John 1:1-18 — When God became flesh

For those wondering how I’m going to tackle the Gospels, I’m going to do it as I did the Old Testament, that is, chronologically.  I’m going to use a harmony of the Gospels to do this, and weave between the Gospel narratives to tell the story of Jesus.

Because of this, we will start with John 1, which takes us back to the very beginning of time.  I’m really excited about finally hitting the Gospels by the way, particularly since as I write this, we’re well into the Christmas season.  The timing couldn’t be more perfect.

At any rate, John starts off his Gospel by writing,

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was with God in the beginning. (1:1)

When it says “the Word,” it’s talking about Jesus.  In other words, in the beginning when time began, Jesus was already there.

Why does it call Jesus “The Word?”  Well to the Jewish mind, “the Word” meant the wisdom of God.  To the Greek mind, it had the idea of reason or mind of God.  When they asked themselves, “Why do we so much order in this world we live in?  How could it have been created in such a way?” they would answer, “The mind and reason of God.”

So when John talks of Jesus as the Word, that’s what he’s saying.  He’s the mind and reason  of God.  He’s the wisdom of God himself.

Let’s think of it another way.  How can we get to know a person?  Through their words.  If a person never speaks or writes, we can get to know them to some degree.  But the extent to which we can know them is very limited.  But when they speak, we learn the way they think.   We can learn from their wisdom.  And most of all, we can find out who they truly are.  That’s what Jesus is to us.  He’s God’s “Word” to us.  Because through Jesus, we see who God really is.  Why is this so?

There are two reasons.  First, he was with God in the beginning.  More literally, it says, he was “face to face” with God the Father in the beginning.  In other words, they had a very close and personal relationship.  But not only that, Jesus himself was God.  And in verse 14, it says that he became flesh and dwelt among us.  In other words, God became flesh in Jesus Christ.

Here we hit the concept of the Trinity full on.  What is the Trinity?  It is the idea that though there is one God, we see three persons in the one God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.  The Father is not the Son.  The Son is not the Spirit.  The Spirit is not the Father.  Yet somehow, these three are the one God.

How can this be?  I don’t know.  We live in a dimension where three persons are three separate beings.  Three people can stand right next to each other with no space between them, but they are still separate beings.

But God is not bound by a three dimensional universe.  He exists in a completely different dimension.  And in the dimension in which he exists, three persons can be one being.  We can’t fully understand it simply because we don’t dwell in God’s dimension.  We dwell in ours.

But as much as God can be understood, it’s because of Jesus.  Because when Jesus was born in that manger 2000 years ago, for the first time, we could actually see God with our own eyes.

John writes,

We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.  (14)

When he walked this earth and spoke, he revealed who God is, because he was God in human flesh.  All that God is, we see in Jesus.

That’s why John writes,

“No one has ever seen God [the Father], but God the One and Only [Jesus] who is at the Father’s side, has made him known.  (18)

Literally, it says that Jesus has explained God to us.  He’s God’s interpreter to us.

This is getting long, so let’s wrap this up for now by saying this:  When we celebrate Christmas, we celebrate the fact that God became flesh.  Why is that important?  Because by becoming flesh, he revealed himself to us.

Do you want to know the invisible God?  Look no further than the manger.  Because in Jesus, we see who God is in all his wisdom, power, and glory.


About bkshiroma

I'm from Hawaii, but have been in Japan as a missionary/English teacher since 1995. I'm currently going to a church called Crossroad Nishinomiya, an international church in Nishinomiya, a city right between Kobe and Osaka. Check out their website: 私がハワイから来ましたけど1995年に宣教師と英会話の教師として日本に引っ越しました。 今西宮にあるクロスロード西宮という国際の教会に行っています。どうぞ、そのホムページを見てください:
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One Response to John 1:1-18 — When God became flesh

  1. Pingback: John 16:5-15 — The work of the Spirit | Through the Bible in who knows how many days

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