What does Christmas mean to you?
What does Christmas mean to you? People answer that in lots of ways, but if you’re a Believer, you know that Christmas is a celebration of the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ, the light of the world! The truth is, the world is a very dark place; but when John introduces Jesus in his Gospel, he makes clear that Jesus came to shine light in the darkness (John 1:5). So how does Jesus bring light to our dark world? In the opening verses of his Gospel, John presents five distinct ways that Jesus bring light to the world. (John 1:1-18)
1. Jesus shows us who God was, is, and always will be! (John 1:1-3;18)
The Gospel of John begins with the same phrase we see in Genesis, “In the beginning.” From the beginning of time, Jesus was and is. John also makes clear that Jesus isn’t like God, or simply with God, but that Jesus is God. (Heb. 1:3)
Why is it such a big deal that Jesus was, is and always will be God? Because some people say they have trouble “knowing” who God is; they say, He seems so distant and disconnected or aloof and uninterested. That is why Christmas is so important, because when Jesus was born, God came to earth! The Creator of the universe came to walk and talk with us. In Jesus, we can know exactly Who God is. In Christ, we can know and experience the hope, love, peace and joy that comes from God.
2. Jesus offers us eternal life. (John 1:4)
The truth is that death is very much a part of life. In fact, the little baby whose birth we celebrate at Christmas was born to die on a cross to pay the penalty for our sins. We don’t like to think about death, but for Believers, we don’t really have to because for those who believe, death means life! (John 11:25-27; John 3:16)
3. Jesus shines light in our darkness. (John 1:5-8)
In fact, Jesus said: “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12. To be clear, Jesus made that claim right before he healed a man who had been born blind. Jesus not only says He is the light; he proves it! His words echo Genesis 1:3 when “God said, Let there be light, and there was light.” The truth is that when light comes into the darkness, it changes everything, including our lives! (Isaiah 42:16)
4. Jesus gives us the right to become children of God! (John 1:12-13)
What does it mean to be a child of God? According to this text, membership in God’s family is not inherited, it’s received. We enter God’s family by His grace. It has nothing to do with who we are, who our parents are, or where we come from; it is about what we do with Jesus. 12 Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— John 1:12.
I remember getting some pretty amazing toys for Christmas growing up. I had a blast playing with them! I couldn’t imagine leaving those gifts unopened; but sadly, many people choose to leave the greatest gift they will ever be given unopened, “unreceived”. The tragic result is that they never get the chance to enjoy all that Christ offers, not the least of which is being part of God’s very own family, being a child of God.
5. Jesus supplies us with grace and truth! (John 1:14-17)
Have you ever received a gift you really didn’t think you deserved? Maybe you will get one like that this Christmas! Grace is a gift like that… it is getting what we don’t deserve. We have done nothing to warrant such an amazing gift from God. But God offered it to us anyway when Jesus came into this world and ultimately gave His life for us.
In Christ, God also offered us truth… Jesus described Himself as truth. He said: 6 …“I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. In Jesus we experience God’s grace and truth!
Jesus is the light of the world! If you would like to know more about what that means, click here to listen to: Christmas in the Gospels - Part 4 - John.