Expository Summary - John 1:14
- John 1:1 (MSG)
- John 1:2 (MSG)
- John 1:3 (MSG)
- John 1:4 (MSG)
- John 1:5 (MSG)
- John 1:6 (MSG)
- John 1:7 (MSG)
- John 1:8 (MSG)
- John 1:10 (MSG)
- John 1:11 (MSG)
- John 1:12 (MSG)
- John 1:13 (MSG)
- John 1:9 (MSG)
- John 1:14 (MSG)
- John 1:15 (MSG)
- John 1:16 (MSG)
- John 1:17 (MSG)
- John 1:18 (MSG)
- John 1:19 (MSG)
- John 17:1 (MSG)
By way of introduction, over the past few months, I’ve desired to dig into John 17 more deeply. And, as I’m sure you’ll notice, I’m not looking at that chapter today. But, here I will be introducing John 17 by looking at one verse.
I’ve entitled this entry, ‘The Visible God.’ John 17 is really a farewell prayer where Jesus’ earthly life and his heavenly life intersect. It’s a crossroads. The visible God, Jesus, is about to return to heaven to the invisible God, the Father. And his disciples will need a vision of him to sustain them when he goes. And he gives this prayer almost like the vision that Moses saw in the burning bush. It’s something to look back to when the times get tough. And so, similarly, today I want to look at another vision of Jesus in John 1:14. And the reason I want to use this verse specifically as an introduction, is because I want to search out the identity of Christ more fully before we get into the prayer. Who exactly is this Jesus that’s praying? And how can we be confident in the words he prays as we look back when times are tough? And my prayer is that, as we see him, the main application of this study will be for our hearts to burn within us as we catch a glimpse of Jesus’ glory. There’s too little burning in our hearts today, because Jesus has become too abstract in our eyes. So, I pray that our vision will affect our hearts today.
The Visible God
In John 1:1, we learn that Jesus is God. And so, John says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” Later in John 1:14, the verse that we will be looking at, John equates the Word with Jesus. And so, Jesus is the Word (1:14). And the Word is God (1:1). Therefore, Jesus is God. Now, Jehovah’s Witnesses will say otherwise, but I don’t really want to get into that debate right now. Suffice to say, I think as we look at verse 14, it will be enough to show us that Jesus isn’t just ‘a god’ like Jehovah’s Witnesses say, but the very God, Jehovah, of the Old Testament in human flesh.
So, John 1:14 says, “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.” Now, this verse teaches us three things about Jesus as God, which I hope in turn will make our hearts burn within us and help us to see the Jesus of John 17 more clearly. The three things are as follows:
(1) Jesus as God ‘became flesh.’
(2) Jesus as God ‘dwelt among us.’
(3) Jesus as God is the ‘glory’ of God.
Jesus as God ‘became flesh.’ Now, this is a controversial statement, especially in the Greek world of Jesus’ day. To the Greeks, ‘flesh’ and ‘spirit’ shouldn’t be mixed. ‘Flesh’ is evil. ‘Spirit’ is good. Yet here, we learn that Jesus as the spiritual God became flesh. He became human. And by doing so, he showed us to what great lengths he would go to befriend a sinful world. Not that he became sinful, but he took on the flesh of a sinful world.
But this wasn’t just a difficult truth for Greeks to accept. It’s difficult for us! The default mode of most people today when they approach God is, ‘I have to do the work. It’s all up to me. If I don’t work hard enough to get close to God, then he won’t hear my prayers.’ This verse shatters that idea of God. Jesus as God ‘became flesh.’ This means that God isn’t waiting for us to make a move, because he’s already made the first move! He’s shown his love in history. The very fact that he became a human being is an irrevocable declaration to us that God loves sinners. This is the Jesus of John 17.
Jesus as God ‘dwelt among us.’ This phrase can also be translated, ‘tabernacled among us,’ meaning that Jesus came to earth to dwell with us just as God dwelled with Israel in the Old Testament. The tabernacle was the place where God would dwell so as to be with his people. But here, it’s Jesus who is dwelling with his people. What this means is that not only was Jesus content with taking on flesh, but he wanted to be with a sinful world.
You know a person loves you by whether or not they want to spend time with you. People in love always spend time together. Parents who love their children want to be with their children. Friends who love each other make time to be with each other. And Jesus shows us his love for us by coming to dwell with us. He isn’t a distant God, but one who draws near. He not only became flesh, but wanted to be with us! Again, this is the Jesus of John 17.
Jesus as God is the ‘glory’ of God. In speaking of Jesus’ glory here, John seems to be referring to Exodus 34, where God reveals his ‘glory’ to Moses. There, God reveals himself as, “The LORD, the LORD,” or “Jehovah, Jehovah,” or “Yahweh, Yahweh, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty” (Exodus 34:6-7). And the amazing thing is that here, Jesus is that glory. Jesus is the glory of God. When John says, ‘full of grace and truth,’ he mirrors the phrase in Exodus 34: ‘abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.’ John isn’t trying to refute Jehovah’s Witnesses (though he does), so much as he’s saying that Jesus is the physical revelation of God’s glory. What God spoke in words when he revealed himself to Moses in Exodus 34, Jesus lived in word and deed when he became a human. Therefore, this Jesus who took on flesh so he could be with us is the very revelation of God. Jesus reveals to us the heart of God, because he himself is God.
When people in the West think of God, they usually think about him as a philosophy that’s up for debate, as if you can choose which God suites you best. It’s like trying on clothes to find out which ones are your favorite. But, the essence of Christianity is that God’s glory isn’t some mysterious cloud in the sky, but God’s glory is a person: Jesus Christ, ‘full of grace and truth.’ He is here to show us God’s steadfast love and faithfulness. God has bound himself to this sinful world in love. He reveals the very depths of that love in Jesus. And this is the Jesus of John 17.
So pulling all of these strands together, who is the Jesus of John 17? The Jesus of John 17 is the very God of the universe who became a human being to dwell with sinful people like us and to reveal his tender love and commitment to us. Let that sink in. The temptation for true Christians is to doubt that ‘God is for us.’ But John sets an unbreakable seal on the love of God. Jesus is that seal. And this is way we can have confidence in Jesus’ prayer in John 17. Jesus is a billboard, shouting out, ‘I love you.’ And so, before you come to John 17, have you come to know this Jesus? Have you come to know the love of God in flesh?
Created over 3 years ago