God Becomes Man

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2He was in the beginning with God. 3All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. 4In him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
John 1:1-5 (ESV)

When you first read this passage, it may look confusing. For example, what is the Apostle John talking about when he writes, “In the beginning…”? In the beginning of what? And, what is “the Word” and why is it capitalized?

Try reading the same verses with this slight change:

In the beginning was [Jesus], and [Jesus] was with God, and [Jesus] was God. 2He was in the beginning with God. 3All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. 4In him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
John 1:1-5 (ESV)

Does this make a little more sense? The “Word” that John speaks of in these verses is actually referring to Jesus. In these verses we read that Jesus has always existed with God, and not only has Jesus always existed, but also He created all that there is – visible and invisible, worldly and spiritual.

Take a moment and think about Jesus always being existent with God, even before the creation of the world. God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit existed in perfect relationship with one another. In light of this, does this knowledge change how you think of the creation event? Did you know that Jesus was actively involved in creation or is this the first time you’ve heard about His involvement?

In verse 4 we read that Jesus is life, meaning not only is He the creator of life, but also He is the sustainer of it. Ultimately, we cannot live apart from Jesus. The blood that rushes through our veins, the air that fills our lungs, the sweat that beads on our brows, and the nerves that pulse throughout our body is because of His sustaining grace. Take a moment and thank Him for the very life you are living right now.

One cannot turn on the evening news without realizing the dark reality in which we live. But John writes that Jesus is the light to this presently dark world. He is the One who brings true knowledge, purity, and the very presence of God. Any good thing that we have or experience in ourselves or others is from Him because He is the source of those good gifts. Think deeply of your view of God and Jesus. Do you see them in different ways? Why or why not? Do you believe that they both exude goodness? Why or why not?

There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him. 8He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light.
John 1:6-8 (ESV)

The Apostle John is writing about John the Baptist who was born to Zechariah and Elizabeth (cousin of Mary, Jesus’ mother). Before Elizabeth was pregnant with John, an angel of the Lord appeared to Zechariah and told him that he would bear a son, and should name him John. The angel told Zechariah that John would be great before the Lord, that He would turn many children of Israel toward the Lord, and He would prepare the way for the Messiah, but John was not the Messiah that the Old Testament prophets spoke. John was simply preparing people for when the true Messiah, Jesus, was to come to earth.
The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. 10He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. 11He  came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. 12But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, 13who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.
John 1:9-13 (ESV)
Again, Jesus is the true light – the source of good and all that’s right in the world. He gives light to every man, shedding light on our sin, and our need of salvation.

Jesus moves from heaven to earth to dwell among His people. At the pinnacle of His creation is mankind, for mankind is most like God than any other created thing.  When Jesus, in the form of a man, came to the earth He created, humanity had no awareness of who He was or the significance of His presence. For those of you who may be mothers, try to think of this in light of your motherhood – you carry your child for nine months, care and nurture for your child, but your child does not recognize you as their mother, the very person who conceived and carried you. Your child does not recognize your voice, your touch, or your love. How devastating…how discouraging…how heartbreaking! Can you think of a time when you failed to recognize Jesus because of your sin or the distractions around you?

Although many did not recognize Jesus as God in the flesh, there were some who did. The word “receive” in the verses above do not just mean to intellectually agree with facts about Jesus, but to really receive Him is to welcome Him and be fully submitted to Him through a personal relationship.
In other words, where it says in verse 12 “believed in His name” means to personally trust Him and all that is true about Him.

A gift may be held out to you, but if you don’t see it or if you do see it but do not accept it as real, you won’t stretch out your hand to take it. Believing in Jesus involves seeing Him presented as God’s only Son, accepting that description as real, and simply stretching out your hand to accept God’s gift of eternal life through Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross. You then become a child of God.

Have you welcomed Jesus into your life? Are you fully committed to Him, submitting and surrendering all areas of your life to Him? Take a moment in prayer and search your heart. Ask God if there is anything you are holding back from Him. According to verse 12, all who trust and believe in Him are children of God. If you have placed your faith and trust in Jesus for salvation, take a moment and let that sink in – you are a daughter of the Most High God!
And the Word [there’s Jesus, again!] 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.’”) 16For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. 17For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known.
John 1:14-18 (ESV)
Jesus “becoming flesh” (or, in other words, man) does not mean that He stopped being God. Rather He took on human form, leaving His throne in heaven while still maintaining His divine nature. One reason He became man was to be able to identify with us as human. Other religions have gods that expect people to pursue them through high demands and duties; the God of the Bible goes through great lengths to pursue you and me. This is how much He loves us!

In the Old testament God dwelled with his people in the tabernacle and temple. Now we read in the New Testament that God takes up residence among His people in the human form of Jesus, and now today through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in the people of God.

Jesus is referred to as the “son of God.” This phrase is not implying that Jesus is a created son or born of God, but a son who is the exact representation of God the Father. If we want to know who God is, all we need to do is look at the life and ministry of Jesus. As we read about Jesus in the following pages of John’s gospel, he is teaching us who God is through Jesus. Jesus is the spoken word. He is the living expression of all that God ever sought to communicate about himself.

In closing:
  • Read John 1:1-18 again straight through. Do you have a greater understanding of the text? We hope so!
  • Close in prayer. Ask God to allow these truths of who He is and who Jesus is to renew you and encourage you.
  • Listen to the theme song for the week and use it to worship Him.  It’s called What A Beautiful Name by Hillsong Worship. Click here.