The Word Became Flesh

Imagine living in a world without communication of any kind. No words to write or speak. No meaningful gestures or facial expressions to communicate thoughts from one person to another. Would you genuinely be able to know anyone with no way for them to communicate their thoughts, feelings, ideals and values to you in a meaningful way? In God’s infinite wisdom, this isn’t the world He created for us. We are able to communicate our inner-most thoughts from one person to another. At the base level of communication are words. We might speak or write them, or use signs with our hands to communicate information from our minds to others. We can think of communication as being the bridge that allows information to be exchanged between people through a common system of symbols, signs or behavior. These words and the varied means of communicating them are central to the human experience.

We have many tools that we use to communicate with others. Smoke signals and Morse code are tools that have been used to communicate. We have phones, texting, and email. Without communication, there would be no way for us to truly know another person as it is through communication that we gain insight into their mind to learn who they are, what they value, as well as what pleases and displeases them. I can remember when my wife and I were first getting to know one another in the winter of 1996, we spent a great deal of time communicating. I wanted to get to know her, so we would spend our time together talking. When we weren’t able to speak face-to-face, we’d talk on the phone for hours. It was through these means of communication that we were able to learn who the other person was. Words are the building blocks of communication and it is with this in mind that we will be looking at Jesus as the Word of God. “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).

The book of Hebrews begins with, “Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days He has spoken to us by His Son, whom He appointed the heir of all things, through whom also He created the world.” So what does it mean to say that Jesus is the Word of God? We are to understand this to mean that Jesus Christ is the one who communicates the mind of God to mankind. Without Christ to communicate the mind of God, we would have no ability to know Him. It is Jesus who makes Him known. At the end of Hebrews 1:2 that is quoted above, we are told that Christ is the agent of creation. Creation communicates to us the mind of God in a general sense. We can look at the beauty of the trees, the mountains, the rivers and streams, the birds of the air and the creatures under the surface of the water and learn about who God is. We continue to learn how vast the universe is. With every new star, planet or black hole that God allows us to see, we learn about who He is. There is also a very specific way that Jesus has made God known to mankind. In the fullness of time, God sent forth His Son to be born of a woman (Galatians 4:4)—the infinite deity of Christ stuffed into the body of a human baby. The Lord Jesus came to dwell among His creation to make God known to us. In the same way that a person’s words reveal their nature and character, Jesus (as the Word of God) makes God known to man.

At the beginning of John’s gospel, the divine nature of Jesus is clearly communicated, and it makes sense that divinity would be required to make the divine known. In the beginning (referencing the eternal nature of Christ in this case) was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God (John 1:1). Jesus, the very Word of God, is eternal in His being and He is the person of the trinity whose role it is to make manifest the mind of the Father. In the High Priestly Prayer of Christ, Jesus prays, “I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known” (John 17:26a). Through what Jesus does and says—through what is recorded for us in Scripture—we can know God because Jesus always does the will of the Father (John 8:29) and He speaks the words that the Father gave Him to speak (John 12:49). Communication is taking what is hidden in the mind and making it manifest through words and behavior. Jesus Christ is the Word of God in that He only speaks and acts according to the will of God (John 6:38).

As the Word of God, Jesus came into the world to communicate a message from God to mankind. Many understand Jesus’ ministry on the earth as, primarily, one of miracles—healing the sick and the lame, giving sight to the blind, feeding thousands of people, and raising the dead. When we become fixated on the miraculous—which are signs intended to verify His message—we become like those following Jesus around looking for the next miracle (John 6:30) while forgetting that his ministry was primarily a teaching ministry (Matthew 4:17). He came to communicate to mankind the nature of God specifically in regard to the redemption of man from their enslavement to sin. That is Christ’s focus and ought to be our focus as well rather than just looking for experiences or miracles. The message that Christ came to communicate to men about God is that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all (1 John 1:5). The very nature of God is that He always does, thinks and is motivated to act in such a way that is for the highest possible purpose—the glory of His own name. This is not the case for fallen man who is in need of deliverance. The question becomes, how can sinful man be reconciled to Holy God? What is the greatest need of those who are dead in their sin? Life.

Through the teaching ministry of Christ, He put Himself at the center of all things by declaring, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). Jesus made other “I AM” statements that John records in his gospel that also speak to the centrality of Christ. I am the bread of life (6:35), the light of the world (8:12), the door (10:7), the good shepherd (10:11, 14), the resurrection and the life (11:25), and the vine (15:1). We can know with all confidence that this is the mind of the one true God because Jesus—the Word of God—has revealed it (John 7:16). Logically, if Jesus always and only said and did the will of the Father and He declared Himself to be the only way to know the Father, then we can deduce that this is what God the Father had given for the Son to communicate to mankind about Himself. Because He is light and in Him is no darkness at all, mankind needs a redeemer to be the light and to give life. Jesus consistently put Himself at the center as He reveals the mind of God to mankind. There is only one way to know God, and that is by the means of the Word of God who makes Him known—through Christ alone.

Perhaps you’ve heard people say that God is at the top of the mountain and all of the religious systems of the world are just different ways that man gets to God. There are many paths up the mountain and no one path is superior to another—they all lead to the same destination. This is, of course, a deception. If Christ is rejected as the Word of God, then God Himself is rejected (1 John 2:22-25). We aren’t on the same mountain if the One true God has communicated to us that Jesus is the only way for man to know God, yet you and your religious system reject this truth. What these other religions have done is created idols—gods that are figments of human imagination. These idols say there are different ways to know God. They say you can know God through “prophets” who contradict Jesus—the One who makes Him known. Joseph Smith (Mormanism) is a liar and a false prophet. It is the same with Muhammad (Islam), Roman Catholicism, Buddhism, Hinduism and Jehovah’s Witness. Since modern Judaism has rejected the One who makes God known, they are also worshipping a false god. These are all thieves and robbers who are trying to gain entry another way (John 10:8). They have all gone after idols like mankind has done throughout human history. There is a reason it is called Christianity: Christ is at the center of all things. He is the only One who makes God known to man (John 17:6) through giving them the words that the Father had given to Him (John 17:8).

What must we do with the Word of God? We must receive this Word of God gladly and believe by faith. Jesus, the promised redeemer from Genesis 3:15, has come into the world clothed in human flesh to walk among His creation and to make God known to man. But as John 1:10-11 says, although Christ came into the world that He created to make the mind and nature of God known to men, they did not know Him or receive Him. The world has rejected Christ, and in so doing, they reject the One true God who sent Him to make Him known to them. When Jesus says repent and believe in Me, in pride and hardness of heart, the world creates idols to worship instead of worshiping the One true God, made manifest in Christ, in spirit and in truth (John 4:24).

This Christmas season, the world continues to declare their independence from and their rejection of God. This is the time of year that Christians celebrate the first coming of Christ when He came into the world for the purpose of communicating to man the mind, nature, intention and will of God. Here is my question: where is your focus? Are you getting swept away in the tradition, the lights, the gifts, Hallmark Christmas movies, the decorations, the ugly sweaters, family get-togethers, the elf on the shelf, Santa Claus and his toy-making elves who give gifts to those who have earned them, and all other things that make up “Christmas”? Christmas—as observed in our culture—is essentially a secular holiday as the Word made flesh is rarely even thought of by most who are celebrating. Christ is not the focus. If He is remembered at all, it is a mere tip of the cap as we get excited about all of those things above. Christ has come to dwell with us. He has come to make God known to mankind, and the only way to truly know God is through knowing Christ. So, this Christmas (as well as the other 364 days of the year), I urge you to behold the glory of Christ—His person and the message of His ministry—as the One who has come to make God known to us.

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