God With Us!

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:14)

“Christ became what we are that He might make us what He is.”
-Athanasius of Alexandria

The fullness of the Godhead in bodily form is difficult for us to get our minds around much less appreciate fully the magnum opus, if you will, of Christ becoming flesh. Deity condescending to dwell in a tent of flesh, Jesus’ incarnation makes known the depth of His love and concern for mankind. Subjecting Himself to all the miseries and calamities of human nature, sharing in our humanity, Jesus became flesh and “tabernacle” so to speak, or dwelt among man, and this so pleased the Father.

For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form. -Colossians 2:9

Paul tells us in Colossians:

For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross. (Colossians 1:19-20)

“God loves you as though you are the only person in the world, and He loves everyone the way He loves you.” -Augustine
Jesus came to be with man just as God was among the Israelites in the wilderness–with His presence filling the tabernacle and leading them by the cloud of His presence by day and the fire of His presence by night. We find in Exodus:

Then I will dwell among the Israelites and be their God. They will know that I am the LORD their God, who brought them out of Egypt so that I might dwell among them. I am the LORD their God. (Exodus 29:45-46)

Then the cloud covered the Tent of Meeting, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle. Moses could not enter the Tent of Meeting because the cloud had settled upon it, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle. (Exodus 40:34-35)

“Love seeks one thing only: the good of the one loved.”
-Thomas Merton

Certainly, our God is a “with us” God. From Genesis to Revelation, it has always been His desire to be among His people. He is the One who brings us out of our bondage to sin that we may dwell with Him and bring Him glory. Through the poor choice of sin, man’s fellowship was broken with the Father. Jesus came in human form yet, unlike us, lived a perfect life and became the perfect sacrifice so that through Him we may again “tabernacle” with our heavenly Father. His purpose in coming was to bring us out of our bondage of sin into the glory and fullness of Him. As believers we are clothed in Christ’s righteousness. Paul tells us:

“The God of Israel, the Saviour is sometimes a God that hideth Himself, but never a God that absenteth Himself, sometimes in the dark, but never at a distance.” -Matthew Henry

God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. (2 Corinthians 5:21)

Seeing the Glory of God

The rays of divine glory glistened beneath the veiled Deity of the God-man Jesus. As the sun is still the fountain of life though at times hidden by a dark mist of clouds, Christ clothed in flesh was fully God though His glory was not apparent to all. The witnesses of His glory were His disciples and followers. Those who were willing to go with Him gleaned more of Him. That is still true today. Those who seek Him diligently will be privy to more of His glory.

“It probably isn’t as important to say ‘you need a heart for God’ as it is to say ‘you need to know God’s heart for you’. The gospel isn’t about your goodness or your work, it’s about Christ’s goodness and work for you”.
-Steve Brown

The word translated “seen” in our verse for today is from the Greek word theaomai meaning “to wonder, to behold, view attentively; to contemplate. It is regard for something marked by a sense of wonderment, a contemplative and ponderous gaze which carefully and deliberately observes an object in order to perceive it correctly and in detail. Theaomai involves more than merely seeing, it is noticing, recognizing, and taking note of something with reflection and interest. This was no simple glance at Jesus by the apostle John. This was a careful, thoughtful, engaging look that led to insight.

Take It to Heart

We did not follow cleverly invented stories when we told you about the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ in power, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. -2 Peter 1:16
These guys lived life with Jesus–they walked along the road with Him, ate with Him, laughed with Him, ministered with Him, did life with Him. As a result, they claimed, “We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only”. Our faith is not grounded and built on hearsay or cleverly invented stories, but on truth.

“Is it not wonderful news to believe that salvation lies outside ourselves?” (Martin Luther)

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