And dwelt among us – John 1:1-14

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Transcript of sermon: 

Introduction 

In one of his stand-up specials, the comedian Jim Gaffigan talks about camping. In the monologue, Gaffigan mentions that his wife enjoys camping and says that it’s a tradition in her family. 

During the bit, Gaffigan describes himself as being “indoorsie.” 

But he points out that it used to be a tradition in everyone’s family before we invented the house. 

He asks “If it’s so great outside, then why are all the bugs trying to get in my house?”

Full disclosure. 

I don’t enjoy camping. 

I don’t understanding leaving the comfort of home, of a bed, of air conditioning, of indoor plumbing, of restful sleep. 

I’m not judging you if you like camping. Ok…I’m judging you a little bit. 

But it’s interesting to consider leaving my house to go into the woods. 

And I think about that and I think of what Jesus left to come into the world. 

Jesus left heaven to come into the world. 

I like my home. 

But that’s not heaven. 

He left the most perfect and spectacular place in creation to come into our world. 

He left a sinless place to come into a fallen world. He left a place of perfect beauty for a world that has gray skies and thunderstorms. He left a place of adoration for a world where he faced condemnation. 

    Series context

We’re continuing to walk through the opening section of John. 

Everything we’re doing this morning is ultimately building up to verse 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. 

Last week, we talked about the divinity of Jesus. 

Jesus is fully God. 

Today, we will look at his humanity. Jesus is also fully man. 

A theological term which describes the full divinity and humanity of Jesus is called the hypostatic union. 

Fully man and fully God. It’s not that he’s half God, half man. 

H’s not 50/50. 

He’s 100 percent God and 100 percent man. 

As the Trinity is a mystery beyond human comprehension or understanding, so too is the hypostasis of Jesus. 

Perfectly divine. Perfectly human. 

With that, let’s jump right into our text this morning. 

    Text

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. 7He 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. 

       Bridge 

We’re going to make three points today. 

Our main idea is that the God who created the world came into the world to save the world. 

  1. A righteous God 

In the opening verses of John 1, it’s establishing the divinity of Jesus. 

Last week, that was what the entire sermon revolved around. 

Jesus is eternal. 

He exists in fellowship with God. 

He is God. 

He made everything. 

That’s where John begins. 

But as this passage continues, it will also point to the righteousness of Christ. 

Verse 4

In him was life, and the life was the light of men.

Life is found in Jesus. This is true both in terms of all physical life but it is also true of eternal life that comes through Jesus. 

All life is in him. 

And we’re told that his life is the light of men. Verse 5 says:  The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

Verse 6 begins by talking about the Ministry of John the Baptist as one whose ministry and purpose was to point to Christ. 

We’ll have more on him in a couple weeks, but for now, I want to continue with this theme of light because it says of John the Baptist that He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, in verse 7.

Then again, talking of John the Baptist, it says in verse 8: 

He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light.

Jesus was and is the true light. 

The light of Christ shines in a dark and sinful world. 

Verse 9 says

The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world.

In this metaphor, light is good because it is light which provides illumination, truth, and enlightenment. 

And we’ve obviously been very brief in discussing how John uses this imagery of light. He continues to pick up the metaphor in this gospel and we continue to see how Jesus is the light and the goodness of following him. 

John 8:12, Jesus says 

I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life

Jesus will talk at greater length of light in darkness in John 3. The Lord contrasts light and darkness with good and evil specifically. 

He’ll talk of himself as the light that is in the world and people who love the darkness of sin more than the light of God.

the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. 20 For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. 21 But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.” 

Light and darkness is an almost universally recognized metaphor for good and evil. 

The light is associated with the goodness, and righteousness, and truth of God. 

John 12:46, Jesus says:

 I have come into the world as light, so that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness.

Jesus associates life through following him because he is the light. 

He is righteous and holy. 

Numerous texts in the New Testament speak to Christ’s sinlessness. 

1 Peter 2:21-22

Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. 22 He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth.

1 John 3:5 says 

he appeared in order to take away sins, and in him there is no sin

So that’s our first point.

  1. A blind humanity 

So far, we’ve been talking about the divinity and righteousness of Jesus. 

He is sinless. He is the light of the world. 

But the world is both sinful and blind to Christ. 

Verses 10 and 11 say 

 He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him.

The God who created the world was not recognized by his world. 

The only appropriate response to the Lord entering into creation would be to bow down and worship him, to behold his glory, to listen to his teaching, to bask in the glow of his light. 

But the world was so sinful that that was not what happened. 

He was despised and rejected. 

His teachings led many to hate him. 

And his teachings still do that. 

The world is often offended by the very words of God on earth. 

The world hates the gospel. 

1 Corinthians 1:18 says:

 For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God

People dislike the exclusivity of Jesus. They dislike that they have to turn to him for salvation. People dislike his moral teachings which expose our sin, because the world loves its sin and hates when the light of Christ shines. 

everyone who does wicked things hates the light

Our passage says that the world did not know him. The world did not know what they had. 

I used to enjoy a show called Undercover Boss. 

It was a reality show that would feature leaders within companies, such as founders, CEO’s, vice presidents, or other executives going undercover within their own companies. 

The show featured leaders for companies like Subway, True Value, Build-a-Bear, and even the Chicago Cubs. 

Throughout a week, they would spend a day in various entry level positions within the company. They would work alongside typical employees. They would get a sense of the work they were doing. 

But for the employees, they would be working with the most powerful person in the company and they had no idea. 

It’s not that the undercover boss was their boss, he was everyone’s boss. He was their boss’s boss’ boss’s boss. 

And they had no idea. 

Sometimes they’d complain about corporate policies or explain ways to work around the rules. 

They were with the head of the company and didn’t even know it. 

I think of Jesus coming into the world and I’m reminded of a similar irony in that people were interacting with the God of the universe and were mostly oblivious to that fact. 

He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him.

Jesus came to his world. It was his creation. And the world did not know him, the world did not respond to him as it should have, the world did not worship him. 

And it’s doubly ironic by the fact that Jesus came to the world that he made in order to die to save a world that was sinful. 

Many did not recognize Jesus for who he was. 

So our first point focused on the righteousness of Jesus. 

Our second point focuses on the blindness of humanity. 

III. A personal savior 

Verses 10 and 11 focus on the world and its failure to receive Jesus. 

But that’s not the case for everyone. 

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. 

Jesus is God. He is the light of the world. His world has largely rejected him, even though the world desperately needs him. 

But there are those who receive and believe in the message. 

That is the good news of the gospel. 

Notice that it doesn’t say opportunity. It doesn’t say chance.

If you believe in Jesus, because of his tremendous goodness and grace, he gives you the right to become a child of God. 

It has nothing to do with human goodness but our salvation is entirely by the will of God. 

Of Jesus, John has already said “he was in the world” and that “he came to his own” and that the light was coming into the world. 

But verse 14 takes it to a more relational and personal level. 

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us. 

That may be one of my top ten favorite verses in all of the Bible. 

The Word, we’ve talked about this the last two weeks, but it’s referring to Jesus. 

And it says that Jesus became flesh and dwelt among us.

The God who created the world came into the world to save the world. 

The eternal God of creation became flesh and blood, skin and bone. 

Jesus’ divinity matters but so does his humanity. 

It is because of his divine nature that he has the power to withstand and to bear the weight of sin. Our sin is an affront to God and no mere mortal is capable of redeeming himself before a Holy God, let alone redeeming humanity. 

But it also matters that Jesus is human because it is humanity that has sinned. And in being fully man, Jesus is like us in our humanity. Jesus entered sinful humanity, though he himself is without sin. 

His sinlessness matters because it took a sinless, perfect, and righteous sacrifice to pay for sins. 

His humanity and divinity make Jesus a worthy sacrifice and atonement for sinful people. 

Our verse says that the Word became flesh. 

God became man. 

Colossians 1:19 says 

For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell

The glory of God came to earth through the Lord Jesus. 

There’s one word in particular in this verse that brings it to a climactic point in this passage. 

Dwelt. 

The English doesn’t truly convey the meaning of what’s being said here. 

Let’s take a step back. 

In the Old Testament, people originally exist in perfect fellowship with God. 

That’s what Eden was. 

It was a holy place. A perfect place. A sinless place. 

Because of sin, fellowship with God was tarnished. The unencumbered closeness to God was lost due to sin. 

We were no longer holy. 

But the story doesn’t end there. 

Throughout the Old Testament, we see God bringing redemption to his people. 

God makes a covenant with Abraham. 

We see God’s continued faithfulness to his covenant. 

Fast forward. 

The Israelites were held in captivity in Egypt. After God had miraculously freed them, and while the Israelites were wandering in the desert, God gave them instructions for a structure called the tabernacle. The tabernacle was a tent that the Israelites were to travel with and it was a symbol for God’s presence with his people. 

It was a piece of what they had lost.

Sometimes it’s called the tabernacle. Sometimes it’s called the tent of meeting. 

 Exodus 40:34-35

 34 Then the cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. 35 And Moses was not able to enter the tent of meeting because the cloud settled on it, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle.

Exodus spells out very specific instructions on how the tabernacle was to be built, what types of items would be placed inside the tabernacle, etc. 

The instructions are so specific because it is a sacred and holy place. 

Again, it represented the very presence of God in the world.  

But this was pointing forward to something greater. 

The temple. 

When the Israelites entered the land, part of their purpose was in constructing the temple. As the tabernacle had been portable, the temple was meant to be permanent.

The overarching purposes were still the same. Most notably, it was where God met his people in the word. It was his presence in the world.  

The temple was the place where sacrifices were made. 

For the priests, there were specific instructions on what they had to do to prepare to enter into the Temple It was a sacred place. 

As with the tabernacle, not just anyone could go into the temple. 

The priest couldn’t just go into the temple any arbitrary way they wanted. 

It was a holy place. 

The temple was completed during the reign of Solomon 

I quoted this passage last week but 1 Kings 8. 

10 And when the priests came out of the Holy Place, a cloud filled the house of the Lord, 11 so that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud, for the glory of the Lord filled the house of the Lord.

 In both places, when the presence of the Lord comes into the temple, people can’t even stand in it because the presence is so glorious. 

The temple is hugely important in the Old Testament. 

Building the temple is important. 

The specific instructions for the temple are important. 

But this points forward to an even greater temple. To an even greater example of God’s presence with his people. 

And that is the significance of John 1:14. 

“The Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory.”

The word translated as “dwelt” more literally means that Jesus tabernacled among us, that Jesus pitched a tent among us. It’s the same word for tabernacle that was used centuries before Christ when the Old Testament was translated from Hebrew to Greek. 

Jesus is the tabernacle. He is the greater temple. He is the presence of God with his people because Jesus IS God with his people. 

So it’s not simply saying that Jesus dwelt among us. 

But rather: in Jesus, we see God became flesh and tabernacled with his people.  

Instead of a tent or a building, we have a person, we have God himself. 

The greater tabernacle, the greater temple. 

And he’s greater because he’s everything these places were meant to represent. 

It was only the priests who could go into the tabernacle and the temple. 

A priest serves as a mediator between man and God. 

Jesus is the greater priest. 

It is he who restores our relationship with God. 

These man made structures were where sacrifices were offered. 

Jesus himself is the sacrifice. 

And as I’ve said, the tabernacle and the temple represent the presence of God with his people. 

In Jesus, the Word became flesh and dwelt among us. 

The word became flesh and dwelt among us. 

The Word made his dwelling among us. He pitched a tent among us. He tabernacled among us. 

The God who created the world came into the world to save the world. 

There was no other way for a sinful people to be reconciled to the Lord than through God himself coming into the world. 

But because of his love for us. Because of his goodness. Because of his grace…

The Word became flesh and dwelt among us. 

The creator entered creation. 

In his commentary on John, the late New Testament Grant Osborne says of this verse “In my opinion, this is the single greatest sentence ever written in the history of human language, the deepest theological statement ever written. No finite human being could ever enter the realm of God and join his family. It could only come to pass if God himself were to enter the realm of humanity.”

How do you make yourself right before a Holy God? 

How do you earn standing before a perfect God? 

How do you deserve blessings before an all powerful God? 

You don’t and you can’t. 

Illustration – meeting the president

Let’s take a human example. 

The president. 

And not just president Trump, but whoever the president of the United States is at any point in time. 

Could you just go to the White House, walk right in, sit in the Oval Office and have a meeting with him? 

No. 

Could you just tell him how you think things should run and expect him to govern according to your views and values? 

No. 

Would you just expect him to do you favors? Let you fly around in Air Force One whenever you wanted, invite you to state dinners. 

Of course not. 

And the president is just a man. 

Yet we recognize that there’s a pretty high bar to meet with him, to be worthy of his time. 

He’s not inherently any better than any of us. He’s not glorious or holy. 

But then we consider the presence of God. Who is almighty. Who is glorious. Who is awesome. 

Our world likes to have a very casual and cavalier attitude that we can just walk into the throne room of heaven, that we can just walk into the presence of God on our own terms, just because we feel like it. We like to believe that we’re special, we’re good, we’re worthy on our own. 

Jesus has shown us that he is the way but we want to go our own way. 

Imperfect people are not worthy of a perfect and holy God. 

But the word became flesh and dwelt among us. 

That’s not our goodness. 

It’s his goodness. 

He made a way for us to be with him, even though we do not deserve it.

Conclusion 

The Word became flesh. 

God became one of us so we could be with him. 

He is a personal God. 

It doesn’t get more personal than Jesus entering his creation. 

Sometimes it can be tempting to doubt if God really knows what we’re going through when we’re struggling. It can be tempting to wonder if God really cares.  

He knows. 

He knows what it’s like to live in a sinful world. 

He knows what it’s like to have people oppose him and not like him. 

He knows what it’s like to be hated for no reason. 

He knows what it’s like to be slandered. 

He knows what it’s like to cry. 

He knows what it’s like to be let down. 

He knows what it’s like to be betrayed. 

He knows what it’s like to suffer and feel pain. 

He knows what it’s like to face injustice. 

He knows. 

It can be be easy to focus on Christ’s glory and divinity to the point where we forget his humanity. 

But we see his humanity in this passage. 

The Word became flesh and dwelt among us. 

It’s often said of people in politics who have opinions on public policies. We feel like they can’t relate to the average person. 

There’s the old saying not to judge a person until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes. 

Jesus lived a lifetime in our shoes. 

Sometimes God can seem distant. 

He’s a personal God who invites us to know him. 

He joined us in our humanity. He came to earth so that we could have heaven. He died so that we could have life. He was forsaken so we could be children of God. 

The Word became flesh and dwelt among us. 

 

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