14 The 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.
(John 1:14 NIV)
As we continue our journey through the Apostle John’s prologue to his Gospel, today we arrive at verse 14, considered by many to be the pinnacle or central theme of John’s account of Christ.
The idea that God can embody human flesh, not as a visual image (like a ghost), but as a real person is inconceivable from a human perspective. How could the Creator of the universe be contained in a mortal body? But yet He did in the person of Jesus Christ, the Messiah, the long-awaited One.
John goes on to say that Jesus “made his dwelling among us”. We could say that Jesus “tabernacled” among us – He pitched His tent among mankind and lived here with us. Remember from the Old Testament that the Tabernacle was the place where God and the Israelites met. The Tabernacle was where Moses conversed with God, and where the priests made the sacrifices on behalf of themselves and the Israelites to cover their sins.
And so we find the same parallels of the Tabernacle in Christ. We meet God through Christ, and through Christ, we have the sacrifice of all sacrifices to cover our sins once for all and make us right with God.
Like yesterday, we can also take a look at this verse from a lyrical/musical form:
14 The Word became flesh
and took up residence among us.
We observed His glory,
the glory as the One and Only Son from the Father,
full of grace and truth.
(John 1:14 Holman Christian Standard Bible)
This lyrical/poetic form, seeing the phrases individually, reminds me of Moses’ encounter with God in Exodus 33.
Moses was to lead the Israelites from the desert to the Promised Land. The Israelites had disobeyed God; God told Moses that he would not break His promise of giving the Promised Land to the Israelites, but He did say that He would not go with them because of their disobedience. Moses pleaded with God, for Moses knew that to go forward without God would be disastrous.
Listen to Moses’ plea to have God continue to tabernacle with the Israelites, to pitch His tent with us as we travel life’s journey:
15 Then Moses said to him, “If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here. 16 How will anyone know that you are pleased with me and with your people unless you go with us? What else will distinguish me and your people from all the other people on the face of the earth?”
(Exodus 33:15-16 NIV, underlines mine)
Moses knew that the very presence of God among them was the only thing that separated them from every other person on the face of the earth. And so it is in our lives as Christ-followers today as well – not in a physical place like a Tabernacle or church, but in our hearts, our souls, the innermost space where God dwells in our beings.
And what was Moses’ request after God said He would go with the Israelites? “Show me your glory.”
And what did God say” “You can’t see My face and still live.”
John tells us that we have seen God’s glory in Christ – God has revealed His glory through His Son – and we can live to tell about it.
And what is John’s conclusion about God’s glory revealed to us? “full of grace and truth”, expressing God’s love for us.
“Show us Your glory, Lord!”
May this be our worship and our heart-cry today.