“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.