A Word for Today | John 1:14
John 1:14 provides what is probably the most eloquent statement of the incarnation of Christ: “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us.” The Greek word for “dwelt” is particularly illuminating, since it literally means “tabernacle.” John makes a deliberate parallel between Christ’s incarnation and the Old Testament tabernacle that dwelt with Israel during the exodus journey.
For John to describe Jesus as the “tabernacle” tells us four things about our Savior. First, the tabernacle was a portable structure designed for the wilderness journey of Israel. Likewise, our Savior was passing through this world towards a destination in heaven. The same is true for us through our union with Christ: we no longer belong to this desert world but pass through it to the Promised Land ahead. Second, the tabernacle was humble in appearance. Its outward appearance paled in comparison to the pyramids of Egypt or the ziggurats of Babylon. Looking on its canvas hides, you would see nothing glittering nor any great artistry. The same was true of Jesus. He was humble and poor in this world, offering little in the way of worldly expectations. So it is with the church now. Third, the tabernacle was at the center of Israel’s camp (Num. 2:17). Likewise, Jesus stands at the center of Christianity, and His presence is our gathering place for the worship of God. Indeed, in Jesus Christ, God has tabernacled with us. Fourth, for all this, Jesus displayed the true glory of God – the glory of holiness and grace – to the eyes of faith. John says, “we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father” (Jn. 1:14).
This supplies a workable definition of a Christian. A Christian is someone who sees in Jesus the glory of God, while passing through this world in humility but with the presence of God through His Son. And as Jesus was glorified by obeying the will of His Father, we also have the privilege of displaying His glory through our abiding faith during this present crisis. Jesus prayed to the Father: “I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do” (Jn. 17:4). Whatever results from the coronavirus, Christians will display God’s glory if we only remain steadfast in faith, doing good works and bearing testimony to the Word who became flesh, through whom God’s glory shines in our hearts.
In Christ’s Love,