborhood” which is a modified version of John 1:14.
Jesus made a move from heaven to earth. But why did Jesus move? Why did he move to our neighborhood?
Theologians call this the incarnation – God becoming human. The apostle John affirms the full divinity of Jesus right here in the beginning of his book. In the first verse, John says Jesus, whom he calls “the Word”, was God, then John says he was always God and finally in verse three he lets us know that Jesus is the creator of everything.
Some people have this notion that God is up there in the sky. Distant and not really involved in what’s going on here on earth. Maybe he just created the world but now he’s got better things to do then get involved with insignificant human beings. But the incarnation screams out to us – NO! God does love this world that he has made. The fact that Jesus has moved into our neighborhood means that God knows us and cares for us.
This world that we live in has problems. You don’t have to look too far to see that there is trouble in the world. War in Afghanistan, fighting right now in on the streets of Syria or even the homeless problem we have in London. We know personally, as well, that we live in a problematic world. We struggle in our relationships with our loved ones. We have a hard time keeping our commitments. We get angry and depressed and fearful.
This is the world Jesus moved into.
God took action to show the world that He was not going to let it go. God did not stay at a distance, far from the pain of this world. No – he moved right into the middle of it. Jesus was born to an poor teenage mother, and his adopted father was a regular working class guy – a builder. After his birth in a stinky barn, they became refugees in Egypt. Even in our world, those are difficult circumstances to be born into.
The incarnation lets us know that God, the Creator of the universe, knows our circumstances as well. Jesus doesn’t just know them intellectually – Jesus knows personally what it’s like to have troubles, to experience rejection and to face the difficulties of life on planet earth. Let the fact that God entered into this world bring you comfort in the situations you are now facing.
Jesus moved – part 2 tomorrow.