The Wednesday feature of the Worldly Saints blog is a Scriptural meditation whereby I take a verse or passage I have been pondering lately and seek to edify my readers with it’s promises, encouragements, warnings, rebukes, etc.
Today is the last post answering the question, “Who is Jesus?” This is a question we have been probing for the last few months looking at the Apostle John’s unorthodox (by comparison to the other Gospels) style of beginning His Gospel. In John 1:1-18, John answers the question doctrinally when he tells us that Jesus is
- Divine (vs. 1-3)
- Revealed (vs. 4-5)
- Promised (vs. 6-9)
- Rejected (vs. 10-11)
- A Savior (vs. 12-13)
In today’s final post, we consider one of the richest set five verses in all of Scripture as we learn that Jesus was, is, and will be.
“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 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.’) For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known.”
All of chapter 1 has been leading to this point. This is what we refer to as the incarnation of Christ. The word “incarnation” basically means “being in the flesh.” In other words, it is dwelling in human form. The incarnation of Christ is that period of time where Christ left heaven and came down to earth to become man. You remember the song we sing at Christmas time Hark the Herald Angels Sing?
“Veiled in flesh the Godhead see, Hail the incarnate deity! Pleased as man with man to dwell, Jesus our Emmanuel.”
And that word Emmanuel means simply “God with us” – meaning “God came to be with us as a man.”
This is not an easy concept to understand, because when Jesus became man here on earth, He still remained God. He remained 100% God and 100% man. Jesus Christ became what we like to call the God-Man. And this action took place at a single point in time. Here are a few things you need to know about the incarnation.
- In the incarnation, Jesus never ceased to be God. He was still able to accomplish miraculous feats here on earth that proved that He was God. He still healed people of incurable diseases. He still defied nature and walked on water and calmed storms. He still, at times, was able to know what people were thinking. He remained 100% God.
- In the incarnation, Jesus received a nature just like ours. This means His human body was just like ours. He learned about things and even grew in wisdom (Luke 2:52), he developed skills like carpentry, he would cry (John 11:33), he would get depressed (John 12:27), he would laugh, he got hungry or thirsty, he got tired, he grew physically, he went to weddings and funerals, and he would even be tempted like us. In fact some of the popular names given to Him in the N.T. are the Man Christ Jesus (I Tim 2:5) and Son of Man (90x). If you saw Jesus walking around in a crowd of people at that time, you probably wouldn’t of known it was Him, just by looking at His physical features. He didn’t have this glow or halo around Him; He looked like everyone else. He had a human body and soul.
- Yet, despite the fact that He had a human body like ours, He never sinned (II Cor 5:21). Not once did Jesus give into temptation.
Some say the incarnation of Christ is the most important doctrine outside of salvation. When John says Christ came and dwelt among us, or tabernacled here, he is saying He came in a more personal way. He came as the human manifestation of God. He came and lived among us on earth.
Those that saw Him on earth when He was here were spectators to this great act of God: His incarnation. His glory came through His incarnation, His miracles, His claims to be the Messiah and God, His death and resurrection, and finally His ascension back to heaven – in other words, His entire life. John is saying, “We saw all this happen. I and other eyewitnesses saw the Incarnate Christ, this Glorious One, live here and glorify Him.” He became the ultimate expression of the presence of God.
Then there is a very interesting closing phrase to this passage: “He (Jesus) has explained Him (the Father). Explained what about Him? Well, actually the word explained comes from the same word we get “exegesis” (Greek exegayomai). We use that word to describe the method of drawing meaning out of passage of Scripture. Jesus is the exegesis of the Father. He is the narration of the Father. He explains God. Since we cannot look at God the Father physically, we have Christ who explains God the Father to us.
If you want to understand what God is like than it begins with an answer to the question, “Who is Christ?”