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Second Sunday After Christmas Day: “Proclaiming God’s Glory”

Jeremiah 31: 7-14

Psalm 147: 12 – 20

Ephesians 1: 3-14

John 1: 10 - 18

The reason Jesus became incarnate is because God wants to reveal Himself to us. Some people think that God is an angry old God who punishes those who make mistakes. Jesus, on the other hand, is somebody who is kind and gentle. It is like God is the bad cop and Jesus is the good cop. However, God is exactly like Jesus. There is only one God. The Lord is One. He who has seen Jesus has seen the Father.

God wanted to remove this wrong image so He always wanted to reveal Himself. First, He sent prophets; second, He had people write Holy Scriptures; and finally, He sent His Son because some had failed to understand it so God sent His final Word, and His Word is Jesus. Jesus is what God has to say. We have Christmas because God wants us to know Him. As for me, I will make Him known to you today and as long as I live. I will make God known!

Our Collect for today says, “O God, Who wonderfully created, and yet more wonderfully restored the dignity of human nature. Grant that we may share the divine life of Him who humbled Himself to share our humanity…” God created man differently from His other creation. When He created the sun and the moon, He said, “Let there be light.” For the others, He said, “Let there be…” On the sixth day, when He created man, He did not say, “Let there be man…” What God did was to get dust and formed man out of clay. He took time, and because man is special, He breathed His very life, His Spirit, His breath to man. We are special in God’s eyes.

The Psalmist says, “Who is man that You would give Your attention?” We were created special by God in His image and likeness. No other creation bears the image and likeness of God like man does, but this image was marred by sin.

This is the illustration of one Church father regarding how special we are. We are so precious in God’s eyes that we are a diamond in His sight. However, the diamond fell in the mud which was five feet deep. God did not ask the diamond to come out of the clay. In all His glory, in His white roble, God stood from His throne, and plunged Himself into the deep mud, dirtied Himself just to get the diamond. Afterwards, He cleaned the diamond never mind if He was full of mud. He did this to restore us. God wonderfully created and He more wonderfully restored us.

But who are we? We have the unfathomable grace of God which we don’t deserve. What did we do for Him? Nothing, but God wanted to restore our fellowship with Him. What we do with this God given grace is we limit it according to our interpretation. We judge and say who are and who are not the chosen people of God. We choose who is in and who is out. God restored Adam who was a sinner, and this is the grace of God. We should not limit this grace as to say that one is blessed and others are not; some our chosen and the others are the Gentiles or the unbelievers.

God and sinners reconciled so who are we to say who is in and who is out? He comes to make His blessings flow as far as the curse is found (in sinners). The song says, “Joyful to all ye nations rise.” Nations in the Bible are the Gentiles. To the Christians, the Gentiles are those who do not know God or those who are not blessed by God. God does not make distinctions. The grace of God is beyond our comprehension and everyone is welcome to join the triumph of heaven. God was pleased to dwell with man. Men are the sinners who in the gospel rejected Jesus. John said that Jesus came to His own and His own did not receive Him, but yet, Jesus was pleased to dwell with them. This is how God loves us and how He wanted us to have fellowship with Him.

Jesus, in His humanity, observed and felt the imperfection of man. Jesus told His disciples, “How long will I be with you?” In marriage, despite differences, couples are pleased to stay in the relationship. God is pleased with men (the sinners who rejected Him) to dwell with Him with Christ our Emmanuel. In Him was life and light to all He brings.

John 1:9 says that the true Light enlightens every man. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men, and darkness didn’t overpower it. There is always hope even for those who are in darkness. The darkness did not overpower the light which enlightens every man. Never lose hope! Start this year with hope; in fact, start the rest of our lives with hope because our God is a God of hope, and His grace always wins and triumphs. Jesus is full of grace and truth.

To summarize Ephesians 1:3-13, it says the following: God has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in Christ. He chose us in Him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in His sight. He predestined us for adoption to son-ship through Jesus Christ. He has freely given us grace in the One he loves. In Him, we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to God’s rich grace lavished upon us. He made known to us the mystery of His will which He purposed in Christ. In Him, we were chosen and predestined. We were included in Christ. We were marked in Him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit.

God did all for us by His grace. Grace is something given to us that we did not deserve. Christ was born that man (all men) may die no more. He gave His life for the life of world. This is the second Person in the Trinity, Christ Jesus.

During the Transfiguration, Jesus brought with Him Peter, James and John. Jesus was transfigured in their sight and they also saw Moses and Elijah. Moses represented the Law and Elijah, the prophets. The Law was designed to form a worshipping and just society. It says to worship God and do justice to our neighbor. The Prophets were like the enforcement of the Law. They called the people back to worship and justice. The Prophets called the people to repent and denounced idolatry and injustice, the wrong treatment of one’s brother. The prophets reminded the people to go back to the Law.

Jesus said that He did not come to abolish the Law and the Prophets, but to fulfill it. However, it seems like they did not accomplish what needed to be accomplished, so Christ fulfilled what needed to be accomplish. Jesus came so that the fullness of the Word of God can be fulfilled and seen.

Psalm 40:6-8 says, “Sacrifice and offering you did not require. You were not pleased with the Old Testament system, this is why I have come to do Your will.” God said, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. You listen to Him.” Jesus is the essence of the Law and the Prophets. Jesus came so that we can behold His glory that is full of grace and truth. It is in Jesus Christ that the goal of the Law and the dream of the prophets are fulfilled.

Moses and Elijah pointed to Jesus, who is the true Word of God. Peter, representing the Church, misunderstood the meaning of the Transfiguration that he decided to make tabernacles for Jesus, Moses and Elijah. It seemed that Peter made them three equal persons; and God the Father spoke from heaven and rebuked Peter saying, “This is My beloved Son, listen to Him.” Moses and Elijah faded in the background and only Jesus was left. They receded and gave way to Jesus.

Jesus is the Word of God. In the beginning was the Word. Before it was preached, there was already the Word of God, and that was Jesus. Look to Him and listen to Him!

Some have idolized the Bible to make it say what they want to hear and say. People can kill people justifying it by quoting a verse. Genocide can be done quoting from the Bible. Slavery and polygamy can be justified because it is in the Bible. However, we cannot go through Scriptures without being escorted by Jesus. Jesus is the true Word of God. Jesus became incarnate so that we can understand who God is. Some have failed to understand so God sent His final Word – Jesus. Jesus is what God has to say because God couldn’t say what He has to say in a book, so He sent His Word in a form of a human being so that we can behold His glory. The glory that is only of the begotten of the Father - full of grace and truth.

John 1:18 says, “No one has ever seen God.” In the Bible, Abraham, Moses, Jacob, the seventy elders, Isaiah and Ezekiel have seen God. Compared to the revelation of God in Jesus Christ, no one else before Jesus was incarnate has seen Him in His fullness. The Passion Translation of John 1:18 says, “No one has ever gazed upon the fullness of God’s splendor except the uniquely beloved Son, who is cherished by the Father and held close to His heart. Now He has unfolded to us d full explanation of who God truly is! What written words failed to reveal, Jesus has explained. John said that the Law was given through Moses, but grace and truth were realized, fulfilled and consummated in Jesus Christ.

The Bible is not infallible because the Bible’s role is to point to Jesus who is perfect - to Him who is infallible and error free. Moses and Elijah and the preachers merely point us to Jesus Christ. John the Baptist said, “He must increase and I must decrease.” The friend of the bridegroom steps aside because Jesus is the true Bridegroom, and Jesus has explained who God is.

I read an article of a theologian who said, “Strict doctrinal precision according to the jot and tittle of a text became the measure of truth. The "Word of God" became the Bible, instead of the cosmic Logos. God and truth came to be seen strictly in terms of the precise language of Bible verses instead of a living reality able to be expressed creatively in different ways for every new generation and culture.” The Word of God is the living Son of God, Jesus Christ.

Zaccheus, Mary Magdalene, and the Samaritan woman were called sinners, (the irreligious Jews who did not know Scriptures), but they knew the Son of God in a living way because they experienced Him. They met Him. Did this mean that they never read their Bibles? No, after their encounter with Jesus, they did because they wanted to know more of Jesus.

I am not saying for you to throw your Bible. It is like a text from your friend where a message can be misinterpreted because it was relayed not having a personal contact. What the written Word was short of, Jesus fulfilled, explained, and accomplished. The good news is that He explained it with a big smile on His face and His arms were wide open to receive us. If we think God is an angry God, Jesus shows that He accepts us with us. Jesus has explained the heart of the Father because He is the exact representation of His Father.

May we live and learn His joy, His justice, His love, His praise, His grace and the heart of the Father through Him. May we share His divine life of Him who humbled Himself to share in our humanity. This is the only way to truly have joy as we live our lives that He gave because this is the way it is in the kingdom of our God.

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