1In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2He was in the beginning with God. 3All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. 4In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. 5The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it… 9the true Light, which was coming into the world, enlightens every man. 10He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. 11He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him. 12But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name,13who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. 14And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth… 16For of His fullness we have all received, and grace upon grace. 17For the Law was given through Moses, grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ. 18No one has seen God at any time; the only begotten God who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him.
John 1:1-5, 9-14, 16-18
Of all the accounts of the incarnation of our Lord (God becoming man), this is by far my favorite. I know it lacks the tradition of the passages in Matthew and Luke, and it would not exactly make for an interesting Christmas pageant. There are no shepherds, no wise men, no Mary, no Joseph, and no manger. But what this passage does contain are the most important elements of Christmas, the things that really, truly, eternally matter for us as we remember the Christmas story. There is much that can be said in regards to this passage, but I have highlighted thee points that make this passage such a beautiful reminder of Christmas to me:
- Jesus is God – This passage is, in many ways, a defense of the Divine nature of Christ. We are told in verse 14 that the “Word” became flesh and lived as a human. And, as a human, Jesus displayed for us the glory of the Father, as only the “Begotten” could do. Jesus is the perfect, physical, visible image of the invisible God. He was with God (vs. 1), He was God (vs. 1), He has always been with God (vs. 2), He is still is God (vs. 18), He is still with God (vs. 18), He has made God visible to us in the flesh (vs. 14, 18), He is the creator (vs. 3), He very nature, fullness, dispenses all truth and unending grace (vs. 14 & 15).
- God became man – This passage is also an argument for the human nature of Jesus. The creator God of the universe chose to dispense His grace to undeserving sinners by condescending to us in the physical form of a man. This is what “and the word became flesh” means. The Father and Son loved us so much that they stepped into time in order to provide a means for their eternally sustaining grace to be made available to those who deserve death. Jesus was born of woman, like we all were. He ate, drank, laughed, cried, lived, bled, and died in the same way we do, except that His life was sinless and without fault. His life warranted the reward of existing eternally with the Father, but He died the death that we deserved to die, cursed and separated from God. His life was the life we couldn’t live, and His death was the death we should have died. He was born in flesh to die that our flesh might die, and He rose to life that we might also live.
- We are God’s children – When we receive by faith the grace upon grace that Jesus provided through his incarnation, crucifixion, and resurrection, which is what it means to “believe in his name” (vs. 12) we are given the promise of adoption into the family of God! Jesus, the eternal Son of God, became a mortal Son of Man that we, mortal sons of man, might become eternal sons of God! We are heirs with Christ. We are prodigals returned and restored. We are enemies now called children. We call God our Father! See what kind of love the Father has given to us that we might be called children of God! (1 John 3:1)
This Christmas season, dwell on the mystery of God becoming a man. Exult in the perfect image of God shown to us in Christ. Rejoice in the promise of adoption as sons made possible by the Son of God becoming a Son of Man. Marvel at the love of Jesus who is our God, Creator, Savior, Lord and King. Tell the wonderful story of Christmas in light of the reality that He came to die and by His blood, ransom people from every tribe, nation, people, and tongue. The true message of Christmas IS a message of hope, hope that sinners and enemies of God may become His beloved children by the incarnation, crucifixion, and resurrection of His Beloved Son.