THE INCARNATION OF THE WORD
1. THE WORD BECAME FLESH
Having established the connection between faith and being “born again” (John 1:12-13), the Apostle John now explains how that has been made possible. It took nothing less than the incarnation of God Himself (John 1:1). We can sense John’s awe, both here and in the covering letter (1 John 1:1-3).
The word “flesh” hints at vulnerability, the potential for suffering and death. In another context it is used negatively to represent that which is not spirit (Galatians 5:17). The wonder is that it is into the likeness of sinful flesh that God sent His own Son (Romans 8:3), born of a woman (Galatians 4:4), yet without sin (Hebrews 4:15).
He who was before is now coming after (John 1:15). The One who counted it not robbery to be equal with God, humbled Himself, embraced mortality, and died for us (Philippians 2:5-8). He who is the eternal Word of God took upon Himself our mortal flesh, and overcame death on our behalf (Hebrews 2:14).
Rather than man reaching up to God, God reaches down to man in the Person of our Lord Jesus Christ. He became flesh and died for all the sins of all His people. He dwelt among His own people as a real living man: born of a woman, breathing the very air He had created; knowing hunger and thirst, sadness and tiredness, pain, and death.
2. THE WORD DWELT AMONGST US
This was not the first time that God had pitched His tabernacle in the midst of His people. The imagery is of the tent of meeting in the wilderness, the place where the LORD manifested Himself in the days of Moses. The Word who was face to face with God (John 1:1), the only begotten Son of God who is in the bosom of the Father (John 1:18), now took upon Himself frail flesh, gathering our humanity into the Godhead.
3. WE BEHELD HIS GLORY
Almost imperceptibly, the author has moved from declaration to personal testimony. The disciples caught occasional glimpses of the glory of God as they journeyed with our Lord, confirming His Messianic status, Son-ship, and divinity. Three of the disciples, Peter, James and John, were privileged to see Jesus transformed on the mountaintop, where He was revealed in His heavenly glory and conversed with Moses and Elijah (Matthew 17:1-5; 2 Peter 1:17-18).
4. FULL OF GRACE AND TRUTH
This expression comes from the revelation of the glory of the LORD to Moses (Exodus 33:18; Exodus 34:6). Moses gave us the law, but the supreme demonstration of God’s covenant love and faithfulness, grace and truth, is seen in Jesus Christ (John 1:16-17). We are partakers of the grace of the Gospel in the One who has fulfilled the grace of the law (Matthew 5:17).
Moses was reminded that no man shall see the LORD and live (Exodus 33:20). Yet the only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, has made Him known, being Himself the very exegesis of God (John 1:18). When we recognise Jesus for who He is, we also see something of the glory of God (2 Corinthians 4:6).