Wednesday, June 30, 2010

John's Gospel - 5

'The Word became flesh'
The exalted Word 'became' flesh. Note that John could have said 'took on' flesh or 'assumed' flesh or 'appeared' as flesh. But those all assume a distance between the Word and His flesh. To become flesh sounds like the Word is no longer what it was but has become[!] something different. It is a strong way of stating the Incarnation so that it is clear that it is an incarnation and not something less. 

'Dwelt' looks back to the Tabernacle and also therefore points to the Temple. The Word was among us in the flesh just as He was among us in the Tabernacle/Temple, except more so. So, we have the theme of Jesus' body as the Temple of God which points us forward to the Church as the Temple of God and the Body of Christ. We are Jesus' Body and as such we have Jesus with us/in us. This defines what it means to be the Church.

'The Glory of the only Son of the Father, full of grace and truth'
'Glory' is brilliance, an aspect of beauty, the high point of someone's character. Here, the emphasis is on Jesus' grace and truth. This is the aspect of His glory that John is pointing to. 

'Grace' is not a thing that we need to get a lot of. It is an attitude. Grace is God's favor/blessing. Jesus enjoyed the favor (blessing) of the Father and greatly so. He is 'full of grace'. This is behind His ability to do the will of His Father. In John, Jesus often refers to doing 'the will of Him who sent Me'. His obedience to the Father is an important theme. The blessing of God's favor leads to  obedience which leads to more blessing and on we go. Jesus' life was filled with the blessing of the Father. Our ability to obey is likewise dependent on the blessing of the Father. We obey by grace. 

'Truth' is, here, not the opposite of 'false' but of 'partial and shadowy'. So, Jesus is the 'true bread from heaven' [chapter 6], the 'true vine' [chapter 15], etc, while the manna in the desert Exodus 16] and Israel [Isaiah 5] were the shadowy types pointing to Him.

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