We all like to get gifts don’t we? But you know what the worst thing about get a gift is? Waiting to open it. Just seeing those gifts under the Christmas tree or at the birthday party on a table but not being able to touch them – agony!
When I was a child, my parents would not let us open our Christmas presents until they woke up – it was torture! The minutes would pass along as I wondered if that box under the tree was GI Joe with the Kung Fu grip that I so desperately wanted.
When we’re waiting for that great gift there builds inside of us a tension – a churning in our stomach as the time gets closer and closer to open the gifts either at our birthday or Christmas. The tension mounts as we wonder did we get what we really wanted.
Our passage here discusses the greatest gift ever given – the coming of Jesus – the Word made flesh as it says here in verse 14. God Almighty, Creator of the world according to verse 10 – has taken on flesh – fully human AND fully God as verse 18 let’s us know. If you see Jesus, then you’ve seen God.
This gift of Jesus brings tension as well – tension in all sorts of ways for Mary and Joseph as they had been traveling. Then to give birth to Jesus born in a barn – that was HARD. But there was a greater tension as well surround the birth of Jesus.
See the birth of Jesus was the promised gift that God was going to sort out this mess of a world that we live in. We read these promises of God all through the Old Testament – in Genesis 3 right after Adam and Eve rebelled against God’s rule, we find that Satan will not rule forever. Later, in Genesis 12, we read that Abraham’s descendants will be a blessings to the nations – not matter what you ethnic background, God’s intention is to bless you through a descendant of Abraham. Later the prophet Isaiah speaks of a child who will be called “Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”
All of these promises says that God has a gift – a good gift coming in the future for his people – but it was still unclear how and when it would happen. It reminds me of the birthday party we had at the end of our Kids Club at White City last Friday. When I first saw Thayne, a little 3 year old, she told me that her birthday was coming up. Her father then corrected her – “No, today is your birthday.” And then a few minutes later she said, “My birthday is coming soon.” And her father, “No, today is your birthday” She knew her birthday was coming, but her little 3 year old brain just couldn’t understand that today was the day!
Here in John chapter one, we learn that the gift has been given. God has broken in to our world to fix all that has gone wrong, he is faithful to His promises to bless the nations through a descendant of Abraham. But there’s confusion – look at verse 10 and 11 – it says the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him.
Just like the little three year old who would have missed her birthday unless her father kept reminding her, “Today’s the day!” – many of us miss the gift that is Jesus. Why? Because he just doesn’t seem like the gift that we wanted. I wanted a GI Joe with Kung-fu grip but my parents bought me a train. That’s not what I wanted!?!
But God knows what we need a lot more than we know – that’s for sure!
Notice here in verse 13 that those who trust in Jesus are reborn – not of physically – it says not of blood or human flesh like some kind of zombie but spiritually reborn. If you cry out to God for help – he will give you a new heart – you will be reborn Spiritually.
A New Record
The Rebirth gives us a new Record before Almighty God. Each of us has rebelled against God in our own ways – we haven’t recognized what’s best for us – we’ve gone our own ways instead of living like our Creator intend for us to live. But notice verse 16 – Out of his fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given. Or you could say, we have been give more and more grace.
When we are united to Jesus by faith, the Father looks at us and sees Jesus. Instead of our mess, instead of our sin, instead of our rebellion against him – the Father see the record of truth – the record of righteousness of Jesus.
It’s as if your grades to be posted home and you know that you have failed everything. But your Dad opens the envelope and yells – “You’re awesome! I love you! You’re the greatest student ever!” The reason being that your marks were switched with the smart kid in the class. Perfect in every class. This is what happens when our faith is in Jesus – our marks are perfect in the sight of God. He loves us completely – there is no need to live in fear.
A New Relationship
Finally, the gift of God allows us to become into Relationship with him through faith in the work of Jesus upon the cross. Look here in verse 12 – Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.
When we place our trust upon Jesus for our lives we become children of our Creator – we move back into a Relationship with God – as we were intended to have. Not only do we not have to live in fear because we have a new Record before God, we can have a Relationship of love. We don’t just get by with God – we can be overwhelmed with his adoration.
And this flows out of us to others. Because when we are in a Relationship with our Heavenly Father – he sends us out as his children to bring the healing this world needs. Jesus was the beginning of the answer to the problems in this world but of course we all know that the world continues to struggle in so many ways. The healing is not complete.
But if you are a child of God, He is going to use you in your setting – here as a teacher or a student to bring peace, to bring reconciliation, to bring joy to Burlington Danes and where ever God takes you in the future.