The Word Made Flesh

The Prologue of the Gospel of John presents key themes that are expanded in the Book. Most critically, Jesus is the Logos, the “Word become flesh” in whom Life and Light are revealed to penitent men and women. He is the true “Tabernacle” where God’s “Glory” resides, not the tent in the wilderness or the Temple building in Jerusalem. John employs imagery from the history of Israel to illustrate what God now provides us in His “only born Son.”

Since his death and resurrection, Jesus has been the place where the presence of God is found, and the “Word become flesh” is our means of access to God. He is the greater Tabernacle in which the true worship of the Father takes place - “In spirit and truth.”

Sun Mountain - Photo by Felipe Giacometti on Unsplash
[Photo by Felipe Giacometti on Unsplash]

His “
glory” is not confined to the physical walls of the Tabernacle “made-with-hands” any longer, and no longer is access to His presence limited to the Levitical priests. Every member of the People of God new beholds His glory in the “Word made flesh that tabernacled among us” - (John 1:14, 1:47-51, 2:13-22, 4:20-24).

The Living Word was embodied in this flesh-and-blood man from Nazareth so all men could see the Divine nature expressed in his life. In his words, deeds, death, and resurrection, the true nature and redemptive plan of God are presented before the world. In the truest sense of the term, the Logos of God has been “incarnated,” in-fleshed in the true man, Jesus Christ.

The description of the “Word tabernacling among us” echoes the incident at Mount Sinai when God inscribed His ten “words” on stone tablets. In Jesus, the Word of God is now written in “flesh.”

The Greek verb translated as “tabernacled” is skénoō, meaning, “to tabernacle; to pitch a tent.” It is related to the noun skéné for “tent,” the same term used in the Greek Septuagint translation of the Book of Exodus for the “Tabernacle” carried by the Levites in the wilderness. Thus, in Jesus, God is “tabernacling” with His people.

Yahweh commanded Moses to “construct a Sanctuary for me that I may dwell among them,” a portable structure fashioned “according to all that I am going to show you, the pattern of the tabernacle and the pattern of all its furnishings.”

In obedience, the Great Lawgiver “proceeded to take a tent and pitch it by itself outside the camp… and he called it, the Tent of Meeting… it came to pass, that when Moses entered the tent, the pillar of cloud came down and stood at the opening of the tent” - (Exodus 25:8-9, 33:7-11).

GRACE AND TRUTH


In the Septuagint version of Exodus, the “Tent of Meeting” is the skéné martyriou or the “Tent of Witness.” It was the place where the presence of Yahweh was seen in the pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night. However, now He makes His habitation among them in His Son - (Exodus 40:34-35, Numbers 9:15-23).

John declared: “We beheld his glory… FULL OF GRACE AND TRUTH.” This clause employs further imagery from Exodus, echoing Yahweh’s self-description. Moses asked to see His “glory,” but no man could “see my face and live.” Therefore, God placed Moses in the “cleft of a rock” when He passed by, permitting him only to see His “backside.” He descended in the cloud and passed before Moses, proclaiming:

  • Yahweh, Yahweh, a God of compassion and grace, slow to anger and abundant IN LOVING-KINDNESS AND FAITHFULNESS” - (Exodus 33:17-23, 34:1-6).

Thus, the glory of God is revealed in Jesus, a proposition that John expands in his gospel account. Unlike Moses, the followers of Jesus see the full glory of God in His Son, not just His “backside,” a glory that John compares to that of “an only born from a father.”

He who has seen the Son “has seen the Father,” and Jesus is the only way that leads to God. Even the angels of Heaven now “ascend and descend on the Son of Man” - (John 1:51, 14:6-7, 17:24).

That glory is “full of grace and truth,” a statement that corresponds to the proclamation of Yahweh as He passed before Moses - “I am Yahweh, abundant in loving-kindness and faithfulness.” The glory only glimpsed by Moses is disclosed fully and manifested permanently in Jesus Christ.

Sun Norway - Photo by Jonas Allert on Unsplash
[Sun Norway - Photo by Jonas Allert on Unsplash]

His presence is no longer restricted to the Tabernacle of Moses or the Temple of Solomon. The wilderness structure and the Temple “
made with hands” have been rendered obsolete and superfluous by what God has achieved in His Son - (2 Corinthians 3:18, 4:4-6).

The old Tabernacle was glorious and revealed much about the nature of God. Nevertheless, its glory and access to it were always limited. In contrast, the glory found in Jesus is full, visible, and available for anyone to behold, believe, and embrace.



RELATED POSTS:
  • His Name is 'Jesus' - (‘Jesus’ means ‘Yahweh saves.’ In the man from Nazareth, the salvation promised by the God of Israel arrived in all its glory)
  • Son of Abraham - (Jesus is the true Son of Abraham, the heir of the promises, the Anointed One who fulfills and implements the inheritance for his people)
  • Son of David - (Jesus is the son of David and heir to the Messianic Throne, the beloved Son of God, and the Suffering Servant of Yahweh)

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