Sermon Notes for Sunday 12 February at St Giles
Gospel John 1.1-14
When the Gospel is announced the reader says
Hear the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to N.
All Glory to you, O Lord.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning.
Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.
There came a man who was sent from God; his name was John. He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all men might believe. He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light. The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world.
He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognise him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God – children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
This is the Gospel of the Lord.
All Praise to you, O Christ.
Why is John 1 popping up here? To reflect after Christmas and Epiphany? Paired with Colossians 1. Deliberate focus on nature and origin of Christ.
- all things created by him and for him
- he is before all things
- God was please to have all his fullness dwell in Christ
John says much the same
- through him all things were made
- in him was light and life
Jesus is WORD
- Jesus became flesh and blood as the Word
- confusion about meaning of Logos
- John draws on language closely associated with figure of Wisdom
Jesus is Wisdom (Gk Sophia)
- Wisdom of Solomon speaks to God of Wisdom -
“She knows your works and was present when you made the world”
- She helped create the world
- She delights in the human race
- continually tries to impart to us knowledge
- rejected because fools hate knowledge
John says the Word “pitched his tent” among us
- roots wisdom to the earth
- you choose carefully where to pitch a tent
Opening of John - compare infancy narratives in Luke, or Mark who dives straight in, or Matthew who starts with genealogy and Wise Men
- need be careful about language we use about Jesus. Almost like a brother. We speak of a man alongside us. In some churches they sing songs of love. Familiar.
- ineffable, God himself, Creator
Yet Jesus very embodiment of God’s grace
- gives us confidence to call on him
- took on human form
- only through him can we get to know God, who is unknowable
- only through him can we recognise ourselves as children of a beloved God
- through him we receive new identity; hew humanity; new life; new opportunity; new beginning.
- all through the Word
Like a hymn
packed with meaning and metaphor
- testimony to light and life coming into the world
- like poetry, not doctrine
- we can contemplate quietly the profound mystery of incarnation as we read
All sermons need a response
What is yours? What is mine?
John’s gospel makes clear what response the author desires:
The Purpose of this book
27 Then he said to Thomas, Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.
28 Thomas said to him, My Lord and my God!
29 Then Jesus told him, Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.
30 Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book.
31 But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name. John 20
Believe – Son of God – have life
Written to persuade. Not just relate. Not just narrate. Not a history. Not balanced. Agenda not hidden.
That we should Believe
Verb, not noun
- verb is a doing word
- used 98 times in John
- never a noun
Light and Darkness
- we are offered abundant life
- language of light and dark harks back to Genesis
- all come from God – man and woman from dust
- God pitches his tent – fixed to ground – stuff of Earth = Stuff of God – not separate or different in kind
What’s the reason for all this?
John 10 - 9 I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. He will come in and go out, and find pasture.
10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
11 I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.
Sheep and shepherd – far removed in a way from the ineffable creator Jesus – but proof of his absolute involvement, incarnate in the stuff of Earth.
So what is our response?
- only you can say
- but this is what my response might include:
1. That in hearing John 1 I might accept life – that I might believe in Him, the incarnate Son, and that in believing I might have life abundantly through God’s Grace
2. That I may become a witness to the Light, as John Baptizer
3. That I may bring the good news to the oppressed
4. That I may shine the light of God’s presence into the darker places of our broken humanity.
Like John the Baptist, whose message was less important than who he was, all we have to do is say ‘Look.’
John pointed. ‘Look’ he said ‘here is the Lamb of God.
So, in our lives, more than in our words, we can live abundantly in the light of Christ, pointing to him in what we say and do. That is to live life abundantly.