I love advent season. Every year at our church we have a sermon series focused on advent during the five weeks leading up to Christmas day. It is always a joyous celebration. This year our focus is on John 1:1-18.
The gospel of John begins very differently than the other gospels:
Mark begins his gospel with Old Testament quotations, which are ultimately pointing to John the Baptist. Then, he moves quickly to John the Baptist‘s announcement that one is coming after him, thus fulfilling the Old Testament quotations concerning the Messiah. Then, Mark moves directly into Jesus’ ministry!
The gospels of Matthew and Mark take similar approaches and begin with the birth narratives, which also fulfill Old Testament prophecies. Manger scenes, wise men, shepherds watching their flocks, the star, angels, etc. All the stuff of a good Christmas play.
And then, there is the gospel of John. John goes farther back than the beginning of Jesus’ ministry, farther back than the virgin birth, even farther back than creation. He goes back to eternity. From there he moves to John the Baptist and Jesus’ ministry.
John goes back all the way to eternity because he wants to make it clear who Jesus is. He wants everything he writes about Jesus to be understood in light of the mind-boggling reality that Jesus is eternal and the Creator of all things. This is who Jesus is! It should blow our minds. The baby in the manger, the one who lays down his life for us (John 15:13), is in fact the Creator of all.
John begins his gospel by showing that Jesus, the Christ, the Son of God, existed before time. Jude exults in this truth with his great doxology in Jude 1:25, stating, “to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.” In 2 Timothy 1:9, Paul states, “who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began …”
And, finally in Colossians 1:16-19, Paul exalts Jesus, stating, “For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell …” In A. W. Tozer’s Knowledge of the Holy, he will blow your mind as he writes of the eternality of God (especially pages 45-46).
So before there was any time or any matter, there was “the Word,” Jesus Christ, the Son of God … this is baby Jesus! WOW! May our hearts be drawn to worship him this Christmas season.