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The Word—John 1:14 [8]

The Word—John 1:14 [8]

And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.”

John has described the Lord Jesus in some fairly abstract terms until now; we have seen him as life and as light, but here in wonderful succinctness we read that “the Word was made flesh”. This is personal, relational and close. The eternal Word who was in intimate union with God and is essentially God became man.

The incarnation was no theophany of Old Testament Scripture, nor a mere appearance of God. John presents the truth of the incarnation in profound yet direct terms in using the word flesh. We might say that the Word was made of the same ‘stuff’ as every other human being, sin apart. John has asserted the absolute deity of the Lord Jesus but he is equally firm on the essential humanity of the Lord Jesus. Any gnostic heresy is shattered.

We further read that the Word became flesh of his own volition. This was not forced or constrained but he freely assumed human form. This echoes the astounding humility and condescension of Philippians 2; “who being in the form of God … made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant” (v6-7). He became man in order that he might communicate all that God is to us in language that we could understand.

John goes on to say; not only did he become like us but he lived with us for we read that “the Word … tabernacled among us”. This would forcibly remind any Jewish reader of the time when God had said “let them make me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them” (Ex. 25:8). This is nothing else but the Shekinah glory of Old Testament Scripture. It is the personal and manifest presence of God in the midst of his people.Not now in a tent, but in a sinless and perfect man.

Moses asked if he could see the glory of God and yet was told “thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live” (Ex. 33:20). When he went into the tabernacle, he “was not able to enter into the tent of the congregation, because the cloud abode thereon, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle” (Ex. 40:35). Yet in stark contrast John says “we beheld his glory”. Man who could not abide the unspeakable holiness of God could now approach the incarnate Word. Man who could not look upon God now gazed intently on Emmanuel.

John goes on to say that this glory was characterised by “the only begotten of the Father”. This was a different glory to Sinai where “the earth shook, the heavens also dropped at the presence of God: even Sinai itself was moved” (Psa. 68:8). God was now speaking through his unique, one-of-a-class Son. He is distinct from all others, eternally begotten, unoriginated in relationship and dear to the Father. This was a glory never seen before as the Son revealed the heart of God.

We have seen that the Word is divine in his essence, and we learn now that he is divine in his attributes, for he is “full of grace and truth”. “In these two words the character of the divine revelation is summed up. Grace corresponds with the idea of the revelation of God as Love … and Truth with that of the revelation of God as Light by Him who is Himself Light”. God is love and God is light and the Word communicated God’s characterperfectly. Grace and truth permeated all that he did. May it permeate our hearts this morning as we remember him.

Teaching in the Upper Room: Comfort for the Troubled Heart–The Diagnosis and Remedy [1]

Teaching in the Upper Room: Comfort for the Troubled Heart–The Diagnosis and Remedy [1]

God's Question To A Sufferer

God's Question To A Sufferer