Summary: John 1:14a. Jesus Christ is the eternal Word of God who became flesh for his own redemptive purpose.
THE WORD BECAME FLESH | BIBLICAL CHRISTOLOGY FOR CHRISTMAS
THE BECOMING – THE WORD BECAME FLESH
- Author and pastor Leith Anderson tells of a time several years ago when he was visiting Manila, the capital city of the Philippines, on a mission trip and was taken, of all places, to the Manila garbage dump. There he saw something beyond belief. Tens of thousands of people were making their homes on that dump site. They had constructed shacks out of the things other people had thrown away. And they would send their children out early every morning to scavenge for food out of other people’s garbage, so they could have family meals. People have been born and grown up there on the garbage dump. They have had their families, their children, their shacks, their garbage to eat, finished out their lives, and died there without ever going anywhere else, even in the city of Manila. It is an astonishing thing. But he also notes that Americans also live on the garbage dump. They are missionaries; Christians who have chosen to leave their own country and communicate the love of Jesus Christ to people who otherwise would never hear it. People who left what they had to go and live on a garbage dump. He writes that it was amazing to him that American Christians would do that – but not as amazing as the journey Jesus Christ made from heaven to earth. That is the ultimate example of riches to rags.
- Over the next few weeks we will be focusing on that riches to rags story. We are going to zoom in on that point in history when the God of the universe became a human being. Our text is going to be John 1:14 and our title, taken from that text, is The Word Became Flesh | Biblical Christology for Christmas. What does that mean? Christology is nothing more than the study of the doctrines of Jesus Christ. Who was Jesus? That’s the simple question that Christology answers.
- There are a lot of conflicting opinions floating around concerning who Jesus was or is, and if he even existed. What I want to do is give us a biblical perspective. We are going to be talking about some great truths; some of them difficult. But we must put our energy into this pursuit. If we must know anything, we must know who Jesus is! And we must know, not simply what our opinion of Jesus is, but who Scripture reveals him to be. Some of you learned these truths long ago, and some of you are just beginning to learn these things and figuring out why they are important. Either way, this Christmas season is the perfect time to sure up your Christology. It’s time to know who Jesus really is.
- And there is perhaps no better place to start than in the Gospel of John. According to the church father Irenaeus (who was a disciple of Polycarp, who in turn was a disciple of the Apostle John), this gospel was written to combat various heresies that were developing which denied either the full humanity or full deity of Jesus. It was written, in essence, to correctly inform us of who Jesus actually is. So we, like those who first read these words at the very end of the first century AD, will look to John for a clear portrait of the authentic Christ. Let’s begin at v.1:
[READ JOHN 1:1-3, 14-18]
- Now what I want to do is start by explaining the vocabulary that John is using here to describe Jesus. Then we will take a very brief look at the first few verses of this prologue; and following that we will dive into v.14. So, the first thing that needs to be noticed about this very important text is this:
[JESUS CHRIST IS THE LIVING WORD OF GOD]
- There is here in the first chapter of John a very important biblical word used. It is a word that every student of the Bible should be familiar with whether or not you know the original languages. It is the Greek word λόγος (logos). It is translated as Word in vv.1 & 14. Verse 1 begins: Ἐν ἀρχῇ ἦν ὁ λόγος (In the beginning was the Word...). This word was one of the most important words in Greek philosophical thought. And John uses it very carefully to open up his work with an attention grabbing description of Jesus of Nazareth. Here is how Richard Phillips explains it for us; try to catch this:
- By using this word (logos), John built a bridge from the Greek philosophical world to the Jewish thought- world of the Bible. One of the earliest Greek philosophers was Heraclitus (sixth century BC). He thought about the fact that things constantly change. His famous illustration was that you can never step twice into the same river; it is never the same, because the water has flowed on. Everything is like that, he said. But if that is true, how can there be order in the world? His answer was the Logos...This was the principle that held everything together in a world of change. There is a purpose and design to the world and events, and this is the Logos.