The Word Was Made Flesh
Rev. Charles Westby, Pastor
John 1:1-3, John 1:14, John 1:18
December 25, 2019

Dear friends in Christ, grace, mercy, and peace to you from God our Father, and our Savior Jesus Christ.

In the Gospel reading from John 1, we read: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. Everything was made through Him and not one thing that has been made was made apart from Him. . . . And the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only begotten Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. . . . No one has ever seen God; the only begotten Son, who is at the Father’s side, He has made him known.”

Here the Holy Spirit through the Apostle John teaches that the Word was in the beginning. This Word was with God and was God. God made everything through this Word. Not one thing in all creation was made apart from the Word.

This Word is eternal. He existed at the beginning when there was nothing. He is absolutely not a created thing, as all things were created through Him.

This Word is distinct from God because it says that the Word was with God. But this Word is also true God, because it says that the Word was God.

Maybe this seems a little heavy for Christmas Day, but this is Trinitarian talk. John leads us into the Holy Trinity, since the Word is distinct from God and yet is true God with God.

In our day and age, it is also vitally important to point out that nothing was made apart from the Word. God works only through the Word with respect to all creation. God is only known through Him. God does not relate to any created thing apart from Him.

And then John says these astounding words: The Word was made flesh and dwelt among us. The Word was made a true human being, like you and me. This Word made flesh is Jesus Christ, the Man from Nazareth in Galilee, born of Mary at Bethlehem.

The Word was made a true human being because the word “flesh” here means a human being. Jesus Christ is a true human being, like you and me, except without sin. He does not have the sinful corruption that comes from Adam, as He was conceived by the Holy Spirit.

The Word being made flesh is astounding when we realize some things about God. God in His nature is not a creature. God in His nature is not made. He makes everything else out of nothing by His omnipotent power. He has no limitations and no weakness. And He upholds all things even now by His power. He is not an absent Creator.

God as almighty God in His nature is not subject to suffering. He is also not subject to change. God does not become something else through time. He is eternal.

Though God is personal and responsive, though He is love and compassion, it is not like we humans can do anything to God. It is not like He suffers anything from us, in His nature. It is not like anything we do stops God from being God.

We also do not make God, God, and He does not become God if we somehow let Him. God exercises His divine prerogatives irrespective of what humans think. It is just that He would like to save us as He loves us, just as He loved as when He created us. He is living. He is love and compassion.

But now the Spirit says through John that the word was made flesh. The Word, that is fully and truly God, was made a creature.

Now humans can do things to God, and they will, when they nail Him to a cross. Now God who is immune to suffering, will suffer. Now God who cannot be tempted to sin, will suffer temptation. Now God who is unaffected by the soul pain of death and loss that we feel, will feel such pain as He felt it and wept at the tomb of His good friend Lazarus (John 11).

And now we can say of God that He has good friends among us humans. You are God’s friend if you are a friend of Jesus. Jesus befriends you, so you can truly say that God very personally befriends you.

There is more. The Creator will suffer His own just penalty and wrath against sin in the sinner’s stead. The Creator will become subject to the penalties imposed on the sinful and fallen creation. And then, in our flesh, in our humanity, the Creator will rise from that death and judgment victorious. In our flesh He will defeat sin, death, and the devil who taught us to sin. Where in our flesh Adam failed, and we fail, the Word who made us and is now made flesh will win the victory. He in our flesh wins the day, makes atonement for sin, and arises from death in glorious indestructible life.

And now He occupies the place of almighty power, still in our flesh, as our brother. And there He rules to redeem us with His grace and mercy.

Why did He do it? The Spirit through John says that “no one has ever seen God” (John 1:18). There is an order of things in the Word being made flesh.

First, it was the Word as Word that was made flesh. The Word existed as Word before He was made flesh. It is not the case that the flesh was made the Word, as if God somehow evolves out of humanity, out of history. This is a common heresy of our age that God evolves in His being as history evolves. This heresy is the root of saying that moral values can change. The Word existed as Word, as God with God, at the Father’s side from all eternity. Then when the fullness of time had come, He was made flesh (Gal. 4:4). The Word existing as God was the starting point.

It is also the starting point that no one has seen God. No one. Not even Moses. Moses did, in fact, ask to see God’s glory, that is, to see God as God is in Himself. This is in Exodus 33, verses 18-23. In verse 20 there, God says that “no man shall see Me, and live” (Ex. 33:20 NKJV).

When God created us through the Word at the beginning, we had an unbroken spiritual communion with God. God in His own being was no threat to us. He was pure joy, our life, the great Good in which we delighted. But then the Devil taught us to think different things about God and to disobey Him in unbelief.

Now what God said to Moses is true: No one shall see Me, and live. Now what John says is true. No one has ever seen God.

And there is no way you can find God on your own. There is no effort, no method, no religious practice of any kind made up by humans by which you can find God. When we try to find God in our own way, through our own efforts, God vanishes, slips through our fingers, and ceases to be found.

Since the fall, people have thought that they can find God in their own efforts, and they still think this today. But these “gods” and glories people think for themselves are idols; they are not god. This is because we cannot find God; God must come and find us.

And because His glory is death to us, He must come to us somehow hiding His true and essential glory, so He can dwell among us and befriend us and live with us and speak to us. Yet, we still need to somehow have evidence that it is truly God that has come to us hidden, in the way He has chosen to come to us. So, Jesus caused the blind to see, the lame to walk, the deaf to hear. He brought some who had died back to life. He drove out the devil. And He Himself rose victorious over death.

What a wonder and pure joy that God in His grace and love for us came to dwell among us and befriend us and live with us and speak to us when the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us. He did this in Jesus Christ the Lord. And because Jesus came and then died and rose, being in Himself our redemption and life with God, the Word made flesh will lead us into God’s very presence one day where we can see God face to face in His glory and not be destroyed but live.

The thing you as a human being should most long for is to be able to be in God’s unveiled presence, seeing Him face-to-face for real, and being fully alive in His joy and peace. Then you will be completely fulfilled and completely whole. The Word was made flesh to make this hope a reality for you. The Word made flesh makes this hope a reality for you by taking away your sin in His own blood.

You are in the most holy place, as you are gathered here this Christmas Day, and any Day we are gathered in Name of the Word made flesh, for it is in the Word made flesh that God meets us and makes us His temple.

May you abound this Day and everyday in the amazing thing God has done, in the Word becoming flesh, and in His grace and love as the reason He has done it.



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