January 5th, 2020
Pastor Jenny Lee, Ph.D.
“The Word Became Flesh”
I would share with you the Letter of the prophet Isaiah, 55:10-11 says, “For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return there until they have watered the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and succeed in the thing for which I sent it.”
There are sayings in Korea: “there are two things which could not be retrieved. One is the spilled water. The other is the spoken Word.” Water and the Word have a common point, which is saving people’s life or taking their life. While you know that water is essential for people’s lives, you may not think that a word is essential for people’s life. Through Isaiah’s prophecy, God speaks to us that as water is essential for the lives of plants and human beings, the Word is essential as well. “So shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and succeed in the thing for which I sent it.”
As if water does it, the Word has power, which is whether save or kill life. Some scholars tested with plants. One plant is given good words with watering; the other is given curse words with the same watering. Guess what happened. Yes, the plant is given bad words/curse words died, and the plant given good words grew well.
Who of us in this generation can forget Martin Luther King crying out in the shadow of the Lincoln Memorial, “I have a dream”? Words can fulfill hurt or bless. They can build up or tear down. There are those tender, healing, affirming words, “welcome,” “congratulations,” “I love you,” “you are special.” Or those angry, destructive, cutting words, “divorce is granted,” I hate you,” “You are noting.” What meaning they carry-far more than mere sounds hanging in the air.
For the “Word” in the text is the Logos in the background of Jewish and Creek. It has the Semitic root, “dabar,” which means, “thing,” “affair,” “event,” or “action.” It meant “the living Word.” Therefore, a word spoken might be happening. You may remember that when Isaac had blessed Jacob, and then later discovered that Jacob had cleverly stolen his twin brother Esau’s birthright, he could not recall his words of blessing, even though Esau pleaded with his aged father to do this (Gen.27:32-38). The words had gone forth, and the blessing stood. Once spoken, words cannot be retrieved.
Think of the power words have among us. The power of the Word is originally from God. When God spoke, that was a creative, awesome moment. We learned that all creation was called into existence by the Word of God. Genesis 1:3 says, “Then God said, Let there be light; there was light.” God created all things by the Word. “The Word was in the beginning, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John1:1-2). Like this, God exists as the Word in the beginning.
It was this Word that had walked with Adam and Eve in the Eden Garden. It was this Word that had called Abraham to leave his familiar, safe surroundings for the insecurity of a far country to become the father of a mighty people. It was this Word that had shown up to Moses in the burning bushes. This same Word broke the shackles of Egyptian bondage and set Israel free to enter into their promised land. Generations later, throughout history, this same Word came to people through the prophets.
Finally, this same Word became flesh and came into the world. And then, the Word dwelt among human beings. Because the Word was God, the meaning that the Word became flesh is that God came to the human by God-self. In other words, God dwells among us not only as the voice of Word but also as the human being. We called it “Immanuel God,” or “incarnation of God.” It is the reality, the Word being with God, that is the source of and power for all authentic Christian community. Much of our so-called “Christian fellowship” has wadded in a shallows of human effort and organization rather than swimming in the deeps of God’s reality. It is abiding in the intimate, loving relationship of the Word turned toward God that creates our life. Therefore, our community exists not only by our efforts, but also by the grace of God. As the Word is among us, the Word would be incarnated by the Christian community. Furthermore, the Word is incarnated by our daily life. We should live the teaching of Immanuel God, Jesus Christ, out in daily life.
The Christian community encourages one another to follow Jesus Christ. The Christian community shows that living faith comes true. The Letter of James, 2:26, says, “For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is also dead.” I hope that our faith goes forth with works. The Christian community would go for the healing of a broken relationship. The Letter of Hebrews, 11:1 says, “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” I hope that our faith community would have the power of the words. Our words would be the Word to save people. Our faith would be incarnated in our daily life, being such a living faith community.
The Word incarnated God is here among us by the Holy Spirit. Jesus Christ died on the Cross for our sins. After Jesus Christ lift to heaven, he sent us the Holy Spirit to make the Christian community. The salvation of God is continued through our Christian community by the Holy Spirit. In the text, verse 12, says, “All received Jesus Christ, who believe in his name, he gave the power to become children of God.” As we are Christian, children of God, we have the power of the word. As we begin at a new year, I encourage you to use your words to bless and save people. Let us use the power of words to save people.
Thanks be to God.