January 5, 2014
The Word Became Flesh
In the movies where this is a conflict between good and evil, there is often a long period of time in which the bad guys are planning their crime of the century. Those crimes usually take place during the night when everything is dark. That makes sense, right? It is easier to hide the action and escape without getting caught.
Then just as the criminals think that they’ve gotten away with their actions, an alarm is triggered with lights flashing and loud sirens going off. Then suddenly light starts pouring over the evil thieves from cop cars, flashlights, and floodlights. The bad guys have been exposed, they are caught in the act, and they cannot hide. Good has once again trumped evil for another day.
This very popular movie sequence is the basis for most good vs. bad scenarios. It is ingrained in our heads…the color black stands for evil and white represent good. But it isn’t simply a movie phenomenon. The origins of these categories go back to Biblical times.
We will go a little deeper on this subject in a minute but first let’s take a look at the first 5 verses of today’s text. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.”
In the beginning (at the beginning of creation), the Word was already present with God, and HE was God. Isn’t this just a little mind-bending? The WORD was with and was God! Everything came into being through him. Through who? The WORD. Let’s go back to the creation story in Genesis 1:1. “In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth, the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while a wind from God swept over the face of the waters. Then God SAID, ‘Let there be light’; and there was light.”
Isn’t it interesting that creation of light was the first thing that God created? Darkness already covered the face of the deep! And how did God create light? He SAID it…he created through the Word. “All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being.” If God didn’t speak something into creation, it wasn’t created. Therefore the Word was involved in all of creation.
Back to the Gospel of John. “What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.” Skipping ahead to verse 9, “The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.”
What is the Word that was with God and was God? The words that we speak help others understand us. Our words define who we are. The makeup of our character, our personality, and our very spirits are recognizable through the words of our mouth. Within a short period of time, we will judge someone we’ve just met based on their speech. Accent, grammar usage, volume, clarity, choice of words, and other qualities quickly affect our perception of another person.
And not only our words, but also our actions, right? Watching a person’s actions heavily emphasizes our views of them. Are they acting friendly, disrespectfully, compassionately or rudely? Get this…While we differentiate words from action (‘Do as I say, not as I do’ or ‘walk the talk’) as two separate in individual activities, God has the ability to do both at once. He spoke AND acted (created) through the WORD! His very being, which is based on truth, love, justice, and mercy, existed as his Word that became life.
Turn to John 1 verse 14. “And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth.” Look back to verses 3 and 4, “What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people.” The Word that was with God and was God became a human being in the birth of Jesus.
He is the light for all people, shining truth and grace upon us. We like the midnight crime villains have been exposed by the truth and grace of Christ. Jesus (the light) knows every thought, every desire, and every action that you and I have ever had. We cannot hide from God’s light. And while his light exposes us, it renews us with the warmth of his love and forgiveness and provides guidance for our journeys.
The Word became flesh. We don’t have to fear truth. We can be real with God and with ourselves trusting his promise of abundant life and his everlasting presence. Thanks be to God. Amen.