“The mysterious union of our Lord’s two natures, which the Evangelist declares in the words of the text, fully reconciles the seeming contradiction. Hence his description of the person of Jesus. After having ascribed to him all the great and distinguishing characters of divinity; that he was “the Word which was from the beginning with God, and was God; that all things were made by him, and without him was not any thing made which was made,” (John I. 1, 2, 3;) he next subjoins the testimony of his incarnation: “the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us; and we beheld his glory; the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” With this description of the Messiah in our hand, we are now to enter upon that era, in which our blessed Lord made his appearance, when the minds of men were raised to the highest pitch in expectation of the coming Savior.” Robert Hawker
The Gospel of Jesus Christ contains four basic or fundamental truths. Remove any one of them and you possess a less than complete biblical gospel. This results in a fundamentally flawed message which is incapable of providing salvation for anyone from the penalty, power and eventual presence of sin.
What are those four fundamental truths? They are (1) God exists; (2) Sin exists; (3) Salvation exits; and (4) One Savior exists to provide salvation: Jesus Christ. To remove any of these four truth statements is to seriously compromise the Gospel.
These four fundamental truths of the Gospel are located throughout the Scriptures. However, the text which I draw to your attention is John 1:1-18. Identified as John’s prologue to his gospel, these 18 verses contain some of the most crucial statements found in Scripture regarding the Gospel and the personal identity of Jesus Christ. The first portion of the prologue is John 1:1-4: God Exists! The second portion is John 1:5-8: Sin Exists. The third portion is John 1:9-13; Salvation Exists! The fourth and final portion is that One, Savior Exists: John 1:14-18.
“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. (John bore witness about him, and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.’ ”) For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known.”
The Word became flesh. God became man. Two natures, one divine and one human, but one God/Man. Jesus Christ’s deity did not make Him super human. He experienced pain, sorrow, hunger and thirst. However, His humanity did not detract from His deity. He displayed omniscience, omnipotence and other attributes of God alone.
Jesus Christ took upon Himself all that is inherently true of humanity, except for sin, while at the same time not surrendering any aspect of His deity. Jesus was no less human that any other human being.
As Dr. John MacArthur explains, “While Christ as God was uncreated and eternal (see notes on v. 1), the word “became” emphasizes Christ’s taking on humanity (cf. Hebrews 1:1–3; 2:14–18). This reality is surely the most profound ever because it indicates that the Infinite became finite; the Eternal was conformed to time; the Invisible became visible; the supernatural One reduced himself to the natural. In the incarnation, however, the Word did not cease to be God but became God in human flesh, i.e., undiminished deity in human form as a man (1 Timothy 3:16).”
Dr. R. C. Sproul writes, “This the climatic assertion of the prologue. To some of John’s contemporaries, spirit and the divine were utterly opposite to matter and flesh. Others believed that the gods visited the earth disguised as human beings (Acts 14:11). But here a chasm is bridged: the eternal Word of God did not merely appear to be a human being, but actually became flesh. He took to Himself a complete human nature.”
It was at the Council of Chalcedon (A.D. 451), that the fifth century church affirmed that Jesus was truly man and truly God. Jesus Christ’s two natures, divine and human, are to be without mixture, confusion, separation or division. He is truly Immanuel, God in the flesh. God with us.
The glory of God often is revealed as bright, refulgent light (Exodus 24; Isaiah 60; revelation 21). John could very well be referring to his experience, along with his brother James and friend Peter, of the Transfiguration (Matthew 17). However, Jesus also manifested His glory through miraculous signs (John 2:11).
Final thought for today from a colleague of mine in the ministry. “In Christ alone can we meet God as Savior, so we can rightly worship God only in and through Christ.”
Soli deo Gloria!