“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us”
The immaterial became material; something we had never seen became something we could touch and see. Concepts about God, which up to that time had only been heard of, took on flesh and dwelt among us.
In the birth of Jesus, the immaterial became material; something we had never seen became tangible and visible. Concepts about God, which up to that time had only been heard of, took on flesh and dwelt among us.
John 1 is packed full of assertions of the nature of the Son. It tells us that he is the Word of God, that he is ageless, and that he is the source of life and light through whom all things were created.
We also see in between these assertions, mysteries. This Being through whom all things were created became flesh. The Creator took on a creaturely form, and the sovereign God became subject to his own creation. In Philippians, Paul writes that Christ, “being found in human form…humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” The omnipotent God not only subjected himself to physical death, but he also was subject to fallen, human institutions.
John asserts that Jesus is both God and man, yet he does not explain how the intersection between the two works. Between these two truths is a deep mystery pointing us to the infinite knowledge and wisdom of God. I don’t believe it is meant to be understood; I believe that it is meant to be marveled at.
However, what we can know is that even after we willfully plunged ourselves into darkness and death by rejecting the Source of light and life, God came to reunite man with himself by quite literally uniting God and man.
Some Practical Considerations
- The incarnation (the Word becoming flesh) is a central theme in the Gospel story, and it should be a central them in your story. When we think about the Gospel message that granted us spiritual birth, we should include Christ’s human birth. Similar to how Jesus’ physical birth happened by the will of God, a spiritual birth is given through the will of God to all who believe in the name of Jesus.
- It is not through physical birth that we belong to God. There are two subapplications for this point. The first is that you are not a Christian because of your human, cultural heritage. You are not a Christian because your parents were Christian or because you live in a historically Christian region. You are a Christian because you believe in Christ and have been reborn by the will of God. The second sub application is that works of the flesh will never reconcile us to God. Only the work of God will ever reconcile us to God. We need to be given a spiritual rebirth.
- The incarnation should be our model for living. Jesus became one of us to reconcile us to God. Do we humbly “take on flesh” and enter other people’s worlds to reconcile them to God? What would it look like for us to value the mission of reconciliation above all other things and humbly submit ourselves to self-denial and servanthood?