Summary: “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth” John 1:14.
Theme: He pitched His tent among us
Every beginning is a time of great expectations and we all have expectations for the year 2004 on this first Sunday of the year. Although our expectations for the year are important God’s expectations for the year are definitely more important. God’s expectation for humanity has since the sin of Adam and Eve always been to restore fallen mankind so that they could fulfil His divine Will and purpose. In the dictionary, ‘to restore’ means ‘to bring back to a former or original condition.’ When something is restored in the Scriptures, however, it is always increased, multiplied or improved so that its latter state is significantly better than its original state. When, for example, God restored Job after the terrible trials he endured, He gave him twice what he had lost and blessed him more in his latter days than in the beginning. The beginning of man’s restoration began as soon as Adam sinned. It began when Adam and Eve, created in God’s own image and likeness, decided to control their own lives and do things their own way. They therefore became separated from God, their life source. As man tried the work of his own hands to make coverings for his nakedness, God provided clothing made from animal skin. This clearly revealed God’s plan of redemption and restoration for fallen man. That first sacrifice, providing clothing, pointed toward the ultimate sacrificial Lamb of God, Jesus Christ Himself. It was for our redemption and restoration that the Word became flesh - that He left His home in glory and pitched His tent among us.
Jesus became a man to experience human nature and to reveal God to humanity. Adam and Eve had an intimate relationship with God when they reflected His image and likeness but sin marred God’s image and likeness in man. This gave them a false idea of who God is and therefore made fellowship with Him impossible. The right opinion or revelation of God was crucial for the restoration of men and women as this is necessary if we are to have a relationship with Him. To restore fellowship with God Christ revealed God’s true nature. As is the case in every relationship He revealed His name, His family and His work. His name is “the Word”. Before every word is spoken it is preceded by a thought so the “Word” really means thought expressed in speech, a Spoken thought. This is what the Word came to do on earth. He came to put into words God’s thoughts towards men and women. Who could put God’s thought into words if not God himself? Only Christ could do this because He had always existed as the Son of God with the Father in heaven.
In the past God spoke to our forefathers through various ways. He used the prophets; He used angels, burning bushes, a giant fish and signs in the heavens. On one occasion He even used a donkey. Today He speaks to us through His Son, Jesus Christ. God the Father sent His only Son into the world to bridge the communication gap that separated us from Him in order that the relationship which sin had destroyed might be restored. In order to have a relationship both parties need to know each other. God knows us but unfortunately we cannot know Him because of sin. Sin keeps separates us from God and without spending enough time with Him we will not be able to know Him intimately. In spite of the devastating effects of sin God went to great lengths to restore us so that we can fellowship with Him but we often fail to avail ourselves of His provision. According to the author of Hebrews Jesus Christ became our sacrifice ‘for by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified’. Perfected and forever speak of a sacrifice that comprehends every human need and its effects extend throughout time and into eternity. God became one of us to be able to speak to us in a way that we could understand. He came to reveal God so that our relationship with Him could be restored. This is enough reason for us to value all He has to say and treat Him with every respect and reverence. Enough reason for us to spend time with Him and make every effort to understand what He is saying to us about how we should live.
Jesus Christ, “the Word” became flesh not only to reveal God to us but also to reveal how God intended man to live. Man was created to live a life of physical and spiritual wholeness. Jesus Christ was able to live this life because He was constantly in contact with His Father and ‘the ruler of this world had nothing in Him’. This kept Him from sin and although Jesus was tempted in all ways as we were yet He did not sin. The result was that He enjoyed physical and spiritual wholeness. The only time Christ was afflicted both physically and spiritually was when He took our sins and infirmities upon Himself to pay the penalty for our sin. God’s desire for us is physical and spiritual wholeness and ‘Jesus came that we might have life and that we might have it more abundantly’.