The Word Became Flesh
Everyone has an origin, a place where he or she comes from.
This can be understood from several different perspectives.
One perspective is family. We each come from a particular family. Each person has a father and a mother. Good or bad, known or unknown, our family affects who we are. Family determines eye, hair and skin color.
Another perspective we can understand origin from is community. We all speak English because English is the language of our community.
Another perspective we can understand origin from is geography. Growing up in the mountains, on the plains, or on the beach, in the jungle or in the artic all have an effect.
Knowing someone involves knowing his or her origin, where he or she comes from.
As we begin a new year, I hope you will join me in seeking to know Jesus. Resolve with me to put fresh new life into your relationship with Him.
The people of Jesus’s day had a unique opportunity to know Jesus. However, most of that generation missed the opportunity. On more than one occasion, those closest to him said, “Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know?” (John 6:42, ESV)[i] They missed their opportunity because they thought they knew His origin.
We just finished the Christmas season where we celebrate Jesus’s miraculous birth. However, this is not the beginning of His story. Micah 5:2 says:
But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient days.
Today, I want to consider Jesus’s origins. Going beyond the place of His birth, we will look at where He is truly from. We will see that by believing in Him we are made children of God, and this is due to His origin.
Jesus has revealed God to us. No other person can claim this. No other person came from where Jesus came. John 1:1-18 will serve as the basis for my comments and for our understanding. In John 1, we will see that Jesus has revealed God in that He is the Word, the Light and the Son.
First, Jesus has revealed God to us in that He is the Word.
John 1:1 says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” ESV
In this verse, John is using the “Word,” to describe Jesus.
The simplest reason why Jesus is called the “Word” is that as our words show our minds to others, so Jesus was sent to show God’s mind to the world. Hebrews 1:3 tells us, “He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power.”(ESV) Jesus is God expressing Himself.
Sent as the expression of God to the world, the Word had its origins from eternity past. John takes us to the beginning. Using Language that sounds the same as Genesis 1:1, he says, “In the beginning was the Word.”
This passage makes it clear that the Word was with God and was at the same time God. The way we understand this and try to explain it is the doctrine of the Trinity. He is separate from God and is therefore described as being with God. At the same time, He is God.
We meet God in Genesis 1:1 as the creator of all things. Here in John, we meet Jesus as the One through whom all things were created. “Without Him was not anything made that was made.” (Verse 3, KJV)
At this point, we must humbly bow and worship the Son as God. The Father and the Son are One. Co-eternal with the Father and the Holy Spirit, Jesus is God.
This is how we understand Jesus as the Word, and how his origin reveals God to us. John also speaks of Jesus as the Light. As the Light, Jesus reveals God to us.
John says, “In him was life; and the life was the light of men.” (John 1:4, KJV)
In Genesis 1, we learn that God formed man from the dust of the ground and then breathed into him the breath of life.
It is difficult to define what life is.
Wikipedia defines life as:
Life is a characteristic distinguishing physical entities having biological processes (such as signaling and self-sustaining processes) from those that do not, either because such functions have ceased (death), or because they lack such functions and are classified as inanimate.[ii]
This defines life strictly by its biological processes. Within this definition, there is no room for a soul. The origins of life itself are considered a by-product of an evolutionary process and the natural result of 4.5 billion years. The development of consciousness and morality are ascribed to chance and natural selection.
We are told in John 1 that in Him was life. Additionally, we are told that this life was the light of men.
According to this, life is what gives us understanding and enlightenment. Life is the source of understanding and morality. The light is said to be shining into the darkness, but the darkness is said to be unable to understand or overcome the light. This battle is further explained when John says, “He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and his own received him not.” (John 1:10-11, KJV)
John 1:9 tells us that the Light gives light to everyone. This is evident in the fact that the conscience and an awareness of right and wrong are universally present within humanity. This light of conscience is to be understood as being rooted in life itself if we use John 1 as the source of our definition of life. This is tied to the idea of the soul and the soul being the life of the body.
This idea of life and light help us to understand who Jesus is, and reveal truth to us about the nature of God. However, the world is in darkness.
There is, as has been mentioned, a battle. The Light shines in the darkness but the darkness is said to not be able to seize, comprehend or overcome the Light.
The world resists the Light. John says, “He came unto His own, and His own received Him not.” (John 1:11, KJV) The Light that we have within us condemns us before God. Light shows where we have sinned. It is felt in a guilty conscience.
Romans 2:14-15 explain this function of the light in each person when it says:
Even Gentiles, who do not have God’s written law, show that they know his law when they instinctively obey it, even without having heard it. They demonstrate that God’s law is written in their hearts, for their own conscience and thoughts either accuse them or tell them they are doing right.[iii]
This law written in the heart of every person is part of the life that is given by God and is integral to the soul. Its origin is found in the person of Jesus Christ.
We see that Jesus is the Word, and we understand that He is the Light. This leaves us in need because the Light condemns us. This brings us to the truth that Jesus reveals God in that He is the Son.
We find this truth first in verse 14 that says, “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.” ESV The King James Version says, “the glory as of the only begotten of the Father.” This idea of Jesus as the Son permeates the book of John. It is this idea that gives birth to our understanding of Jesus as our Savior.
The truth that Jesus is the Son is closely tied to the truth called grace. Grace is the expression of God’s favor. We hear the words “God loves you” and these words are demonstrated by Grace. Grace is God pouring out gifts and goodness on us that we do not deserve. In this favor, we find the meaning of Jesus as the Son.
He is said to be from the Father and He is said to be full of grace and truth. Verse 16 repeats this truth of grace when it says, “For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.” ESV
John 3:16 is an expression of this truth. It says, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” ESV
The riches that God has poured out on us are beyond our ability to comprehend. These riches are not measured in silver or gold. These riches are not measured in property and land. These riches are the riches of God’s children. Romans 8:32 asks, “He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?” ESV
God as creator is awesome and bigger than we can even imagine. There is nothing He cannot do. This is part of Jesus’s origin.
God as Light is Holy, righteous and inapproachable in purity. In Him is no darkness at all. This also is part of Jesus’s origin.
It is in God the Son that we find grace and a Savior. This is why John 1:12 says, “But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.” ESV
Becoming a child of God is as simple as believing in his name. However, let me attach a warning. John gives this warning in chapter 3 verse 36 when he says, “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.” ESV
He came unto His own but His own received Him not. Do not be among those who do not receive Him. His origin is from ancient times. He is your creator. He has given you your conscience as a reminder of your need of His grace. He has sent His Son to be your Savior. It only remains for you to receive Him to become a child of God and enjoy eternal life, new life, abundant life.
[i] Scripture quotations marked ESV are from The ESV Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version) copyright 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
[iii] Unless otherwise noted Scripture quotations 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 Steam, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.