The Incredible God-Becoming-Flesh
Dec 25, 2010 by Mark Young | 0 Comments
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:14
The words “flesh” and “glory” just don’t seem to go together. John’s audacious assertion that the eternal Word, the one true God, became flesh slaps us in the face. Flesh. Meat. John had other ways to describe the incarnation. He could have written that the Word became a man, or that the Word took on a human body. But he chose to use the rather crude term “flesh.” Nothing could be less godlike than flesh. In fact, the apostle Paul specifically chose the word “flesh” to provide a stark contrast with the Spirit (Gal 5:16-17).
So why did John choose this almost offensive term to describe the very Son of God? No other term could better communicate the startling reality that the eternal God had become fully human so that we could know him as no other god had ever been known. He didn’t just seem to become human. He didn’t just indwell a human body. He didn’t take on human appearance for a short period of time before going back to his spiritual state. The eternal Word became human—fully flesh and bone—in order to reveal to us what God is truly like.
But how can flesh reveal glory? The glory of God in the Old Testament was an unapproachable presence in the tabernacle and in the temple, an overwhelming brilliance that none could endure (Exodus 40:34-35; 1 Kings 8:11). Jesus, fully flesh, revealed the glory of God in his miracles (John 2:11), but ultimately it is in his death and resurrection that his glory is fully seen (John 7:39; 12:16; 13:31-32). But the glory revealed by the Word made flesh was not seen by all. As Don Carson has written, “There is a hiddenness to the display of glory in the incarnate,” a hiddenness that can only be penetrated by the light of faith. Without faith, this supreme act of revelation and redemption—the Word made flesh—is little more than foolishness. But to all who believe, it is the very source of eternal life (1 Corinthians 1:18). God made flesh—accessible, knowable, embraceable, and believable. Behold his glory, the glory of the One and Only!