Saturday, December 24, 2022

The Word Made Flesh - John 1:14 - December 25, 2022

 John 1:14 The Word Made Flesh

Good morning and Merry Christmas!

Turn with me in your Bibles this morning to John chapter one. We are going to set aside our study of Luke’s Gospel for today and look at John’s Gospel instead. We are going to read verses 1-18 which is on page 886 in the pew Bibles but we are really only going to focus on verse 14.

This section from John’s Gospel is his nativity account. He doesn’t include any virgins or shepherds or angels or even mangers in stables. There are no cattle lowing, or little drummer boys, there are no stars shining, nor wise men wandering, but without the truth contained here there is no Christmas.

Let’s look at it together.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. 

There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him. He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light. 

The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. 11 He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. 12 But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. 

14 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. 15 (John bore witness about him, and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.’ ”) 16 For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. 17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known.

Let’s pray.

So how is this a nativity account? Let’s compare it to Matthew chapter one.

18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. 19 And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. 20 But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” 22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: 23 “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us). 24 When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, 25 but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called his name Jesus.

Matthew and Luke both give us the accounts of the arrival of Jesus as a baby born to a virgin in Bethlehem. These are the images on our Christmas cards and the subject of our Christmas carols, and there’s nothing wrong with that. But John gives us the account of the spiritual realities of Jesus birth, that He wasn’t just some random baby that grew up to be a good man and a good teacher, John shows us that He wasn’t just a really special baby that grew up to be a great prophet.

John’s account shows us that Jesus is God.

Paul wrote in Colossians 1:19, For in [Jesus] all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell… And again Colossians 2:9, For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily…

Hebrews 1:1-3 says, Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. 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.

The baby born in Bethlehem was not just some baby, and not even some special baby, the baby born in Bethlehem is God made flesh the exact imprint of His nature, and He upholds the universe by the word of His power. 

14 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.

John calls Jesus the Word, logos, the very expression and content of God’s special revelation of Himself.

And that Word became flesh. Not just, “became a human being,” or, “became a man,” but, “became flesh.” It’s a much more visceral picture that includes all the frailties and weaknesses of our own flesh yet without sin. Flesh is a term that is never flattering in Scripture, it’s always pictured as weak, it’s not a symbol of strength at all. This is further evidence of Christ’s humility.

Paul wrote again in 2 Corinthians 8:9, For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich.

John writes that the Word became flesh and dwelt among us. The Greek word for “dwelt,” means to tabernacle, to literally pitch your tent, the Word became flesh and pitched His tent among us.

This is how the Lord manifested His presence with Israel as they wandered forty years in the desert, in the Tabernacle, the tent of meeting. He did it in the Old Testament in a literal tent, and in the New Testament in a figurative tent of frail human flesh.

JP Lange wrote, “Faith lifts the veil of Christ’s humanity and worships His divine glory.”

That’s exactly what we are after this morning, to lift the veil of the human baby in the manger and worship the divine Son of God in all His glory.

John says that we have seen His glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father. 

Now there is some debate among the scholars as to whether John meant that he and the other Apostles alone had seen His glory, or if he meant that the whole church had seen His glory. While it’s true that the Apostle John witnessed Jesus’ transfiguration, and he saw Jesus after He had been raised from the dead, I’m left wondering, haven’t you seen the glory of the Lord Jesus?

Haven’t you witnessed answers to prayer, haven’t you witnessed people come to faith in Him? Haven’t you seen with your own eyes Jesus at work in the lives of individuals and churches through the power of His Holy Spirit? I think we all have, at least to some degree.

His glory is the glory of God’s One and Only Son, completely unique, as Hebrews says, the exact imprint of God’s nature. And what is God’s nature like? Full of grace and truth.

Jesus is grace and truth personified. Some people think that we give gifts at Christmas because the wise men gave gifts to Jesus, but I think we give gifts at Christmas because we have been given the gift OF Jesus. That’s exactly what the word “grace” means, it means, “gift.”

John Calvin called Jesus, “An inexhaustible fountain of grace and truth.” What a beautiful picture!

Warren Wiersbe wrote, “The Law could reveal sin, but it could never remove sin. Jesus Christ came with fullness of grace and truth, and this fullness is available to all who will trust in Him.”

Jesus, in His fullness is the gift that is available for us this Christmas, when we give our lives to Him by faith, He gives us so much more in return, He gives us Himself, an inexhaustible fountain of grace and truth.