The Word Becomes Flesh.


     cj     Well it looks like we all have made it to yet one more Christmas day and all the thanks and glory be to Jesus who is on the throne now. I pray that all of you are having a wonderful day with family and friends. Knowing that it is Christmas, it would be wise to talk a little about the one who Christmas is supposed to be about, the Lord Jesus Christ who is fully God and fully man. I am speaking of a very important view in the Christian faith known as the doctrine of the incarnation, but what does that mean?

     “The Incarnation of the Son of God is the terminology used to describe what happened when the second person of the Trinity, the eternal Son of God, “became flesh” as he was miraculously conceived in the womb of the Virgin Mary according to the Bible. In the incarnation, the divine nature of the Son was perfectly united with human nature in one divine Person. This person, Jesus Christ, was both “truly God and truly man.” (Theopedia).

     As one can clearly imagine, the doctrine of the incarnation of Jesus is severely important to the Christian faith and a doctrine that cannot be compromised. I am willing to go as far as to say that as a Christian, the doctrine of the incarnation is so important that to stray away from this doctrine is to leave the lines of orthodoxy and not be within the boundaries of the Christian faith. With that in mind, the doctrine of the incarnation is exactly what Christmas is all about and why Christmas is considered a Christian holiday. Consider with me John 1: 1-18,

     “1:1 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. He 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 enlightens 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 And 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.” (ESV Bible online).

     This rather lengthy passage is very important and plays a large role in understanding the doctrine of the incarnation. In fact, my study Bible, and I would assume most study Bibles, label this section “The Word made flesh”. While this entire passage is important, the focus will be primarily spent on the first part of the passages, namely verses 1-5, but the rest of the passage will be discussed in some detail as well.

     In the opening verses of the gospel of John, the writer keeps referring to this idea of the “Word”. John starts from the beginning and says that “in the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God”. This clearly echoes the opening phrase of Genesis chapter 1, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth”, but John shows that the Word was with God in the beginning. Not only that, John says that the Word “was God”. This is extremely important to understand!

     As John goes proceeds in his writing, the reader finds that the “Word” being discussed in the opening verses is none other than Jesus of Nazareth Himself. John is showing that Jesus was with God in eternity past and that Jesus is God. Hmmm, this is intriguing! Could it be that this is good grounds for holding to the view of a Trinitarian nature of God? I think so!

     The Greek word that is used for “Word” in this passage is Logos which “conveys the notion of divine self-expression or speech and has a rich Old Testament background” (ESV Study Bible). God’s Word is effective because God speaks and matter comes into existence, and also by speech, God relates personally to His people. By using the Greek word Logos in this passage, John is also showing that this concept of the Logos is even more superior to the way in which the Greeks would use the word Logos. In Greek culture, Logos is seen as an impersonal principle of reason that gave order to the universe. However, in the case of John’s writing, John shows that the Word was with God indicating a personal relationship with God. John also shows that the Word was God affirming that this Word is also the same God who created the universe. (Refer to Colossians chapter 1 for a cross reference). What an interesting concept!

     The next part of the passage (vv. 6-8) is important as well in understanding some Old Testament prophecy concerning the coming of Jesus. John goes on to write about John the Baptist who was prophesied about in Isaiah 40: 3 and sent from God to be a witness about the “light”, who is actually Jesus; so that many may be saved by the message of the gospel preached by John the Baptist. Remember however, John the Baptist is not the “light” but a forerunner of the light to come.

     As for the rest of the passage (vv. 9-18), this concludes the opening of John’s gospel with talking about the actual incarnation itself. We find that in this passage, the light comes into the world that He has made and yet those whom He has created did not receive Him. John, then goes to on to make a very important statement concerning the point of His coming into the world. He would give the right to become children of the Most High God to anyone who would believe, but not according to the person’s will, the person’s flesh, or blood, but according to the will of God (vv.12-13). Jesus came to save sinners!

     My friends, the point of Christmas is this; that God would send His son, the second person of the Trinity, a Savior, Jesus Christ to save a people for Himself. As we consider this day, December 25, 2008, please remember that this is more than just a baby being born in a manger, but that baby was and is the God of the universe who sits on the throne ruling the universe. Please also remember, that Christmas should not be the only day that we celebrate the events of the incarnation, but everyday should be considered a celebration for God because He would send His Son to die for sinners who do not deserve His grace and peace. It is through Jesus that we have true grace and peace for this season. God bless all!


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