First Mennonite Church
February 20, 2022
The Word Became Flesh
Text: John 1:1-18
Even if you only do a superficial reading of the Gospel according to John, you will notice it is completely different from the other three Gospels. In the Gospels according to Matthew, Mark, and Luke, also called the “Synoptic Gospels,” Jesus’ ministry consists of only one year in Galilee and he only goes to Judea and Jerusalem once, which leads to his Passion. In contrast, John’s Gospel recounts a three-year ministry, thus, has three Passover feasts (2:13; 6:4; 11:55). This also tells that Jesus went to Jerusalem on three occasions, instead of one according to the synoptic Gospels.
As we go through this series, we will notice some other differences there are in John.
But John’s Gospel does not only differ on its narrative content. It is also different in its theology. That is, John interprets God’s work through Jesus from a different perspective. We will begin to see that as of today, as we begin this series. Let us be reminded once more, that in the matter of theology, each Gospel portrays Jesus from a particular angle for the very purpose of forming a community of believers according to that portrait of Jesus.
For that reason, as we go through this series, I want to invite you to keep in mind Jesus’ words to his disciples, when he said: As the Father has sent, so I send you” (John 20:21). These words highlight the nature of Jesus’ earthly ministry, as someone sent by God the Father. This also becomes the model of Jesus’ commission to his followers. He sends them to make him known in the world. It is very important for us to know that in John, the word “send” appears six times and the word “sent” appears 54 times, most of which are in reference to Jesus. That highlights Jesus’ identity as the one whom God had sent and our identity as the people Jesus is sending into the world. This will be the framework of this series. Jesus is the model for our mission.
So let us begin our journey in the Gospel according to John. I believe it will be an amazing and inspiring journey, where we will see how Jesus reveals God, whom he calls his Father, and consequently, how we should reveal Christ who we confess as Lord and Savior. So, let us begin!
Read John 1:1-18
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. Logos, the Greek word for “word,” was first used by the philosopher Heraclitus (600 BC), to designate the “divine reason or plan to coordinate the changing world.” However, in the Old Testament, word means the creative word of God, present both in creation and given to the prophets to speak. The Word is God’s action, God’s power, and God’s purpose for his people and the world. Thus, John begins by presenting Jesus as the Eternal Word, the Logos. The Word that was in the beginning. The Word that was with God, but even more, the Word that was God. In contrast to Heraclitus, who says that the logos was the divine reason or logic to coordinate the changing world, John affirms that the Word was the means by which “ALL THINGS came into being.” The Word brought everything into being, because “in him was life” and “the life was the light of all people.” In Genesis, the Divine Word is the creative and effective instrument of God’s will. God said: Let there be . . . and there was . . .” (Gen. 1:1-3). “By the word of the Lord were the heavens made,” declares the psalmist (Ps. 33:6).
But in contrast to God’s creating the world, according to Genesis, where the spoken word brought into existence every element of creation, John says that the Word became flesh and lived among us (v. 14). These two affirmations about the nature and identity of the Word: that the Word was God and that the Word became flesh, become the foundation on which the entire gospel is built. Jesus is the incarnate Word of God. That means, Jesus provides a unique and unprecedented access to God, in ways never before possible. Jesus shares in God’s character and identity. Therefore, Jesus’ revelation of God is not simply because he speaks the word of God and does the works of God, but rather because Jesus is God’s very life-giving and eternal Word. Jesus is God in human form.
The Word became flesh and lived among us. We can consider this verse as John’s Christmas story. What the Matthew and Luke have as the birth story of Jesus, with angels, shepherds, magi and a manger, John simply states, The Word became flesh and lived among us. The KJV reads, “And dwelt among us.” The word “lived” or “dwelt,” depending on the version you have, is the verb form for the noun “tabernacle” or “tent.” Thus, the Word became flesh and pitched his tent next to ours. God became our neighbor. God came to live among us—the Immanuel, God is with us. In verses 10 and 11, John says, “He was in the world, and the world came into being through him; yet the world did not know him.He came to what was his own, and his own people did not accept him.”
Although John tells us that the Incarnate Word is eternal, Divine, and uniquely glorious, but by Incarnating, God made himself vulnerable. He came in the world and the world did not recognize him. He came to his people, but his people rejected him. God’s chosen people took offence at Jesus, especially for making such claims about himself. They want something more spectacular; some divine figure, some hero or god-man, some fascinating, mysterious being, able to impress everyone with the feats of might and glory. But what they saw was only a man; a man of compassion, a man who claimed to speak the truth. However, to all who received him and believed in his name, he gave them the power to become children of God. It is by the sheer grace revealed by and made available through Jesus that you and I have the immense privilege of becoming God’s children. Glory be to his Holy Name!
As the Father has sent me, so I send you, Jesus said.
My beloved friends, Jesus was sent by the Father to be God Incarnate. He set his tent among his people. He became a neighbor. God took human form, therefore he experienced hunger and thirst. He got to experience all the human emotions. He was glad to welcome children; he generously shared his bread with the hungry. He touched the leprosy out of pure compassion. He felt exhaustion as he walked from village to village, teaching and healing the sick. He got frustrated when he saw the hardness of heart in those expected to show the love of God. He defended the sinner woman from being stoned to death. He cried and finally died at the hands of those whom he prayed for, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” Love makes the lover vulnerable. Jesus loved and never imposed himself on others. Therefore, he was rejected and even killed. And again, he tells us, “As the Father has sent me, so I send you.”
What kind of gospel do we proclaim? Is it one which makes us to become vulnerable to others because of the unconditional love with which we love? Do we proclaim the gospel out of love for the lost?
Our passage ends, saying,
From his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.The law indeed was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.
May we become the embodiment of Jesus’ grace, love and compassion, so that the world would know the love of God. Amen!
 BibleWorks 7, notes for “Word” in John 1:1.