Life is a series of becoming things we never were before.
One of my associates graduated from the Law School at Notre Dame yesterday. He’s soon to become a lawyer. He’s never been one before, but that’s about to change. When that happens it will allow him to impact the lives of people he comes into contact with in ways that were never open to him before. A young man I mentored for years recently became a medical doctor, and another spiritual son got sworn in as a police officer not too long ago.
All of these situations are examples of “becoming” — adding a new aspect to the core of who you are so that you can have an impact on the lives of those around you. The men I tried to build a spiritual foundation in have always been interested in helping those around them. Becoming a doctor, lawyer or police officer just opens new avenues for making a difference in someone else’s life. This morning we’re going to take a look at someone else who became something he wasn’t to touch people he couldn’t reach any other way.
Today’s verse tell us THE WORD BECAME FLESH AND MADE HIS DWELLING AMONG US.
A few days ago, you and I looked at what the Apostle John says about who “the Word” was in the beginning. I told you that John said, “the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” And I commented that was something pretty hard for us to grasp, because we don’t yet have the capacity to fully understand HOW that can be. It’s a real challenge for us to comprehend how Jesus can be WITH God and also BE God. If fact, there are elements of faith that are described as mysteries; things we are told, but whose explanation is beyond our present ability to fully comprehend.
But we deal with that in many other areas of our life, too; and for the most part it doesn’t bother us a bit. Most you will have had an X-Ray. And when the doctor pops up the image of bones or teeth on the screen, you and I sit there, look at the image and discuss what exists under our skin and muscle. Not one in a million understand precisely how something invisible can “see through” something totally opaque and show us the inside of our body. Not only that, but the detailed technical explanation of how the machine can focus the electromagnetic radiation of the photon to separate the electron from the atom and then direct it towards an anode at high velocity in order to …. Yeah, I’ll stop now. The point is that, for most of us, the technical explanation is simply beyond our grasp. I don’t understand how X-Rays work and you probably don’t either. But it doesn’t stop us from getting X-Rays taken or CT scans done. Because we can accept what we do not fully understand based upon the evidence we see.
God knew that.
He knew we needed to see evidence of God’s love, care and His desire to forgive. His priests and prophets had told us many things about God in the Old Covenant. But knowing ABOUT God was never going to be enough. Knowing ABOUT someone isn’t a relationship. God wants you to KNOW Him. God wants a relationship so close that the best image we have to compare it with is that of a marriage. So THE WORD BECAME FLESH AND MADE HIS DWELLING AMONG US. Jesus came and lived with us, a visible demonstration we could see, hear and touch. And more important, one who could touch us. Jesus was “Emmanuel” – “God with us.” He was fully man and fully God at exactly the same time, for in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form.
If you think I’m about to explain that so you will have an “Aha!” moment and completely grasp the total truth of how Jesus was “fully God and fully man” — you’re going to be disappointed. I don’t know a Bishop, theologian or professor on the the planet or throughout history who fully grasped the HOW of that truth. But Jesus came and lived out the evidence, because He knew we can accept what we do not fully understand based upon the evidence we see.
So He taught with incredible power and wisdom. He confounded the most learned rabbis in Jerusalem as boy who’d just had his bar mitzvah. He healed those who’d been blind from birth, which was a miracle that had never been done throughout the entire Old Covenant because it was a signal identifying the messiah. He healed the sick from every kind of disease to demonstrate His absolute authority over their bodies. He cleansed lepers to demonstrate that no one was untouchable, His love could reach anyone. He walked on water, walked through walls and took five loaves of bread and fed five thousand hungry men to demonstrate His absolute authority over His creation. He cast out legions of demons to demonstrate His absolute authority over the entire spirit realm. Jesus came and lived out the evidence, because He knew we can accept what we do not fully understand based upon the evidence we see.
But even living WITH Jesus wasn’t going to be enough. That wasn’t “close enough” for God. He wanted you IN Him and Him in you. So after THE WORD BECAME FLESH AND MADE HIS DWELLING AMONG US, He sent His Holy Spirit to dwell WITHIN us. Now, finally the goal that God had intended in the images of the wilderness tabernacle and the Jerusalem temple reached it’s fulfillment. God had His dwelling among us, because His Spirit was within us. And now we who accept what we do not fully understand based upon the evidence we see have the fullest access to God possible.
Jesus Christ – God in the flesh – BECAME FLESH AND MADE HIS DWELLING AMONG US so that we would have the evidence we need to answer our questions and doubts and support our faith.
He BECAME what He had not been – FLESH. But He did it so that you could become what you had not been – A CHILD OF GOD.
Let faith rise up within you. Accept Christ, even if your mind still has questions; He will answer them. Accept even what you do not fully understand yet; not blindly, but based upon the evidence you see in THE WORD WHO BECAME FLESH AND MADE HIS DWELLING AMONG US.