Tabernacle Orchard Park

Dear Tabernacle Family,

The Epistle of 1st John opens with a most beautiful Christmas Carol. “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched — this we proclaim concerning the Word of Life. The Life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the Eternal Life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us.” (1 John 1:1-2).

These words echo what John tells us in the opening of his Gospel,“In the beginning was the Word and the word was with God and the Word was God.” (John 1:1). And beyond that, they remind us of the very first verse in the Bible, “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” (Gen 1:1). “Go back as far as you can,”Genesis says, “and before anything that exists came into existence, you will find God; the eternal Being.” “Go back to the same point,”John tells us, “and you will find Jesus Christ with God, because he was God, before anything was created!”

But John’s thought in these verses is not Creation, but Incarnation. Incarnation literally means “embodied in flesh.” John declares that the Word which was made flesh in the womb of Mary was the same eternal Son of the Father who was before all time and who was the agent of all creation. The Word did not come into existence at Bethlehem. He already existed from the very beginning with the Father, within the eternal mystery of the Godhead. It was this Everlasting Word that became the human Jesus, and there can be no separating between the two. It is true that there never was a time when the Word was not, and it is also true that there was a definite moment when the Word of Life appeared. This Word was manifested among us and experienced by human beings in this material world of time and space.

This Eternal Life has been manifested in human history, in a real man, who really lived, and really died, and really rose from the grave – Jesus of Nazareth! John declares that he and his fellow apostles heard him speak. They saw him with their own eyes. Theytouched him physically, both before his death and after his resurrection. Jesus, the man, was also nothing less than God! He who was from the beginning; God of very God, sunk Himself into our flesh. He came to be like us so he could die for us and become the Savior of the world! This is what we proclaim concerning the Word of Life – and this Word of Life is Jesus Christ himself!

With Christmas Joy,

Pastor Jim Ruddy