This week's devotions are written by MBBC Student Ministry Intern Allison McSwain.
"Tabernacle Among Us"
The prologue to the Gospel of John may be a passage you memorized as a young believer. It’s a very familiar set of verses for me, albeit a slightly confusing one. Who or what is this “Word” that was in the beginning with God? Is John talking about an utterance of speech? If so, what “Word” is it?
One benefit of my Master of Divinity studies at Beeson is the blessing of learning to read the Bible in the languages in which it was originally written. In the original Greek text of John, “logos” stands in for “Word.” A logos is an expression of a thought; it embodies an idea. This logos in John 1 is divine—it is Jesus Himself. Through this Word, everything was created; therefore, the Word is clearly not a created being. He is eternal. The Word, Christ, is light and life. As the Word, or logos, Jesus is therefore an expression of God, the embodiment of Him.
John 1 beautifully recounts that the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, which is exactly what we celebrate now in the seasons of Advent and Nativity. The divinity of God took on human skin and all the challenges that come with it—the ability to feel hunger, sickness, pain, sadness . . . and the ability to die. Jesus Christ was fully human and fully God, and came to dwell with man; the Creator came to live with His creation. Perhaps “dwelt” in verse 14 would be better rendered as “tabernacled,” according to the Greek text. Even though it isn’t proper English grammar (we’re turning a noun into a verb, after all!), I prefer this translation. We remember that the Tabernacle was the earthly habitation of God for Israel as they journeyed to the Promised Land, as recorded in the Old Testament. God, in Christ, did this again in the New Testament: He took up an earthly habitation in human form.
A dictionary definition of a prophet is “a person who speaks by divine inspiration or as the interpreter through whom the will of God is expressed.” As John 1 reveals, Jesus is the greatest Prophet. Not only does He speak by divine inspiration, He is divine. Not only does He interpret God’s will, He is God’s will. He reveals God’s character, as He is God. Thank You, Lord Christ, for taking on flesh and living among us, those so undeserving of Your presence.
John 1:1-18 (ESV):
The Word Became Flesh
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. 4 In him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7 He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him. 8 He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light.
9 The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. 11 He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. 12 But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.
14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. 15 (John bore witness about him, and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.’”) 16 For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. 17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known.