Monday, December 11, 2017

The Glory of God

Part 2 of God Incarnate

Text: John 1:14




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 1:14). 


What's the Big Deal?

What’s the big deal about the birth of Jesus? It’s a big deal because Jesus was none other than God in human flesh! The baby lying in the manger was none other than God in human flesh!
Lo, within a manger lies
He who built the starry skies. 
In John 1:1-18, Jesus is called “the Word.” Why? As we can tell others who we are by our words, God has told us who he is by the Word, Jesus—God in human flesh.


We Have Seen His Glory

John writes, “We have seen his glory.” “Glory” in this context means brightness, splendour, or greatness. “Glory” is used this way when it’s said, “Let’s plug the lights in and see the Christmas tree in all its glory.” John wants us to think of the experiences of the Moses and the Israelites in the wilderness (found in the book of Exodus). On Mount Sinai, Moses said to God, “Please show me your glory” (Exod. 33:18).

It was God’s plan for his glorious presence to dwell with his people. God told Moses, “Let them make me a sanctuary [i.e., the tabernacle], that I may dwell in their midst” (Exod. 25:8).” After the tabernacle was made, “The glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle” (Exod. 40:34). As God dwelt with the Israelites in the wilderness, John says that the Word “dwelt (skenoo) among us.” A more literal translation skenoo is “pitched his tent” or “tabernacled.” As the Israelites saw the glory of God when God dwelt among them, John and the other apostles saw the glory of God when Jesus dwelt among them. “We have seen his glory.” How did they see the glory of God?


The Glory of the Cross

Jesus once said, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified” (John 12:23). How would he be glorified? Jesus also said, “And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people [i.e., all kinds of people] to myself” (John 12:32). John adds, “He said this to show by what kind of death he was going to die” (v. 33).

When Jesus was crucified, he was literally “lifted up.” Another meaning of “lifted up” is “glorified.” Hundreds of years earlier, the prophet Isaiah foretold that the servant of the Lord (i.e., Jesus) would be “lifted up”: “Behold, my servant shall act wisely; he shall be high and lifted up, and shall be exalted” (Isa. 52:13). The next verse says, “His appearance was so marred, beyond human semblance, and his form beyond that of the children of mankind” (v. 14).

The cross displays for us the glory of God. How? When you go to a funeral for a person who was greatly admired, do you hear much talk about the dead person’s beauty? No. Usually the characteristics that are most praised are the person’s humility, generosity, kindness, and sacrificial love. Those are the characteristics that we see when we look at the cross (if we believe that Jesus is God in human flesh). That’s how we see the glory of God in the cross. That’s how John saw the glory of God in Jesus.


Do They See the Glory of God in Us?

Do our lives bring glory to God? “Your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you” (1 Cor. 6:19). “So glorify God in your body” (v. 20) How can our lives bring glory to God? Be like Jesus.

Monday, December 4, 2017

God With Us

Part 1 of God Incarnate

Text: John 1:1, 14a




In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God…. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us (John 1:1, 14a). 


Who Was Jesus?

Most people know that Christmas is a celebration of the birth of Jesus. But who was Jesus? There isn’t a more important question than this one. How often do we stop to think about the identity of the baby in the manger? The Gospel of John begins with an amazing claim about Jesus: Jesus was none other than God in human flesh! The baby in the manger was none other than God in human flesh!


The Word Became Flesh

“The Word” is Jesus. In verses 1 and 14, John says five things about Jesus.
  1. Jesus “was in the beginning.” The Gospel of John begins at the beginning. Before the uni-verse existed, Jesus existed. 
  2. Jesus “was with God.” This means that Jesus enjoyed a relationship with God. 
  3. Jesus “was God.” He is not a god; he is God. How can Jesus be with God and also be God? Though there is only one God, God exists as three distinct persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Jesus is God (the Son), and was “with” the Father and the Spirit. 
  4. Jesus “became flesh.” Jesus was not always human. He became human when we was miraculously conceived in the womb of the virgin Mary. Jesus in God incarnate (i.e., God in human flesh). 
  5. Jesus “dwelt among us.” Joseph was told that Mary’s baby boy would be called Immanuel, which means, “God with us” (Matt. 1:23). 
Why is Jesus called the Word? Think about why we use words. We use words to express ourselves (i.e., reveal to people who were are). When someone says to us, “Tell me about yourself,” we use words to reveal who we are. We also use words to get things done. If we’re eating at a table with others, and we can’t reach the pepper, we use words to get the pepper: “Please pass me the pepper.” When Jesus, the Word, lived among us, he revealed to us who God is and accomplished for us what we most needed. In the words of Linus van Pelt, “That’s what Christmas is all about.”