The grace, mercy, and peace of Christ Jesus rest upon each and every one of you this day.
As I was preparing for this sermon, I decided to look over a couple of different translations. Boy, am I glad I did! In looking over a medieval Spanish translation (known as La Biblia Reina-Valera; also known as Biblia del Oso because of the picture of the bear eating honey on the cover), we hear that “el Verbo became carne/meat/flesh and habitated/dwelt with us.” In fact, the entire pericope says that the Verb of God was in the very beginning and was with God and was God. The Verb of God became flesh and dwelt among us. The Verb of God is also the Light of God. John was not the verb of God, but he pointed to and proclaimed the verb of God; the Light of God, and this light of God shines (verb) in the darkness, and the darkness does not and cannot overcome it. That’s so cool!
Grammatically, we know that verbs are “action words.” I still remember a public service thing from 30-some years ago that aimed at getting kids off the couch and outside and active. “Verb: It’s what you do.” Go outside and do verb-things! Be active! Jesus is the verb of God. He is God in action. Almighty God takes on flesh. God becomes flesh, bone, and blood. The babe lying in the manger is the Verb of God. God is doing something about our sin.
And we know how this all works out too. The manger isn’t the end of God in action. The verbs don’t stop at the manger. We look to the cross and we can actually see the Verb of God in action, doing something about our sin; doing what He came to earth to do; doing what we cannot do about our own sin. The Verb of God is actually making full and complete payment for each and every one of our sins. And when that damning wage was paid in full, this Verb of God in the flesh victoriously cried out, “It is finished!” This is mind-blowing when you think about it. The Verb of God declares that it is finished. There’s NOTHING left to do. The Verb of God has done it all.
And the coolest thing of all—the most awe-inspiring thing of all—is the fact that nothing has changed over the centuries. The Verb of God is still in action for us, working His miracle of salvation in very lowly, unexpected and unassuming ways. It is finished in Him and because of Him, and this same victorious Verb of God actively comes to us and brings us the spoils of His blood-bought victory over sin, death, and the devil. Look no further than the baptismal font, where He baptizes you into His death and resurrection. Look no further than communion rail. “Take and eat. Take and drink. This is My body. This is My blood, given and shed for you for the forgiveness of all your sin.”
The gates of heaven, flung open for all men on that first Christmas Eve, continue to be opened wide and brought to us this very today. The Verb of God still brings heaven to earth…for us, for our peace, for our joy. This is why the Verb of God became flesh—for us, for our forgiveness, for our salvation, for our peace and joy. This is why that same Verb of God continues to come to us today in very real and tangible ways, giving to us His very flesh and blood; for the forgiveness of our sins, for the peace that surpasses all understanding.
Dearly beloved: Here’s a verb for you: Look right here. Here is that peace that surpasses all understanding; the Light of God that penetrates and overcomes and gives you hope and peace and even joy while you reside in this dark and shadowy valley we so foolishly call “life.” Look no further than where He tells you to seek Him and find Him. Look no further than here to His Word and Sacraments—His verbs of salvation in your midst. Here is the peace of God in action, for you for all eternity. Here is the peace of Jesus Christ—the Verb of God in the flesh; God become Man—for you.
May this Good News of the Verb of God in action for you give you joy and peace, and may this same peace, which surpasses all human understanding, guard and keep your hearts and minds in Him—the Verb of God made flesh for you. And may such Good News, in turn, bring out the verbs in you. May you see. May you hear. May you receive and rejoice and make your joy known to all those your God and Lord brings you into contact with.
To Him be all the glory, all the praise, and all the honor… AMEN.
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