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Christians celebrate the season of Advent four weeks leading up to Christmas. “Advent” means “coming,” as it refers to the first and second coming of God’s Son, Jesus Christ. During this season, Christians spend 40 days preparing their hearts and minds through diligent prayer, fasting, and repentance, looking back (remembering) to the birth of Jesus and looking forward to his return to consummate his eternal kingdom.
The entrance of Jesus Christ into human history is beautifully captured in the first 18 verses of John’s Gospel, the prologue. The Gospel of John uniquely begins, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” Verse 14 indicates that the “Word” is Jesus Christ. Why does John use the word Word to describe Jesus?
God’s “word” is a beautifully loaded concept that describes Jesus perfectly:
God’s Word is his creating power
God’s words are distinct from God, but they are also the embodiment of God’s heart, mind, and will. So in this way, the Word was with God (distinct), and the Word was God (Divine). Ten times in Genesis 1 God “said,” and it was so. With no point of reference, God spoke the existence of our complex and stunning universe into being by His Word.
Spirit, breath, and wind are all translated as ruakh in Hebrew. God’s breath is the animating power with which He gives life to all creatures. The first way we check to see if someone is alive is to know if they are breathing. God’s ruakh, his breath, is his spirit of power and life. As our words and breath are interconnected, so are God’s Word and Spirit.
Psalm 33:6: “By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, and by the breath of his mouth all their host.”
God’s Word is his revelation
Our words are the most explicit expression of who we are. Our words are the overflow of our hearts and a reflection of our minds. When God speaks, He is revealing His nature, character, will, and purpose. Finally, in human history’s climactic movement, God sends His Word, his clearest self-expression, as the person of Jesus Christ. This means that everything we need to know about God can be seen in the life and character of Jesus.
Just as God sent His Son into the world, so Jesus sends his followers into the world. “Just as you have sent me into the world, so I send them into the world” (John 17:18). This sender/sent relationship provides the paradigm for Jesus’ relationship with his followers.
God sends His Son; His Son sends us.
God’s Word is his salvation
Psalm 107 is a summary of how God delivers his people. In verse 20 the psalmist says, “He sent out his word and healed them, and delivered them from their destruction.” The context is God’s people crying for help, and God sends His Word to rescue and heal them. This is not only a physical healing but also a return to the Promised Land. The Promised Land represents peace and security (Shalom). Jesus is our equivalent to Israel’s Promised Land. He (Jesus) is our inheritance of shalom.
God’s Word is truth
Psalm 33:4 – “For the word of the LORD is upright, and all his work is done in faithfulness.” God’s Word is “right.” Jesus continues this theme in John 17:17 by saying, “Your word is truth.” When God sends his Word, we know to trust it because in it no wrong exists. His Word will never misinform us or provide ill counsel. Thus, when God sent his Word, he sent truth to us in the form of a person, His Son.
God’s Word was sent to accomplish his purpose
Isaiah 55:10-11 – “For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth… so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that with I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.”
God sent his Word to accomplish his ultimate purpose for humanity. In Jesus, everything that God put forth to finish was successfully executed. When Jesus breathed his last, he uttered, “It is finished.” Just as we have confidence in the rain and snow, so our trust can be in Jesus that he accomplished all God planned for humanity.
God was formerly known through the law. Now he is known through a man that we can see and experience. God has become graspable (to a certain degree) because of Jesus. And where God’s glory once resided in the temple, now He is known to us through the person and work of Jesus. He is God’s clearest self-expression, creating power, truth, and salvation.
He is God’s Word become flesh.
A season of hope for a weary world
The season of Advent is for the weary, the exhausted, and those who are troubled in spirit. Giving hope for greater things to come, those celebrating Advent can look forward to a thrill of hope that Christ will bring in his second coming. It is a season of peace; a season of yearning for God’s Word and presence.
As Christ came in humility, he will come again in glory, power, authority, and justice. All things will be made right, and a new creation will dawn as the kingdom of God will conclusively reign upon the earth.
Christmas can be difficult, but it’s not without “good news of great joy” for those who belong to and believe in Jesus. In him, all will be made well; and through him, our weary souls can rest.