John 1:14, “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us and we saw His glory.”
As a child I much anticipated Christmas day. But I was excited about Christmas for all the wrong reasons. What is the true meaning of Christmas? Who is the baby Jesus? Why was He born? Why do we celebrate this day called Christmas?
Each gospel gives us a different perspective (vantage point) with regards to the birth of Christ. Matthew speaks to us of the birth of the King and the wise men came to pay homage to Him. Mark speaks of Jesus as a Servant and therefore gives us no account of the details of Jesus’ birth. Luke speaks of Jesus as a perfect man and gives us the account of the shepherds who were privileged to see the newborn babe. John speaks of Jesus as the Divine Son of God so, like Mark, it doesn’t give us the details of Jesus’ birth. But instead it records one of the most profound of statements regarding the truth of the incarnation. We find it in verse 14. In this verse we read of the Deity, Humanity, and Glory of the person of Jesus Christ.
I. His Divinity
1. “The word became flesh.”
2. The “word” (Greek “logos”) = “the personal manifestation, not of a part of the divine nature, but of the whole manifestation.” As used of Jesus it speaks to the revelation of God Himself in the person of Jesus Christ (1:18).
3. Important truths about Him are revealed to us in John 1:1-3:
- He is eternal (1:1).
- He is a distinct person from the Father but one with Him (1:1).
- He is very God (1:1). Indeed, the entirety of the book of John was written for the express purpose of communicating this important truth (20:30-31). His miracles testified to His true identity. In His “I Am” statements He declared Himself to be the Divine Son of God. All that He said and did authenticated His Divine identity.
He is the creator of all things (1:3). This same truth is affirmed in Colossians chapter 1 and Hebrews chapter 1. In fact, in Colossians chapter 1 it tells us that all things were created by Him, through Him, and for Him.
- He is the source of all spiritual life and light (1:4). This theme is also reiterated throughout the gospel of John. He is the bread of life. He is the way, the truth, and the life. He is the resurrection and the life. Life comes by believing in Him. He is the sole means by which we can receive eternal and abundant life.
4. This is the starting point and the foundation for a correct understanding of the meaning of Christmas. Who is the baby Jesus? Where did He come from? What is His identity? A part of the answer to that question is that He is the eternal Son of God. You cannot understand the true meaning of Christmas without laying hold of this important truth.
- John 17:4-5, “I glorified Thee on the earth, having accomplished the work which Thou hast given Me to do. And now glorify Thou Me together with Thyself, Father, with the glory which I had with Thee before the world was.”
- 2 Corinthians 8:9, “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich.”
- Philippians 2:6-7, “Although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself.”
“Thou didst leave Thy throne and Thy kingly crown
When Thou camest to earth for me.
II. His Humanity
1. “The Word became flesh”
2. KJV, “The Word was made flesh.”
3. Here we enter into a matter of great mystery, a truth that stretches the limitations of our finite minds. Jesus is fully God and fully man.
- Martin Luther, “The mystery of the humanity of Christ, that He sunk Himself into our flesh, is beyond all human understanding.
- 1 Timothy 3:15, “And by common confession great is the mystery of godliness: He who was revealed in the flesh, was vindicated in the Spirit…”
4. “Flesh” here represents the fullness of human nature. He was made a man. How did it happen?
- Matthew 1:20, “Do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for that which has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit.”
- Galatians 4:4-5, “But when the fullness of time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, in order that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.
- The baby Jesus, the Divine Son of God, born as a man—fully God and fully man—was given the name “Immanuel.” Matt. 1:23, “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and shall bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel, which translated means, ‘God with us.’”
5. “He dwelt among us.” The Greek term means literally “tabernacled.” It reminds us of the OT tabernacle. It was symbolic and prototypical of the Lord Jesus. It was the dwelling place of the Shekinah Glory. It radiated from that place. It moved from place to place with the Jews. In becoming flesh God Himself came to earth and dwelt among men. God’s glory radiated from His person, just like the Shekinah Glory in the OT tabernacle.
6. This is at the heart of the Christmas message. That God would enter into the darkness of this world. That He would so humble Himself and stoop so low in love to save us. Behold the wonder of it all. Think of it. The King of Kings and Lord of Lords so humbled Himself that He was willing to enter into this sin darkened world:
- He was born in humble circumstances and had a manger for a feeding trough.
- He had earthly parents and willingly subjected Himself to them.
- He observed the Laws that He Himself had written.
- He hungered, thirsted, experienced pain, wept, became weary—as a man He experienced all that we experience as humans.
- As a man He was subjected to hatred and enmity and abuse by those He Himself had created.
”From heavn’s You came, helpless Babe,
Enter’d our world, Your glory veiled;
Not to be served, but to serve,
And give Your life that we might live.
This is our God, the Servant King!”
7. This truth begs the question “Why?” Why was the Word made to be flesh? What was God’s purpose in it all?
- He was made a man that He might save sinners. 1 Tim. 1:15, “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.” Jesus cares.
- He was made a man that He might sympathize with us. Heb. 4:15, “For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.” Jesus knows.
- He was made a man that He might be an example to us. 1 John 2:6, “The one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked.” We are repeated exhorted to follow the example of Jesus. To imitate Him. To have the mind of Christ. To walk in love just as He loved. To forgive just as He forgave. To follow “in His steps.” Fix your eyes on Jesus.
III. His Glory
1. “We beheld His glory.”
2. We saw Him and were witness to His glory.
3. What is the meaning of His “glory?” His nature. His character. But also His manifest glory as in His transfiguration. Peter wrote of that experience: “We were eyewitnesses of His majesty” (2 Pet. 1:16).
4. In his manhood Jesus remained the Divine Son of God, but His true nature was veiled in His humanity and humility.
“Veiled in flesh the Godhead see;
Hail the incarnate Deity,
Pleased as man with men to dwell,
Jesus our Emmanuel.”
5. What is John saying? We beheld His glory which authenticated His identity as the Divine Son of God. We beheld His glory in His character—full of grace and truth. We beheld His glory in His miracles. We beheld His glory in His transfiguration when His garments became radiant and exceeding white. We beheld His glory in His willing death on the cross, His resurrection from the dead, and His ascension into heaven. John beheld His glory when Jesus appeared to Him on the isle of Patmos. John beheld His glory and in beholding his life was swallowed up in Christ. Jesus Christ saved him and transformed him. Such was John’s love for the glorious Lord Jesus that he gave his life to the preaching of the gospel of Christ. He willingly suffered persecution for the sake of that message. Nothing in all of God’s creation is more beautiful than the person of Jesus Christ. He is altogether deserving of our hearts affection, our life’s devotion, and our hope and earnest anticipation in His return.
6. What has any of this to do with you and me? The Christmas message is a message that speaks to the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ. He is not just a babe in the manger, He is a glorious Savior and Lord.
- Behold His glory. He has shared in the Father’s glory from all eternity (John 17:5).
- Behold His glory. What happens when a person is saved? Their eyes are opened to the glory (the beauty) of the person of Jesus Christ. 2 Cor. 4:6, “For God, who said, ‘Light shall shine out of darkness,’ is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.”
- Behold His glory. It is the work of the Spirit of God to ongoingly reveal the glory of the Lord Jesus to those who have trusted in Jesus. He is at work in that ministry. 2 Cor. 3:18, “But we all, with unveiled face beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.”
- Behold His glory. There will come a day when Jesus will return. In His first coming He came as a babe in a manger. He came in humility. He came to serve. He came to die—to give His life a ransom for sins. He is coming again. Not as a babe in manger, but as a King to reign. And in His coming He will be revealed to us in all His glory. 2 Thess. 1:10, He will be “marveled at among all who have believed.” We shall behold Him:
“The sky shall unfold, preparing His entrance;
The stars shall applaud Him with thunders of praise.
The sweet light of His eyes shall enhance those awaiting;
And we shall behold Him then face to face.
And we shall behold Him,
We shall behold Him
Face to face in all of His glory.
O we shall behold Him,
We shall behold Him, Face to face,
Our Savior and Lord.”
1. So here we have the message of Christmas. The divine Son of God became man that He might die on a cross and rise again to save lost sinners and transform rebels into worshippers. That we might one day behold Him in all of His glory and spend all of eternity in His presence in a place where righteousness dwells.
2. Even now He would have us to behold His glory. The Holy Spirit has a ministry of opening our eyes to the glory of the person and work of Christ. I have a prayer request for myself and for every one of us this Christmas. It is a prayer that the Holy Spirit might open our eyes that we might awestruck and captivated by the glory of the person of Jesus Christ.
3. No one can fully appreciated the meaning of Christmas until they have trusted in Jesus for salvation. Have you trusted in Him?
- We are all born sinners.
- In sin we are deserving of death.
- We have spoken this morning of the great lengths God has gone to accomplish your salvation. He gave His Son—what more could He do?
- Salvation is by grace through faith in Christ and His finished work on the cross. Won’t you trust in Him this day?