The Word Became Flesh

“And the word became flesh…” John 1:14.

I have spent a good deal of time lately meditating on this scripture. I had no intention of writing on this yet, it just didn’t seem to have that Easter feel. When I think of Easter I think of the Passover, the crucifixion, and, of course, the resurrection. But, for some reason, I have been drawn in to contemplating the beginning, “And the word became flesh,” and “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” John 1:14, 1.

Those of you who have read this blog from the beginning (In the beginning) know that I have written that the first event written about in scripture is actually Jesus and His redemptive work on the cross (if you look at the ancient Hebrew pictographs). It is almost incomprehensible to me that while the Lord was dictating to Moses the account of the creation of human history, He was simultaneously depicting the single most significant event in human history: the sacrifice of His Son.

Perhaps this is the very reason I have been drawn to John 1:14 lately, the sacrifice truly happened when the Word became flesh. I think we tend to read John 1:14 in some abstract, literary, perhaps even mystical kind of way, “Wow, Word becoming flesh, oooh.” I’m not criticizing this type of reading, I think every word of scripture could probably be read with the same awe, but there is a very literal, time-spanning truth to this statement.

“And the Word became flesh” is something that has to be understood a priori; in other words, knowable as existing prior to and independent of our experience. Why(?), because it gives scripture a slightly different but more accurate frame of reference, and because it is really cool to imagine it. I will try my best to paint this picture in words.

“In the beginning was the Word…” In the beginning of what? Exactly. In the beginning, before there was a what, before anything began. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” The Greek word for word is the word “logos”. The term “logos” in the original Greek is so rich, and can mean word (spoken, written, thought, or otherwise), reason (as in explanation), and meaning. If you think about it, all of these meanings apply. Just an aside, the language God uses is so glorious, where there may be ambiguity it is deliberate, not a reason for criticism. We try to make something mean either/or, when God probably meant both or all.

So, in the beginning was the logos, the spoken word (“Then God said…”), the Word (all of scripture), Jesus (the Word made flesh), and words period (language, see God Speaks: The Origin of the Alphabet). Quite a beginning, huh? If ever there was any doubt that the most creative and powerful force in the universe is the spoken word of God, I can no longer grasp it.

“And the Word became flesh…” This is key too. The Word that became flesh is the same logos. God’s spoken word became flesh, the reason for existence became flesh, the meaning of existence became flesh, and the Word (scripture) became flesh. This gives a whole new meaning and context to reading scripture, in particular the Old Testament. Think of it as the Old Testament becoming flesh. All the stories, accounts, symbolism, prophecies come together in and as the person that is Jesus.

Even the people represent different aspects of the Word made flesh: Abraham (faithfulness apart from law), Isaac (the promised sacrificial son), Jacob (preferred by the Gentile mother, not the Hebrew father), Joseph (rejected by Hebrew brothers, married Gentile bride, ultimately saves brothers), Moses (deliverer and shepherd in the law), Joshua (named Yeshua, “salvation”, leader into the promised land), David (shepherd king, lineage), Solomon (divine wisdom through humility), the list goes on and on.

The Word became flesh literally means the Word became flesh. God’s sacrifice did not occur at the cross, contrary to popular Christian thought. God sacrificed for us in the beginning.

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  1. #1 by Sermon Alive on April 1, 2008 - 6:35 am

    In the beginning was the one who is called the word. The word was with God and was truly God. From the very beginning the word was with God and with this word, God created all things. Nothing was made without the word. God had made the world with his word. The word became a human being and lived here with us. Jesus Christ was born just with the word. David

  2. #2 by Peter M. Lopez on April 1, 2008 - 9:19 am

    Thanks, David. I agree. It is quite remarkable, is it not?

  3. #3 by Ruth Housman on May 2, 2008 - 5:33 pm

    Hi, I came to this Web Blog as I was looking for the Hebrew/English equivalent for the word BARAK. As you know this is Obama’s first name, spelled BARACK.
    I found this to mean shining, and related to blessing. I am very interested in this discussion about the word becoming flesh, because for me words do deconstruct and I am seeing that within words, within that very potential that is within the letters themselves, is buried a deep, story that is about all of our lives, and thus, the word, becomes flesh. I am experiencing, in tandem, major synchronicity, meaning visible coincidence and I have been recording this for a long time. Is there on paper evidence for the existence of a prime mover? I am saying the Diary I am keeping cannot be random and that I am pulling in from the everything, wherever I go, whatever I do, it’s all connected and beautifully, like the unfolding of a rose, a story that concerns us all, because we are more connected to each other than we ever thought possible. Perhaps one day the parts of my Diary, now accumulating at The Hay Library, Brown University in Providence, R.I., in the Mel Yoken Collection of Letters, will be of some interest to the “world”. In world is WORD. And I might point out that in Jerusalem there is the MOT, or Museum of Tolerance, meaning in French WORD. I am saying language is not random and that I am jumping across languages and showing HOW, in the beginning was The WORD. Now this is humbling and brings me to my knees, another apparent meaning for BARAK, which is also MIXING and contained in Genesis, the Hebrew version.

    This story is entirely about LOVE.

  4. #4 by petermlopez on June 4, 2008 - 4:37 pm

    Thanks for returning, Ruth. I hope you found what you were looking for.

  5. #5 by Bill Stuart on June 10, 2013 - 8:15 am

    On many occasions I have heard Psalm 138:2 quoted. Many have sought to make sense of God’s esteeming His word above His name.
    Would it be reaching too far to interpret this as Jesus, “the Word made flesh”? For this same word was there at the beginning before creation. For me it would fit that a Father and Son who are one would glorify and exalt one another above themselves. So not so much the written word, but the “Living Word”


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