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The Word Became Flesh

by David Johnson

(Transcribed from the Words of Life Radio Program)

 

IMG_0666 It is great to be together again as we look into the Word of God. The title for the lesson, “The Word Became Flesh” and our text is only one verse in the gospel of John chapter one and verse 14.  Listen to the Word of God.
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only who came from the Father full of grace and truth.  This is the Word of God. May he add his blessing to his Word and the truths therein and share them with others, especially during this special time of the season.

Birthdates of important people are usually very well known. For example, the first President of the United States George Washington, was born on February 22nd.  And Abraham Lincoln, one of our great presidents also, his birth date is February 12th. In Christendom and much of the world December 25th is considered the birth date of Jesus the Christ.  Well, what say the Scriptures regarding the birth time of the Christ? More than is usually considered, according to Bible scholars.

Consider Luke chapter one and verse five.  It says, in part: There was a priest named Zechariah who belonged to the priestly division of Abijah. The Jewish temple, Levitical priesthood was organized into 24 divisions. Each division served twice a year for one week. The division of Abijah was the eighth division. Each morning a priest was to enter the holy place in the temple and burn incense. According to Luke chapter one and verses eight and nine which says:  Once when Zechariah’s division was on duty and he was serving as priest before God, he was chosen by Lot according to the custom of the priesthood to go into the temple of the Lord and burn incense.  Incense was actually burned in the temple twice daily.  The incense was kept burning perpetually just in front of the curtain or veil that divided the holy place from the most holy place, the holy of holies. A solitary priest would offer the incense every morning and every evening while the rest of the Levitical priests and worshippers stood outside the holy place in prayer.  The smoke from the incense drifting heavenward represented their prayers ascending to God.  The Levitical priesthood was extremely meticulous in its timeliness of its priestly duties according to the four divisions of the temple priesthood.

Jewish law and ritual records indicate that the division of Abijah, Zechariah’s division served in the temple during the second half of the fourth month according to the Jewish calendar.

Now add all of this to the following details of Scripture regarding Elizabeth, the wife of Zechariah the priest and Mary the mother of Jesus. Consider Luke chapter one verses 26 and 27.  It says, in part: In the sixth month God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee to a virgin. In the sixth month of what? Answer, Luke chapter one and verse 36.  Even Elizabeth, your relative, is going to have a child in her old age and she, who was said to be barren is in her sixth month.  Therefore, Jesus was born about 15 months after the angel of the Lord first appeared to Zechariah—according to Luke chapter one and verse 11—assuming a full nine month term for both Elizabeth and Mary, that is, six months of Elizabeth’s term plus nine months of Mary’s term which equals the 15 months. Putting all of these details of Scripture together, Scholars believe the birth of Jesus Christ was in the seventh month of the Jewish calendar.  It is interesting that to the Jews that put high stock in numerology, the number seven is the number of completion and the number of perfection, of power, of completeness.  And the Christ came and became one of us in human form in the fullness of time, perfectly, completely in accord with God’s preordained plan before the foundation of the world.
So most probably Jesus Christ was born in the seventh month of the Jewish calendar, which, according to our modern calendars puts his birth in either late September or early October.  Also noteworthy is that in the seventh month of the Jewish calendar, is celebrated the feast of tabernacles, that is, the Christ, the Son of God tabernacled or made his dwelling among us in his incarnation as he became flesh and blood, as he became one of us, a man.
Most Christians would not think of the gospel of John as having a nativity narrative.  Now nativity has to do with birth. It means birth. But the gospel of John does have a nativity narrative, however brief, in one unique verse pregnant with deep and profound meaning. And that verse is our text, a very penetrating, profound passage of Scripture in John chapter one and verse 14 it says: The Word became flesh.  That is birth, nativity.

 

And why is Jesus referred to by the apostle John as the Word?  Primarily because in the Old Testament Scripture, for example, the word was an agent of creation. Consider, for example, Psalm 33 and verse six that says: By the Word of the Lord were the heavens made.  The Word was also the source of God’s message to his people through his prophets. For example, consider Hosea chapter one and verse one. It says, in part: The Word of the Lord that came to Hosea. And, for example, the Word was God’s law and standard of holiness. Consider, for example, Psalm 119 and verse 11 that says: I have hidden your Word in my heart that I might not sin against you. Therefore, to the Hebrew mind the Word was also another expression for God.  And Jesus Christ as God man, perfectly embodies the creative power, the creation of the cosmos by the godhead and God’s ultimate message to mankind. Jesus Chris is the greatest revelation of God to mankind, to the human race and God’s perfect standard of holiness, because Jesus Christ, God man was perfect.  In all of his attributes and all of his holiness he was the sinless Lamb of God who taketh the sin of the world. He had no sin.  He was tempted in every way as is common to man and yet was without sin, perfect holiness. And he became flesh. And so the preexistent, eternal, preeminent one and only unique only begotten Son of God became incarnate, that is, fully human, became flesh, flesh and blood, became one of us. So the infinite also became the finite in his flesh and blood.  The eternal was conformed to time and space. The invisible became visible.  The supernatural also became natural in his humanity while retaining his full divinity as God man.

All of this so profound that we cannot take it all in and he made his dwelling among us.  Imagine the Christ, the Son of God began in a manger, an animal trough, his dwelling imagery is from the Old Testament tabernacle where God met with Israel in the tent of meeting. He tabernacled. God tabernacled, dwelled amongst the people of Israel, his original, covenant, chosen people when he came in his shekinah glory in the tent of meeting. Therefore, at the first coming of Christ God chose to dwell among his people in a far, far more personal way in the person of the Son of God, Jesus Christ becoming a man, becoming one of us, God incarnate.  And then also in John chapter one and verse 14 it says we have seen his glory, a reference by the apostle John on the sacred mountain along with Peter and James his brother as John saw by sight, had a visual, supernatural preview of Jesus Christ in his glorified body as all believers will also see one glorious day.

And then it also says in John chapter one and verse 14: The glory of the one and only. The idea here is the singular, uniqueness of being beloved like no other. He is the unique one and only Son in the godhead, the second person of the godhead or of the trinity who came from the Father, that is, he came from heaven. He came from above. He left the glory and the wonders and the majesty of heaven to come to earth. And then he is also full of grace and truth.  These are divine attributes to the very highest degree of God’s glory in his Son, as Savior of mankind, especially in regard to salvation, to be found only in him, salvation only in Christ Jesus by God’s grace, his undeserved favor toward mankind and truth, because Jesus Christ is the only way to the Father. Jesus Christ is not a way, he is not the best way, he is the only unique, exclusive way to the Father, to salvation. And the truth, therefore, is, there is no other way to be saved.  There is no other name under heaven by which men can be saved, only by the name of Jesus, Jesus of Nazareth, the Christ.

So by the year of our Lord AD, anno domino, which is Latin for the year of our Lord, in the year 377 Christendom established December 25th as the official birth date of Jesus Christ whom we celebrate and worship.

And, of course, it is not the exact date that really matters.  What really matters is that the Son of God became the Son of Man in his humanity to save us from our sins. Even the word Savior is what Jesus means.  Savior or salvation is of the Lord.  That is what Jesus means.  There was no room at the inn when Joseph and Mary came into Bethlehem for them to find lodging at Jesus’ birth time.  But there is still plenty of room at the foot of the cross, at Calvary for all who would come to him in obedient faith who would receive him perfect, special gift from God even Jesus.

Do you have room for Jesus in your life? Will you receive him by faith, an obedient faith, seeking to honor God in Christ Jesus by the power of the Holy Spirit through a faithful life in Christ Jesus?  May you make that decision today if you have not.

 

David Johnson is minister of the Sellersburg Church of Christ, Sellersburg, IN.




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