The Word Made Flesh

[Jhn 1:14 ESV] 14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.

The incarnation is absolutely necessary for the salvation of mankind. There would be no way for God to save man apart from the fact that Jesus became flesh and lived among us. He had to become flesh in order to make the atoning sacrifice for the sins of the people (Hebrews 2:17). He had to become flesh in order to become a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God (Hebrews 2:17,18).

We can learn a number of very important things from the incarnation. First of all, we learn about God from the incarnation. We see the judge of the universe, the one who brought the world into being becoming the atoning sacrifice. We also learn about our duty. In Philippians 2:5 we are told to, “Have this same attitude in you which was also in Christ Jesus. He who was in very nature God, emptied Himself and took upon Himself the form of a servant.” So we learn not only about God. We learn about our duty from the incarnation of Jesus Christ.

No other god that comes from the imagination of mankind would ever do such a thing as becoming human and giving up his God-status. While Jesus was still God as a human, he abandoned his position of power for the sake of humankind. 

God the Son accepted the limitations of space and time; he embraced the handicaps of fatigue, hunger, weakness, and vulnerability. God became visible, audible, and physically tangible. Jesus dwelt among us as one of us. 

Jesus maintained his Godhood as a human but limited his power while on earth. He did not cease to be the Word when he became human. Jesus was both God and man so that he could unite God and man. The two natures, God and human, were combined in Jesus. 

Are there other times when God dwelt among his people? The Temple. The Greek word for dwelt in the phrase “dwelt among us” is one of those Greek words that could fill a book (skēnoō G4637). The word is only used by John and only appears in 1:14 and 4 times in Revelation. The word directly refers to the Tabernacle and it means, “to fix one’s tabernacle” or “to pitch a tent.” The Greek OT used this word for God ‘dwelling’ in the Tabernacle/Temple. 

With the Tabernacle, God wanted to dwell among his people in buildings like them, “I will dwell among the people of Israel and will be their God” [Exo 29:45 ESV].

With the incarnation, God wanted to dwell among his people in bodies like them. It could be translated, “And the Word became flesh and tabernacled among us…”

In so doing, God the Son revealed the glory of God. Those who witnessed God in the flesh saw the glory of God; not just a brilliant radiance shining–the disciples saw that in the transfiguration, yes, but the glory of God the Son is his grace and truth. 

How Jesus behaved in his life on earth was glorious. The glory of Christ was seen in how he lived his life (2:11). He taught, he served, he had compassion, he had righteous anger, he rebuked, he consoled, he loved. Everything he did showed grace and truth. His is the incarnation of grace and truth–his life shows it. We witness his glory by reading his works.

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