I hope everyone had a great Christmas and got to spend some time with their families. I wanted to delve into the idea of Christ’s advent some more. Last time we looked at the miracle of the virgin birth and its significance but what about Christ coming in the flesh and the significance that brings.
In John chapter 1 verses 14-18 we find this,
“And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth. John *testified about Him and cried out, saying, “This was He of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me has a higher rank than I, for He existed before me.’” For of His fullness we have all received, and grace upon grace. For the Law was given through Moses; grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ. No one has seen God at any time; the only begotten God who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him.” John 1:14-18
First of all we have to look at the definition of “the word” in this passage. We know from the context that “the word” means Jesus Christ. “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God.” (John 1:1) That simple statement equates Christ with God and gives us an understand that He and the Father are one. As we believe in a triune God-head (that is one God with three person in one likeness and mind), we find that Christ was there with God at the beginning of time before anything we know today was created. This is a crucial thing to understand as we look at this particular passage.
How does God speak to us? Through His word. Right? Now most of us assume that this exclusively means the Bible. You’d be wrong. God sent His son, that is THE WORD, that we may see Him in human form. Jesus was a living breathing being that embodied the word of God. In verse 14 we see that the Word became flesh. The original definition of flesh in this instance means “God with skin on.” You see there are many misconceptions about who Christ was. We hear such things as He was a good teacher, a prophet, one who was enlightened to the highest degree, a person who exemplified Godly attributes. While these are all true they are still fallacies. You see Christ was more than mere man. Man didn’t become God and just show us the way to God, no. God literally came down into our flesh, fully God, fully man. He took on our bodily form and showed us who He was because without flesh we would not be able to understand the fullness of God “for no man has seen God at anytime.” In verse 15 it reiterates John the baptist’s message of one who was greater, one who existed before. This is the Christ.
Verse 16 says “His fullness we have all received, and grace upon grace.” This was more than a mere appearance of God. God has a plan and Jesus coming in the flesh had a specific reason. It is through the life of Christ that we have come to know God for who He is. Christ exemplified the father and showed us the character of God himself. John 10:30 quotes Jesus as saying, “I and the father are one,” and in John 14:9 Jesus tells Phillip, “Anyone who has seen me has seen the father.” It is in the fleshly life of Christ that we have come to know the father and we have received the fullness of the gift of God through his coming. In Christ death, burial, and resurrection he has defeated sin and given us grace upon grace. But what does that statement of grace mean?
Verse 17 says that, “the law was given through moses and that grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ.” The law was given as a way to show mankind that we are at fault. The law reveals the desires of God for our life and how we should conduct ourselves. The law is rigid and cannot be broken without consequence even today. The only way to God is by sacrifice and atonement. However since the coming of Jesus we have a shift in the laws of grace. It is no longer obtained through observance of the law. The law still exist and is good but we now have grace upon grace. When we mess up, when we fail to meet God’s standards, we can still find forgiveness and salvation through Jesus Christ who was the ultimate atonement for our sins. He became sin and died in our place that we may be set free. This is the gospel, THE GOOD NEWS! Though we have not seen God, we have seen the explanation of God through Jesus. God with skin on.
As we reflect on the now past Christmas holiday, take time to think about how you’ve messed up and how you can receive grace upon grace through the fullness of Christ in the flesh. He paid the price so that you wouldn’t have to. Look to the example that Jesus set for us and model a lifestyle of submission to the father. This is truly an awesome event and one that can impact our lives forever if we let it.