40 Days of Hope
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Wednesday, March 20
The Word Became Flesh
Of all the places I visited in Israel, Bethlehem was the most meaningful for me. My visit to the Church of the Nativity is forever etched in my memory.
The Emperor Constantine the Great sent his mother, Helena, to the Holy Land in AD 325 or so. She was given the authority to discover artifacts and build churches. She visited Bethlehem and asked the local Christians where Jesus had been born. They took her to this complex of caves not far from the Shepherds’ Field. On that ancient holy site, the Church of the Nativity was built.
Just walking around the church was special. Then, we descended to the caves below the church. Somewhere in this vicinity, God became flesh! The eternal Son of God set aside the privileges of the Godhead and robed Himself with human flesh. He arrived on planet earth as a vulnerable infant. He succumbed Himself to the limitations of humanity.
John connects the miracle of the Incarnation to the ancient story of Israel. The Word became flesh and “made His dwelling” among us. In Greek, that phrase is used to describe the Tabernacle in the Old Testament. And—John declares that God’s glory was on display in and through Jesus just as God’s glory filled the Tabernacle.
The Glory of God in Christ will be communicated throughout John’s Gospel. However, it will stretch the theology of those early readers because the Glory of God will even be on display through the suffering and crucifixion of Jesus!
Further, in Jesus, we also discover grace and truth. Jesus is the embodiment of the grace of God and the truth of God. Moses is a hero to all of us----but he doesn’t compare to Jesus! Moses asked one time to see God’s face and God refused. But Jesus came from the very presence of God to show us the way to God.
Again --- Wow! The miracle of the Incarnation is the distinguishing feature of Christianity. Jesus Christ is not just a miracle-worker, prophet, great teacher, inspiring leader, world figure --- He is the Son of God!
The Incarnation – It is incomparable. Thank God today for it.