Summary: Jesus reveals God to us.
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“The Word” (Greek: logos) = Jesus
1. God cannot be SEEN (v. 18a).
“Then Moses said, ‘Now show me your glory.’ And the Lord said, ‘I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim my name, the Lord, in your presence…. But,’ he said, ‘you cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live’” (Exodus 33:18, 20).
Moses received a glimpse of God’s “back” (33:23). It was a partial revelation of God’s glory.
2. God became HUMAN (v. 14a).
“The Lord said to Moses, ‘Chisel out two stone tablets like the first ones, and I will write on them the words that were on the first tablets, which you broke’” (Exodus 34:1).
Before Jesus was born in Bethlehem, He lived:
• John testifies concerning him. He cries out, saying, ‘This was he of whom I said, “He who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me”’” (v. 15).
• “And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6b).
• “But you, Bethlehem of Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times [or, from days of eternity]” (Micah 5:2).
“Dwelt” = “to set up a TENT.” God once dwelt among men in a tent (Exodus 33:9-11); now He has dwelt among us in a human body.
“As Moses went into the tent, the pillar of cloud would come down and stay at the entrance, while the Lord spoke with Moses…. The Lord would speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks with his friend” (Exodus 33:9, 11a).
Jesus is fully GOD and fully MAN.
“All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: ‘The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel’—which means, ‘God with us’” (Matthew 1:22-23).
3. God made Himself KNOWN (v. 14b, 18b).
As our words reveal who we are, so “the Word” (Jesus) reveals who God is.
In the NIV, verse 18 describes Jesus as “God the One and Only.”
Jesus “is at the Father’s side” (v. 18). The KJV says “in the bosom of the Father.” Literally, John says that Jesus is “in the Father’s lap.” This expression is used elsewhere in the NT: (1) the beggar “was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom” (Luke 16:22 KJV); (2) “there was leaning on Jesus’ bosom one of his disciples, whom Jesus loved” (John 13:23 KJV). This expression brings out the closeness between the Father and the Son.
Jesus “has made [the Father] known” (v. 18). The KJV says “hath declared him.” This means that Jesus has given us a full account of the Father. God is as Jesus revealed Him.
Verse 18b is similar to verse 1:
• “In the bosom of the Father” is parallel to “with God”;
• “God the One and Only” is parallel to “was God”;
• “Has made him known” is parallel to “the Word” (God’s self-expression).
As “the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle” (Exodus 40:35b), so His glory filled the body of Jesus.
How did people see God’s glory through Jesus? The glory could only be seen with the “eye” of faith:
• Through His MIRACLES
“This, the first of his miraculous signs, Jesus performed at Cana in Galilee. He thus revealed his glory, and his disciples put their faith in him” (John 2:11; cf. 11:4, 40).
• Through His CRUCIFIXION and RESURRECTION
“Jesus replied, ‘The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds’” (John 12:23-24; cf. 13:31).
God told Moses that He is a God of “grace and truth” (Exodus 34:5-7), but now God has shown us through Jesus.
“Then the Lord came down in the cloud and stood there with [Moses] and proclaimed his name, the Lord. And he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, ‘The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin” (Exodus 34:5-7).