December 1 - The Word Became Flesh

Monday, December 1, 2008

December 1 - The Word Became Flesh - John 1:1-5, 9-14, 16-18

Neither Mark nor John began their Gospel stories with the birth of Jesus Christ. John's preparation for the introduction of Jesus takes us back as far as possible ... to the Creation of the World. Before Jesus came to earth as an infant, John wants us to see the power of Who He is.

The Greek word 'logos' which is translated here as 'the Word' is a word that in Greek offers a double sense - that of 'reason and speech.' John teaches us through these verses (John 1:1-18) that Christ is the idea of God and the manifestation of God.

While Matthew and Luke unveil the child and emphasize the fact that Jesus was fully human, John insists that we be made aware the Jesus Christ was divine. In fact, in John 20:31, he tells us that he has written this Gospel so that we may believe that Jesus is the Christ (Messiah), the Son of God. Jesus is our link to eternity - to the divine.

John wants us to see Jesus, not as a child, but as the eternal God. From the very beginning, Jesus has expressed God to mankind (John 1:3) (Teacher's Commentary).

By declaring that Jesus was in existence from the beginning, he teaches that Jesus was not created. This aligns with Isaiah 43:10-11. Jewish teaching was that God's wisdom/word/law was in existence before creation. Psalm 33:6 then goes on to say that God's Word was how creation came to be.

For many of us, we have always known and understood the truth of God's Word ... Jesus. But, this information is not quite so obvious to the world and was even less obvious to the world in the period of time that John wrote this Gospel. He was writing to dispel the teaching of the Gnostics, who taught against the deity of Jesus.

When I read these words from the opening verses of John, I find myself taken with the simplicity of truth. Jesus was there in the beginning. He was with God. he was God. Through Jesus, all things were made. In him was life and that life was the light of men (Psalm 119:105). That light shines in the darkness and the darkness can not overcome it.

It is difficult to balance the images we have of Jesus. We see him as the Creator - the Word of God. And we see Him as an infant child ... helpless in His mother's arms. Then, we see Him offered as a sacrifice, His power seemingly set aside so that He can endure intense suffering. How do we justify all of these varying images?

Scholars spend a lot of time emphasizing one or more of these images to the exclusion of another. Yet John 1:14 brings all of these together. "The Word became flesh and lived for awhile among us. We have seen his glory."

Why did He do this? J. Ellsworth Kalas says that it is because of the Christmas Scandal. When Adam & Eve chose to sin against the Lord, Christmas eve was set into place. John 1:12-13 tells us that Jesus came to give us the right to become children of God.

It's because of us. It's because of you and me. The Word became Flesh.