In today’s reading, the Word is named. However, the key verse in this introduction is verse 14, where we are told that the Word takes on flesh and becomes a man. The word ″flesh″ and the expression ″made his dwelling″ are vital.
In the first century AD, there were many who believed that the spiritual and material could never mix, so that God and flesh could not meet. John asserts that the Word became a real human, ″became flesh″ (v. 14). With his Jewish readers in mind, John uses the expression, ″made his dwelling″, literally that He ″tabernacled″ among us.
This recalls the tabernacle of Exodus 33-34, where God met with Moses ″as one speaks to a friend″ (Exodus 33:11). Moses had asked to see God’s glory, and from having seen Him, he became so radiant that his face needed to be covered when he met the people of Israel (Exodus 34:33).
Now God tabernacles among us, and we see His glory of the Word made flesh (v. 14). This is the one of whom John the Baptist testifies (v. 15), the Word ″full of grace and truth″ (v. 14), and is the source of blessing upon blessing (v. 16).
It was so gracious of God to give the law to Moses, but even greater grace has come through Jesus Christ (v. 17). At last, the full identity of the Word is revealed, the Creator, the Source of light and life-it is Jesus Christ.
Verse 18 is the summary of this prologue, which is itself a summary of John’s gospel. Here is the human dilemma: ″No one has ever seen God″ (1 John 4:12). Humanity is largely in the dark, but on God’s initiative, the Word of revelation becomes flesh.
The ″one and only Son, who is himself God″-Jesus is the One with the unique nature, who is ″in the closest relationship with the Father″-Jesus is the One in the unique place, literally in the Father’s bosom, ″has made him known″-Jesus has the unique ministry of revealing God (v. 18).
The fundamental truth, denied by so many, is that Jesus makes God known. How important is it for you to understand that in Jesus, God is made manifest in flesh?