John 1:1-14 God Dwells with Us


Show video clip from the beginning of “A Christmas Story”

A Christmas Story: In the very beginning Ralphy (spelling) was waiting for Christmas, waiting for the BB Gun. In this case God has timing worked out and in the Old Testament they were waiting for the Messiah.

All throughout the Old Testament they were waiting for the Messiah. They were waiting.

We have been focusing on our Christmas theme which is “God provides the Light.” We have seen this played out in the Old Testament and then we have seen that John the Baptizer prepared the way. Now today we get to Jesus. The Light came into our neighborhood. This is called the incranation.

Scientist J. Robert Oppenheimer once said “The best way to send an idea is to wrap it up in a person.” The theological word for all of that is incarnation, meaning “in the flesh.” Jesus was the incarnation of God. Jesus was the way that God sent His “idea” to humanity; there was and is no better way!

Like the little girl who said, “Some people couldn’t hear God’s inside whisper and so He sent Jesus to tell them out loud.”

From Stephen Sheane’s Sermon “God With Us”

(Below is adapted from an illustration I read from John MacArthur)

I notice people sending fewer and fewer Christmas cards. Meagan and I will send a Christmas letter. Are you having that experience? The ones that they do send are two kinds, pictures of their kids, pictures of family, which are great and wonderful, and pictures of shepherds and wise men and mangers and stars and angels and all of that, right? I mean, that’s pretty much…we could separate them, the people go over here, the manger scenes go over here and that seems to be the current theme. And you might even wonder if the Christmas story could even be told without those very familiar elements. Would…what would the Christmas story be with no stable, no manger, no Joseph, no Mary, no Bethlehem, no shepherds, no angels, no star, no wise men and no baby? What would the Christmas story be?

It would be John’s account of the Christmas story. Fourteen verses, no Joseph, no Mary, no Bethlehem, no manger, no stable, no shepherds, no wise men, no star, no angels and no baby. But this is not any less the story. And if you think you can’t tell the story without those features, you’re wrong because that’s exactly what John does here.

One line from the text that I read you stands out and I want us to look at that line, it’s in the last verse, verse 14, and here is the story in four words…four words in English, four words in Greek, “The Word Became Flesh.” The Word became flesh. That is the most profound truth of all truth. That’s why we celebrate Christmas. Not because of the physical features of a stable and a manger and a star and a young couple and shepherds and wise men, they all participate, of course, in the physical historical features of the birth of Christ. But the real story is the Word became Flesh. The Word became Flesh.

Who is the Word? Verse 1 says, “The Word was with God and the Word was God. And this Word became flesh, verse 14 says, and dwelt among us and we beheld His glory.” The Word became flesh, dwelt among us without giving up any of His glory. This is the story of Christmas.

But the most concise statement in all the Bible on the incarnation, God becoming man, are the four words in verse 14, “The Word became Flesh,” God became a man.” The infinite became finite. The eternal one entered time. The invisible became visible.

That is exactly the theme today. God dwells with us.

Let’s read: John 1:1-14:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2He was with God in the beginning. 3Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. 5The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

6There was a man sent from God whose name was John. 7He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all might believe. 8He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light.

9The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. 10He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. 11He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. 12Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— 13children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.

14The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

  1. Notice that verses 1-5 are specific about Jesus specifically beginning with His eternal past.

    1. I just want to skim over these verses. I like what John MacArthur says about verse 1:

        1. Was is an imperfect tense verb, eimi, a form of eimi. Eimi is the verb to be. And it describes continuous existence. The imperfect tense describes continuous reality. Ami is the verb to be, continuous existence before the beginning of everything. When the beginning began, He already was. John doesn’t use ginomai, he doesn’t say, “In the beginning the Word came into existence.” He uses ami, “In the beginning the Word already existed.” There never was a point when He came into existence. And that is why the testimony of Scripture is that He is before all things. That is why He says in John 8, “Before Abraham was, I am.” He was in the beginning already existing.

      1. John begins the Gospel going back to eternal past. He begins this Gospel going outside of time.

      2. By the way, “Word” is the Greek noun Logos and it meant all reason and reality. The Greeks and the Jews would have known John is writing about God, so we will not go deeper here right now. I would love to talk with you later regarding this. Actually, we do have a small group at my house at 6:00 and we could talk about it there. The Theological Dictionary of the New Testament has about fourty or more pages devoted to the background of this Greek noun.

      3. I recently heard how C.S. Lewis wrote about the crazy things that we say. People say “time flies.” That is a weird phrase, it is like a fish saying the water is wet. That is weird unless fish were not meant to live inw ater but on land. Well, the point Lewis was making is that maybe we are so perplexed by how fast time goes because we were meant for the eternal. (I heard this from Ravi Zacharius on Just Thinking podcast, also on a White Horse Inn podcast)

      4. So, here we are in eternity past, outside of time and Jesus is with God.

      5. Jesus created everything.

      6. Then the Bible says that in Him, or Jesus was life and then the noun “light” comes into play. Life come into play:

      7. Dr. Constable “. . . we move on from creation in general to the creation of life, the most significant element in creation. Life is one of John’s characteristic concepts: he uses the word 36 times, whereas no other New Testament writing has it more than 17 times (Revelation; next come Romans with 14 times and 1 John with 13 times). Thus more than a quarter of all the New Testament references to life occur in this one writing.”1

      8. We have been talking about “light” haven’t we?

      9. The “light” shines into the darkness. There is a contrast between light and dark in John’s Gospel.

    2. That noun is used 73 times in 62 verses in the New Testament. It is used 6 times in verses 4-9; 23 times in John’s Gospel; 6 times in 1 John; 4 times in Revelation. It is used 33 times by John, almost half of its uses. At its root, as it is used here, it means “light.” It can be used to mean:

      1. radiant or shining

      2. enlighten, give light to

    3. dawn, draw near

    4. star, splendor, radiance

    5. enligtenment, light

    6. radiance, morning star

      1. Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament: Based on Semantic Domains (New York: United Bible Societies, 1996)

      2. Light does shine into darkness. Light does light up the path. Why do we care so much for light? Why do we need light so much? But this is metaphorical. The Light is Jesus. The darkness is the world.

  2. Notice verses 6-8 are about John the baptizer preparing the way for the Light of the world.

    1. So we stay with this theme of Light. John is preparing the way.

    2. By the way, I do not know that we switched from the idea of Logos. John simply changed nouns describing Jesus. Jesus is the Logos, Jesus is the Light of the World.

  3. Notice verses 9-14 are back to Jesus, ending in the present. Jesus took on flesh.

    1. Now, John tells us that Jesus comes to His own but they will not comprehend Him. His own are the Jews.

    2. There is heavy irony in those verses. In Jesus comes into the world and the world rejects Him. Jesus created the world (verses 1-3), but the world rejects her creator.

    3. Yet, verses 12 and 13, all who believe in Him. This is not a causual belief but a heavy trust. Confessing sins, believing, trusting and committing to Him.

    4. God gives the right to be children of God. Again, notice the irony. Jesus has created us. Jesus shines His light upon us and then He adopts us as childen of God.

    5. Verse 13 is key. Born not from human lineage but of God. This is full adoption, full children. And who does the saving? John tells us: The will of God. The text says, not of human decision.

    6. Remember this Advent I have stressed that God provides the light. Salvation is from God.

    7. So, verse 14: The Word became flesh.

    8. Literally, He pitched His tent amongst us. We are to the present.

    9. For the rest of John’s Gospel, He is not called the Word, but Jesus of Nazareth.

    10. How did He take on flesh?

    11. He was born of a woman in a stable or a cave. The Light of the World.

Now, that is a different Christmas story. That is different than the cards with the manger scenes, but it is full and in the Bible.

Let’s pray.

So, have you believed in Him? Have you accepted salvation?

God created us to be with him. (Genesis 1-2)

Our sin separated us from God. (Genesis 3)

Sins cannot be removed by good deeds (Gen 4-Mal 4)

Paying the price for sin, Jesus died and rose again. (Matthew – Luke)

Everyone who trusts in him alone has eternal life. (John – Jude)

Life that’s eternal means we will be with Jesus forever. (Revelation 22:5)

A man is rushed to the hospital where a doctor examines him and informs him that he is critically ill. The patient is told that he will die unless he gets proper treatment. The physician then prescribes medicine for the sick man and says, “If you will take this, I can assure you with absolute certainty that you will get well.” Now, what should the man do? Should he just lie there on his sickbed and believe that the doctor knows his business, that he has diagnosed his illness correctly, and that the prescription will surely make him well? No, that is not enough. If that is all he does, he will die. To live, he must take the medicine.

When a person offers you a gift that has cost him or her much, it does not become yours until you receive it from that person. The beautifully wrapped package in the outstretched hand of the giver will do the receiver no good until he or she reaches out and takes it. Likewise, reception of God’s gracious gift of eternal life is necessary before a person can benefit from it. Receiving a gift from someone else does not constitute a meritorious act or good work, and the Bible never regards it as a work. It is simply a response to the work of another.

Let’s pray

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