In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
Let’s start at the very beginning, a very good place to start. Do those opening three words of John 1 sound familiar to you? They should: they’re the first words of the Bible (in the original Hebrew, the first word). John was deliberately echoing those words as he began his gospel. And, if you look at the first verse of his first letter, you will find similar words (see I John 1:1-2).
So, what does John tell us about this mysterious Word? He was with God, in the very beginning; he in fact was God; all things were made by him; and in him is life and light. So this Word is God, the creator, the giver of life. As such, he is worthy of all worship. But wait: there’s more!
John tells us that this Word became a human being, that he took on human flesh, that he lived among us, and that he revealed himself to be the only Son, who came from God the Father. Amazing! The creator becomes a creature; God becomes man. Madeleine L’Engle said “we pay more attention to its [Christmas] reasonableness than to the fact that the tiny baby in the manger contained the power which created the galaxies and set the stars in their courses.” Truly, as we look at that baby in the manger, we should be asking with wonder and awe, what child is this?!
Notice that John says Jesus came “full of grace and truth.” If he had come without grace, we couldn’t be saved, for salvation is by grace alone (Ephesians 2:8). If he had come without truth, we wouldn’t know that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6). But he comes with both, so that sinners may know him, believe in him, and trust in him. As the writer of Hebrews tells us, God has in these last days “spoken to us by his Son” (Hebrews 1:1), the Word.
Do you see him? Do you see God incarnate, the eternal Son in human flesh? Do you trust in him? As the carol says, “Good Christian, fear; for sinners here the silent Word is pleading”. In Him alone is life and light, now and for eternity. Won’t you bow and worship this glorious Savior?
“Hail, hail, the Word made flesh, the babe, the son of Mary”!
What Child is this, who, laid to rest,
On Mary’s lap is sleeping?
Whom angels greet with anthems sweet,
While shepherds watch are keeping?
This, this is Christ the King,
Whom shepherds guard and angels sing;
Haste, haste, to bring Him laud,
The Babe, the son of Mary.
(traditional English carol)
Who is this, so weak and helpless,
child of lowly Hebrew maid,
rudely in a stable sheltered,
coldly in a manger laid?
‘Tis the Lord of all creation,
who this wondrous path has trod;
he is God from everlasting,
and to everlasting God.
(William Walsham How)
© 2021 Stephen A. Hoogerhyde.