The word became flesh and dwelt among us John 1:1-18

14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
From the very start of his Gospel, John wants us to know who the central character really is. Verse 14 makes the connection explicit. God became a human being in Jesus Christ. Last week in the first few verses of this Prologue we were introduced to a mysterious figure John calls The Word, in Greek the Logos.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning.
We saw that this person the Logos was with God, face to face with God. More than that, the Word was Himself God. And then we read
3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.
So the Logos, the Word of God, was the agent of Creation. God made everything through His mighty Word. And then John unwraps Christmas for us as he unfolds the mystery of the incarnation.
14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
The Word of God, who had been there in the beginning with God, and through whom God made everything, this Logos became a human being. The Word was the One and Only, the Son of the Father, full of the glory of God, and he was born as a human baby in Bethlehem. John makes explicit that the Logos is indeed the Lord Jesus Christ.
16 From the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another. 17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only, who is at the Father’s side, has made him known.
Jesus is the visible image of the invisible God. He has made God known. The One and Only, who came from the Father, is the one who is full of grace and truth – and grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. Jesus is the Word who became flesh and made his dwelling among us.
The word became flesh. He became a human being – a perfectly normal and ordinary human being. Jesus was not like the mythical Greek gods who sometimes took the form of humans. Nor was Jesus like the fictional superhero Superman who just pretends to be mild mannered reporter Clark Kent but underneath is the man of steel Superman all the time. Jesus became a real human being, flesh and blood just the same as any one of us. Throughout his Gospel John will emphasise the humanity of Jesus. Jesus became hungry and thirsty and tired and upset and distressed exactly like we all do. He was an ordinary human being.
The apostle John left his nets to follow Jesus for three years. Their friendship was particularly close, so John describes himself in this Gospel as “the disciple who Jesus loved” and everybody in the Early Church would have known that meant John, the Son of Zebedee, brother of James and part of Jesus’s inner circle of Peter, James and John. John knew Jesus better than almost anybody else, except perhaps for Jesus’s mother Mary. So John knew that Jesus was completely human.
The Word of Life was the eternal life who was with the Father but became the human being called Jesus of Nazareth. The Word became flesh, and dwelt among us. The Word became a human being and made his home among us.
The Message Translation says: “The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood.”
A literal translation would be, “The word became flesh and pitched his tent among us.” Or in old English, he “tabernacled” among us. Here is a clear echo of the “Tent of Meeting” in the Old Testament, the Tabernacle where God would descend to meet with His people. The body and the person of Jesus Christ was the place where God descended to meet with human beings.
14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
We have seen his glory. Again, when John says “we”, this is not some general vague anonymous group of people. It does not mean “some people in the church.” When John says “we” he is making clear that he himself had met Jesus, and witnessed all the events he is recording in his Gospel. John’s first letter is unambiguous.
1 JOHN 1 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. 2 The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us.
John was there. He met Jesus, and followed Jesus. John shook hands with Jesus. He ate and drank with Jesus. John saw the glory of Jesus, and here perhaps John is remembering the day when they climbed to the top of a mountain and Jesus was transfigured before them, and Peter, James and John indeed saw the glory of God shining from the face of Jesus. We have seen his glory, says John who was there. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
16 From the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another. 17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.
One blessing after another – grace upon grace! This is God’s gift to human beings through His Son Jesus Christ, the Word made flesh. Last week we began to glimpse what those blessings include.
4 In him was life, and that life was the light of men. 5 The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.
In him was life. Jesus came to share the divine life He had within himself with others. The word life occurs 36 times in John’s Gospel and in each case it refers, not to our physical human life, but to the eternal life which God has in Himself and which He offers to share with all of us. Jesus came to bring life, life in all its fullness. Jesus is the way, the truth and the life. The first great blessing of God’s grace is eternal life.
4 In him was life, and that life was the light of men. 5 The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.
The second great blessing is light – light in the darkness. The world has turned its back on God’s light. People are absorbed looking at their own shadows instead of being guided by God’s light. People are lost in ignorance and foolishness and darkness. And Jesus came to be the light of the world, to bring illumination to a dark world.
5 The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.
There is a double meaning in that last phrase. The words could mean that the darkness has not understood the light, and the old King James Version used the phrase “the darkness has not comprehended the light.” But the New International Version has a footnote which says that the words could equally mean, “the darkness has not overcome the light”. The Revised Standard Version agrees with that translation and the New Living Translation says, “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it.” That seems to me to be what John means. The light shines in the darkness and the darkness can never put it out!
6 There came a man who was sent from God; his name was John. 7 He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all men might believe. 8 He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light. 9 The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world.
This man sent from God was not the John who wrote this Gospel. Here he is talking about John the Baptist, John the Baptist was not the Light. John was sent to prepare the way for the Light. Jesus was the true light that gives light to every man. The light which brings illumination. The light which reveals God. Jesus was the light of the world
John 8:12 “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
Jesus is the light of the world who rescues people from darkness and gives them the light which brings them life. The first blessing Christ brought is eternal life. The second is the light of life. And here is the third – the right to become children of God.
10 He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. 11 He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. 12 Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— 13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.
The right to become God’s children. Here is the amazing truth. Ordinary people like you and me can become God’s children – a daughter or a son of the Almighty Living God. This is a spiritual birth. New life through Jesus isn’t about growing up in a Christian family or in a Christian country. It isn’t something we inherit from our human parents. Becoming a child of God is new spiritual life which comes directly and exclusively from God Himself. God is the source of eternal life and that life consists of the privilege of a personal relationship with God as our Father.
I’ve talked about three blessings of eternal life, receiving the light and becoming God’s children, but of course these are not separate things. They are just different ways of talking about the same incredible blessing of knowing God. Jesus will talk about moving from death to life, and coming out of darkness into the light, and being born again. But these are all just different aspects of God’s wonderful gift of salvation.
From the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another.
One blessing after another. This is the reason why the Word became a human being and pitched his tent among us. John will unwrap all these glorious truths as his Gospel relates the events of Jesus’s life and death and resurrection and records the marvellous things Jesus said which reveal God to us. But he doesn’t want to finish his prologue without explaining just how his readers can come to enjoy these wonderful blessings for ourselves.
9 The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. 11 He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. 12 Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God
The sad truth is that these wonderful blessings of salvation do not just come automatically to every human being. We each need to make our own response to Jesus, the Word made flesh. Although all things were made by Him and for Him, when He was born and lived a human life most of the world did not recognise Jesus as the Son of God. The world is in darkness and most people prefer to stay in the darkness rather than come to the Light. Most of the world today still do not recognise Jesus as the one who created them. Most people in God’s own nation of Israel sadly did not recognise Jesus as their own Messiah sent by God to rescue his own people. They did not welcome him – so they did not receive the blessings Jesus came to bring.
But here is the good news!
Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God
Light and eternal life and a new relationship as a child of God are God’s gift to anybody who does receive Jesus and welcome him and believe in his name.
Whoever receives Him – everybody who recognises that Jesus is indeed the Word of God, the Logos, God the Son.
John 6 68 Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. 69 We believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.”
When Jesus appeared alive to the disciples after the resurrection the apostle Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!” Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” (John 20:28-29)
At the end of his Gospel John writes this. John 20 30 Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. 31 But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.
Every one of us can receive God’s gift of new birth and eternal life as we believe that Jesus really is the Christ, the Son of the Living God. It’s that simple!
“Whoever receives Him and believes in his name.” That’s what the Bible says.
The Message translation puts it this way. “Whoever did want him, who believed he was who he claimed and would do what he said,”
We find this word “believe” almost one hundred times in John’s Gospel. Sometimes it is talking about believing what people have said, or believing particular facts, or believing that Jesus is indeed the Son of God. Most often the word is used talking specifically about “believing in Jesus”, putting our faith in Jesus or simply trusting Jesus.
God so loved the world that he gave his only son, so that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16)
Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life. (John 3:36)
John 11 25 Jesus said .. “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; 26 and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.
God’s free gift of eternal life is given to those people who believe in Jesus – who put their faith in Jesus and put their trust in Him to be their Saviour. Whoever believes in Jesus – whoever puts their trust in Him to receive eternal life and a new relationship with God. That’s all it takes. It’s not complicated. To ALL who received him, who believed in His name, he gave the right to become children of God. That is why the Word became flesh and dwelt among us. That is why the birth of Christ is the most important birth in human history. That is what we are celebrating at Christmas.
He came down to earth from heaven,
Who is God and Lord of all,
And His shelter was a stable,
And His cradle was a stall:
With the poor and meek and lowly
Lived on earth our Saviour holy.

14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

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