Word Made Flesh

We all get things wrong. It’s time to get over it and move on. According to my high school chemistry teacher, who had a PH.D. in brain studies, we retain knowledge better if we get it wrong and later correct ourselves. The connections between our neurons is strengthened from the revision of our knowledge. So man, when you in a fight with your wife and are proved to be wrong, don’t be resentful. Be joyful that she helped you get less dumb and made your brain stronger.

The apostle John wrote an account of Jesus’ life in order to convince people of who Jesus is and clearly show the path to eternal life. To begin his gospel, he picked up on a concept that both Jews and Greeks got horribly wrong. They both had some concept of “The Word” but were both equally wrong. For the Greeks, “The Word” was Reason, and for the Jews, “The Word” was Wisdom. Both groups saw The Word as a teaching, philosophical concept, or immaterial structure to the universe. John specifically used this word to catch their attention and reveal the truth behind The Truth. He used something they got wrong to show them what was right.

But John quickly pointed out that The Word is not some vague concept or impersonal force.

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 1:14 (ESV)

The Word is that part of the exalted God who took on flesh and dwelt with humanity. It is the very Son of God who has always existed and participated in the creation of the universe. This Word Made Flesh was not a mere shadow of God’s glory or a veiled presence, but is the full view of God’s glory brought to humanity. Those who walked, talked, and ate with Jesus did so as if they were hanging out with God in the Holy of Holies. When John wrote the word “dwelt” it is the word for “to pitch a tent with,” evoking the imagery of the Tabernacle of the Old Testament and God’s presence in that tent. Instead of creating a barrier between God and man, the tent that Jesus pitched brought man in full communion with God.

This idea of “The Word” taking on flesh was have been insanity to Jews and Greeks, at least those who were not receptive to God’s truth. But reagarding those who were willing to accept this insanity as truth John wrote,

For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. John 1:16 (ESV)

This grace upon grace is first evident in the forgiveness of sins that is granted to those who accept Jesus’s gift of salvation. This grace continues to flow in the life of the believer. It flows as Jesus continues to forgive us when we repent. It flows when we are in need and God provides for us. It flows when the indwelling Spirit provides grace and comfort. It flows as we find ourselves lacking God’s wisdom but receive it when we ask. It flows as the Spirit reminds us of the future glory when Jesus comes to make all things new.

My challenge is this: don’t think you fully understand Jesus or the grace he offers. Continue to seek him and keep working to apply his will to your life. Allow him to revise your understanding of who he is through your study of Scripture and the conviction of the Spirit. Don’t fall into the trap that the Jews and Gentiles fell into by thinking you have The Word figured out.