He Dwelt Among Us
God has spoken.
He spoke to Abraham in visions, dreams, and even visited him in the form of a man.
Moses was a man who grew up in ancient Egypt. He was educated by the Egyptians, but his people were slaves in Egypt. When he was 40 years old, he saw an Egyptian beating one of his own people. Moses killed the Egyptian. When Pharaoh heard about what Moses had done, Moses had to flee for his life.
He ended up herding sheep in the wilderness for 40 years. At the end of those 40 years, God appeared to Moses in a burning bush. God spoke to Moses, and Moses was never the same.
Moses was chosen by God to communicate God’s law to His people. As a result, Moses spent time on the mountain alone with God. God revealed a small part of His glory to Moses, and it was enough to cause Moses’ face to shine so that others could not endure looking upon it.
Hebrews 1:1 says, “Long ago God spoke many times and in many ways to our ancestors through the prophets.”[i] (NLT)
But does God speak to us today?
In John chapter 1, we will see that God still speaks to you and me through His Son.
John 1:14 says, “So the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son.” (NLT)
Words are what we use to communicate. Words express our thoughts, our desires and draw the picture for others of what is in our inner world.
When John says, “So the Word became human,” what does He mean? How is it that Words can take on flesh and blood and become human?
Going back to Hebrews 1 verse 1, let’s read it again, but this time we will include verses 2 and 3:
1Long ago God spoke many times and in many ways to our ancestors through the prophets. 2And now in these final days, he has spoken to us through his Son. God promised everything to the Son as an inheritance, and through the Son he created the universe. 3The Son radiates God’s own glory and expresses the very character of God, and he sustains everything by the mighty power of his command. When he had cleansed us from our sins, he sat down in the place of honor at the right hand of the majestic God in heaven. (NLT)
Here we see that the God who spoke with Abraham and Moses has spoken to us through His Son. His Son “radiates God’s own glory and expresses the very character of God.” The Son expresses God’s very thoughts and shows us a picture of what is going on in God’s inner world, as far as we are able to comprehend it.
John chapter 1 verses 1 through 3 say:
1In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2He existed in the beginning with God. 3God created everything through him, and nothing was created except through him. (NLT)
John is speaking of the Son of God as “the Word.”
Many of you have heard of the Greek idea of “logos” being the principle of logic. Led by the Holy Spirit, John appeals to the Greek or philosophical mind. But, there is so much more to this idea of the “Word” being with God, than just a principle of logic.
Proverbs uses the idea of Wisdom in the following way. In chapter 1 verse 20 through 24 Proverbs says:
20Wisdom shouts in the streets.
She cries out in the public square.
21She calls to the crowds along the main street,
to those gathered in front of the city gate:
22“How long, you simpletons,
will you insist on being simpleminded?
How long will you mockers relish your mocking?
How long will you fools hate knowledge?
23Come and listen to my counsel.
I’ll share my heart with you
and make you wise.
24“I called you so often, but you wouldn’t come.
I reached out to you, but you paid no attention. (NLT)
Wisdom is seen here as a person, calling out to the foolish and the simpleminded.
The “Word” in John chapter 1 is also portrayed as a person. We are told quite plainly that the “Word” was both with God and was God at the same time.
The significance then of the Word becoming human is that the Word is God, and as God He is uniquely the communication or expression of all that God is. He is much more than the principle of logic or organization behind and supporting all creation. He is a person. He is the revelation of God. He is Word that is living, breathing and tangible.
John 1:14 tells us that he “made his home among us.” Like wisdom calling out in the street for humanity to pay attention, God made Himself as available as possible. In a letter he wrote John says, “…We saw him with our own eyes and touched him with our own hands.” (1 John 1:1, NLT)
Do you want to know what God is like?
Has God spoken?
The answer is the Word that became human, took on flesh and bone.
John 1:14 says of Him, “…we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son.” (NLT)
What does it mean to have seen His glory?
In Mark 9:2-4 there is this account:
…Jesus took Peter, James, and John, and led them up a high mountain to be alone. As the men watched, Jesus’ appearance was transformed, 3and his clothes became dazzling white, far whiter than any earthly bleach could ever make them. 4Then Elijah and Moses appeared and began talking with Jesus. (NLT)
Through this report we understand that Jesus possessed within His body a glory that we cannot understand. This glory was somehow veiled. We understand from Philippians 2:7 that He emptied Himself and took on the form of a servant. Yet He remained fully God and was able on this occasion to let it be known that He had a glory that was not of this earth.
There is another glory that Jesus shows to us. The story of His suffering, trial and death is a glory of a different sort. Isaiah says of Him, “He was oppressed and treated harshly, yet he never said a word. He was led like a lamb to the slaughter. And as a sheep is silent before the shearers, he did not open his mouth.” (Isaiah 53:7, NLT) Those that were with Him on the last night, said that he sweat drops of blood in anticipation of what was coming. He prayed that He would not have to go through it, but surrendered His will to the will of His Father.
Through His surrender Isaiah tells us, “When he sees all that is accomplished by his anguish, he will be satisfied. And because of his experience, my righteous servant will make it possible for many to be counted righteous, for he will bear all their sins.” (Isaiah 53:11, NLT) Philippians 2:10 tells us that because of what He did, every knee in heaven and on earth will bow and proclaim that Jesus Christ is Lord.
In His sacrifice, we still see His glory displayed.
Does God speak?
Yes, every day.
He stands on the street corners and calls out to all who will listen.
He uses billboards that say Jesus saves. He uses crosses painted on signs and church buildings that give testimony to the gathering of believers. And, in great number and with great force He uses human beings – human beings who like His Son have flesh and blood.
The story of Christmas is about the incarnation. That is our big word for the day. “Carne” is meat. “Incarnation” means taking on meat. Most translations of John 1:14 say that the Word became flesh. Flesh is meat. This is a base or vulgar expression of what happened. And, it brings it down to earth.
The Baby in the manger was God taking on flesh. It was the very real and practical working out of what John says about the Word becoming human.
We have the record of Jesus’ glory, person, words and works to help us understand. But even more, we have the Holy Spirit. Through the Holy Spirit we are given the mind of Christ. He is the first born of many. Each human that accepts Jesus as Lord and Savior has a part in God speaking.
God speaks through you and me.
When we tell others of the Baby in the manger and what He has done for us, God is speaking through us. The Word is still alive and active. He is in our hearts, in our mouths and in our lives.
We each show His glory as much as we surrender our will to His.
As we celebrate Christmas this year, it shows His glory.
If you do not know Jesus this way, can I just say, “God is talking to you right now?” Will you listen? He wants to have a relationship with you. That is why He sent His son. All you have to do is say, “Yes God.” That is all any of us need to do.
[i] Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible: New Living Translation. Copyright 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.