Midweek Advent Service
December 2, 2020
“You Have My Word”
Rev. John R. Larson
Ascension Lutheran Church Littleton, Colorado
“You have my word on it!!” When you hear those words there may be a bit of skepticism with that. Why? Well- we live in a world of broken promises. Empty vows. Pledges made only to be forgotten. Assurances given, then ignored. Words can be spoken with great fanfare. “I’ll always love you.” “We’re BFFL – Best Friends For Life.” “Till death do us part.” We can become squeamish when someone says to us, “You have my word.”
But I tell you, when Someone speaks those words and they will not, and cannot lie, we take great comfort when they say, “You have my word.”
Listen to John 1:1-5, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.” God is saying that we have His word on it. We can count on it. We can count on Him.
The Word is connected to creation. John 1:1 begins, “In the beginning was the Word.” Doesn’t that sound just like the very first words of the Bible? “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth…” God’s word always creates. How many “Let there be” do we find in Genesis 1? Let there be light. Let there be living creatures that fill the earth. Let the sea be filled with fish. Let there be a greater light to rule the day and a lesser light to rule the night. “Let there be.”
God created with His Word. And he still does. Joshua 21:45 says, “Not one word of all the good promises that the Lord has made has failed.” Isaiah 55:11 says, “My word will not return to me empty but it will accomplish the purpose for which I sent it.” Or how about this Peter passage? “For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God.” (I Peter 1:23)
For every preacher who speaks word after word, or for every Sunday School teacher who has their kids memorize portions of the Bible, or for any of us who read, mark and inwardly digest the word, we take comfort that God’s Word is powerful and can create life out of nothing and establish faith just from a few letters that God put together. When God says, “You have my word”, that means everything.
The Word is connected to God. In John 1 those great words go on, “The Word was with God, and the Word was God.” (1b) Then in verse 14 we have all of this put together, “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” The Word is Jesus. When God wanted to speak His final and greatest word, He sent Jesus here. Hebrews 1, a book written for those who had a long history of hearing God’s words, says this, “In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe.” (Verses 1-2)
A word can do powerful things. They can harm others or they can do things that will empower and make them strong and alive. I, too often, have hurt people with my words. I regret when I say something that can just take the breath away from someone. But I’ve done it. Maybe, you too? But, at times, I’ve spoken words that make a person alive and thriving. God, also, can kill with His words and He can make us alive with them. Jesus came to bring words of life and hope to all of us. Later in this chapter, the contrast between Moses and his words, and Jesus with His, is given, “For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.” (John 1:17) When Jesus says “You have my word” we can believe it because He is the Word of God, in the flesh.
The Word is connected to us. Verse 4 of the text says, “In him was life, and that life was the light of men.” He connects with us by being the light that shines in our life. It says, “The light shines in the darkness.”
Quite a few years ago I buried one of my folks who had a great fear of darkness. So, the family, knowing how dark it was going to be in the casket when the lid was closed, put a flashlight right next to her. I hope they put in some extra batteries as well!
There is too much darkness in this world. That is why we struggle with believing some of the things someone would say to us. Lies, deception, the twisting of what is right and wrong, is common. And the darkness is not just outside of us, it is also within us. In this same book the words of Jesus address this, “This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed.” (John 3:19-20)
The Word, Jesus, gives us light. In John 9, Jesus heals a man born blind and says of this, “As long as it is day, we must do the work of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work. While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” (John 9:4-5) Jesus is the light of the world. He illumines us.
This is the season of light, right? We are seeing Christmas tress with lots of lights, houses that have enough lights on them to turn a profit for Xcel Energy, lightshows that make us smile. What we see tells us that this is a season of light. That is what the Word, Jesus, told us.
We begin our Advent season with a promise from God. He tells us that we have His Word on everything that He has said. His word can create hope and forgiveness and eternal life in an instant. That word is connected to His Father. That word connects to us. Trust that word. Trust Him – Jesus. Amen!!
(The sermon is adapted from the series, “The Word Became Flesh” from Concordia Seminary Press, 2017)