约翰福音信息之八---道成肉身（The Word became Flesh）
“The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us. We have seen His glory, the glory of the One and Only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” （John 1:14）
The gospel of John is written in a very simple Greek language, yet its theology is so deep that it is very hard to comprehend and to grasp it.
John 1:14 is one of the most significant biblical reference of Christology, it contains an abundant theological significance, which includes the following aspects of Christian doctrines:
The Incarnation of Christ（基督的道成肉身）；
The Deity and Humanity of Christ （基督的神人二重性）；
The Virgin Birth of Christ （基督的童女降生）；
The Trinity （三位一体）。
I. The Word Became Flesh（基督道成肉身）
In John’s theological prologue of the gospel, he first declared the pre-existence of the Word, the Word is the everlasting One in eternity. Then he mentioned the co-existence of the Word with God, indicated that the Word is a personal being, “in the beginning was the Word.” Then John the apostle further proclaimed the Word’s self-existence, He was eternally God Himself. He was the creator, all things were created through Him, and without Him nothing was created that has been created. Not only was He the creator, He was also the origin and the source of Life, and He was also the Light that gives light to all men.
“The Word” now reappears here in John 1:14, “the Word became flesh.” （John 1:14）
In the beginning was the Word, “The Word” never came to be, but now “The Word” came to become flesh, that is, God became a man.
The eternal One became a man. Jesus Christ is God in human flesh, He is both God and man. That is why there are so many heresies concerning the essence, nature and person of Jesus Christ.
The Word became flesh, that is the central truth of Christianity, the most essential doctrine in Christian faith. That is the theme of the gospel of John, that is the required conviction for anyone who wants to escape the hell and to receive the eternal life. （道成肉身，乃基督教的核心教义，约翰福音的主题，是任何人脱离地狱进入永生必须的确信！）
Can you imagine? God became a Man, the infinite became a finite, the invisible became the visible, the eternal everlasting One entered into time and space, the Omnipresence One became confined in a human body, the almighty creator in heaven came to the earth of His own creation.
The Word became flesh, which is also called incarnation, is not only one of the most important Christian doctrine, it is also one of the most profound theological mystery in the Christian faith.
God became a man yet He is still God, He came from heaven to earth yet He is still in heaven, the creator entered into His own creation yet He is still the almighty creator, He veiled His glory in a form of human body yet He is still the glorious Holy One. In a word, He is the true God and true man simultaneously in the union of the person of Jesus Christ.
Just as the Chalcedonian Creed states:
“One and the same Christ, Son, Lord, only begotten, to be acknowledged in two natures, inconfusedly, unchangeably, indivisibly, inseparably; the distinction of natures being by no means taken away by the union, but rather the property of each nature being preserved, and concurring in one Person and one Subsistence, not parted or divided into two persons, but one and the same Son, and only begotten, God the Word, the Lord Jesus Christ.”
Martin Luther captured the mystery in his advent hymn, "All Praise to Thee, Eternal Lord": 《赞美你，永恒的救主》
Once did the skies before Thee bow,
A virgin's arms contain Thee now;
Angels who did in Thee rejoice,
Now listen for Thine infant voice.
“Beyond all question, the mystery of godliness is great: He appeared in a body, was vindicated by the Spirit, was seen by angels, was preached among the nations, was believed on in the world, was taken up in glory.”（1 Tim 3:16）
Now peoples （including some well-known universities）have invested a lot of resource to search for the outer space intelligence or aliens, it is a kind of waste of time and financial resource.
For the Bible has clearly told us: “天，是耶和华的天。地，祂却给了世人。” （“The highest heavens belong to the LORD, but the earth He has given to man.”）（Ps 115:16）
There is no evidence to show that there is life in other planet, according to the Scripture, mankind only lives on the earth.
Yet the majority of the people purposely or unconsciously neglect the most important historical shocking event in the human history: that God had indeed visited mankind, for the Word became flesh and dwelt among men.（绝大多数人刻意忽略这样的事实：万物的创造主真的曾经造访人类—祂道成肉身住在人的中间！）
As a matter of fact, His coming was predicted again and again in the Old Testament.
He was called the Seed of woman (Gen 3:15), He was predicted to come from the tribe of Judah (Gen 49:10), He was to have a virgin birth (Isa 7:14), He was to be born in a little town of Bethlehem (Micah 5:2).（祂被称为女人的后裔，出自犹大支派，童女所生，生于伯利恒小城。）
“But when the time had fully come, God sent His Son, born of a woman, born under law.” （Gal 4:4）
“In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days He has spoken to us by His Son.” （Heb 1:1-2）
The apostle John testified concerning Him, “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched--this we proclaim concerning the Word of life.” (1 John 1:1)
The Word became flesh, the creator came to the world, yet “He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was His own, but His own did not receive him.” (John 1:10-11)
When He came to the world, the world did not have a room for Him （Luke 2:7）; when He walked on the world, He “has no place to lay His head.” (Matt 8:20)
When He was on the world, the world rejected Him, insulted Him, mocked at Him and finally killed Him.
Did He know what would He have to face on the world?
Surely He knew, “It was for this very reason I came to this hour.” (John 12:27)
By the way, Tim Keller talked a lot about the contextualization of the gospel in his book <<Center Church>>, the Incarnation of Jesus Christ is the best example of contextualization. For He Himself came to seek and save which was lost.
II. Made His dwelling among us （住在我们中间）
“The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us.” (John 1:14)
The Word, had always exist with God the Father in heaven, but now the Word came to the world in a human body to dwell among men.
The Greek word “dwell” means to make a tabernacle, or to pitch a tent. Literally, the Word pitched His tent to live among us. （那位太初就有的“道”—基督，在地上搭一个帐篷住在人的中间！）
This immediately reminds us the tabernacle in the Old Testament where God was meeting with man.
“Then have them make a sanctuary for me, and I will dwell among them. Make this tabernacle and all its furnishings exactly like the pattern I will show you.” (Exod 25:8-9)
“Now Moses used to take a tent and pitch it outside the camp some distance away, calling it the "tent of meeting." Anyone inquiring of the LORD would go to the tent of meeting outside the camp.” (Exod 33:7)
So, the tabernacle symbolized the dwelling place of God in the midst of His people. In the Holy of holies of the tabernacle, God manifested His presence and His grace on the mercy seat. In the Old Testament, no one can see the face of God, only the high priest entered into the Holy of Holies once a year with the blood of the sacrifice.
The Tabernacle was the temporary arrangement for man to approach the holy God, it was a place of grace for sinners. Since sinners could not approach close to God in heaven, so God did a remarkable thing: The eternal Word, the Son of God, God Himself pitched a “tent of meeting” among the men: “The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us.” (John 1:14)
So Jesus Christ became a dwelling place for God, He is the ultimate fulfillment of the OT Tabernacle. （耶稣基督应验旧约的会幕，称为神与人相会的所在。）
“But the temple he had spoken of was his body.” (John 2:21)
“For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form.”（Col 2:9）
“Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, His body.”（Heb 10:19-20）
III. We have seen His glory （独生子的荣光）
“We have seen His glory, the glory of the One and Only Son.” (John 1:14)
Our God is the glorious God.
In Exodus 33, Moses asked God, “Now show me your glory.”（“求你显出你的荣耀给我看。”） (出/Exod 33:18)
But God said to Moses, “you cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live.”（“你不能看见我的面，因为人见我的面不能存活。”）（出/Exod 33:20）
King David praise God in his Psalms.
“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands.” （“诸天述说神的荣耀，穹苍传扬祂的手段。”）（诗/Ps 19:1）
“Be exalted, O God, above the heavens; let your glory be over all the earth.”（Ps 57:5）
Prophet Isaiah had ever seen the glory of Gon in his vision.
“And they (angels) were calling to one another: "Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty; the whole earth is full of His glory."” (Isa 6:3)
Yet when the glorious God came to the world, He veiled His glory by clothing Himself with human flesh. When He came to the world His own creation, He appeared as a lowly man. （基督隐藏祂的荣耀，披上人性的肉体！）
“He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to Him, nothing in His appearance that we should desire Him. He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces He was despised, and we esteemed Him not.” (Isa 53:2-3)
When He walked on the earth, because of His toil and suffer, He appearance looked wan and sallow.
Once the pharisees argued with Him, “You are not yet fifty years old, and you have seen Abraham?” （John 8:57）
No wonder people did not recognize Him, did not receive Him.
As a matter of fact, whom the prophet Isaiah saw in his vision was He, the Son of God, the preincarnate Christ. （以赛亚在异象中所看到的正是道成肉身之前的耶稣基督！）
“Isaiah said this because he saw Jesus' glory and spoke about Him.”（John 12:41）
Yet though He veiled His glory by being clothed with human flesh, He still manifested His glory in several ways. （虽然祂一肉体遮盖祂的荣耀，但祂仍然彰显祂自己的荣耀！）
First, His sinless perfect life on earth revealed His glory.
He ever said to the Pharisees, “ Can any of you prove me guilty of sin?” “你们中间谁能指证我有罪呢？”（约/John 8:46）
While Jesus Christ was trialed by Roman governor, Pilate said to the Jews for three times, “I find no basis for a charge against Him. ” (John 18:38) “我查不出他有什么罪来。” （约18:38）
Second, the miracles He performed also demonstrated His glory.
“This, the first of His miraculous signs, Jesus performed at Cana in Galilee. He thus revealed His glory, and His disciples put their faith in Him.” (John 2:11)
Third, on the mount of transfiguration He showed His glory.
“There He was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light.” (Matt 17:2)
The disciples had vividly seen His glory so much that many years later they still remember His glory deep in their heart.
“We were eyewitnesses of His majesty. For He received honor and glory from God the Father when the voice came to Him from the Majestic Glory, saying, "This is My Son, whom I love; with Him I am well pleased."” (2 Pet 2:16-17)
Fourth, the cross of Jesus Christ, which was regarded by men as a sign of humiliation and shame, yet He considered it as His glory.
“Jesus replied, "The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified."” (John 12:23)
Then He prayed to God the Father, “And now, Father, glorify Me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began.” (John 17:5)
This is His glory, the unique splendor and honor seen in His life, miracles, death and resurrection, that is “the glory of the One and Only Son.” (John 1:14)
Jesus Christ is the Son of God in a sense totally different from someone who believes in Jesus and becomes a child of God, He is the Son of God in a class all by Himself. He is the One and Only Son, we believers are children of God through Him by believing in Him, yet He is eternal and has the same essence with God the Father.
IV. Full of grace and truth（满有恩典真理）
“The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us…. full of grace and truth.” （John 1:14）
When Moses asked God to show His glory, God passed in front of Moses and proclaiming---
“’The LORD, the LORD, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. Yet He does not leave the guilty unpunished.’” (Exod 34:6-7)
This is God’s own attributes of love and righteous, grace and truth.
When Jesus came to the world, He was God Himself in a human flesh, He came to make God known, and to reveal the very heart of God.
“The Savior was full of grace and truth. On the one hand, full of undeserved kindness for others, He was also completely honest and upright, and He never excused sin or approved evil. To be completely gracious and at the same time completely righteous is something that only God can be.” (William MacDonald, Believer’s Bible Commentary, Thomas Nelson Publishers 1995)
When Lord Jesus talked with the Samaritan woman, He graciously offered her the living water, which is the eternal life, yet He did not compromise her lifestyle of sin. （耶稣基督满有怜悯地赐给撒玛利亚妇人活水，但却并不妥协她犯罪的生活。）
“Jesus answered her, "If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked Him and He would have given you living water… whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life."” (John 4:10;14)
Then He did not leave her sin undisposed, He pointed out her life of sin, “He told her, "Go, call your husband and come back."” (John 4:16)
In John 8, the Pharisees brought a woman who committed in adultery to Jesus and said to Him, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?"（John 8:4-5）
Jesus said to them, “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” (John 8:7) “你们中间谁是没有罪的，谁就可以先拿石头打她。”（约8:7）
When the crowds heard Jesus’ words, they left one by one until only the woman was standing there.
Finally, “Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?" "No one, sir," she said. "Then neither do I condemn you," Jesus declared. "Go now and leave your life of sin."” (John 8:10-11)
No doubt, “full of grace and truth” was ultimately demonstrated in His death and resurrection for the salvation for sinners.
Finally, let’s meditate this question: Why is it necessary of incarnation, the Word became flesh?
1. To complete God’s Salvation（成就赦罪救恩）
2. To reveal the glory of God （彰显神的荣耀）
3. To be the High Priest of man（体恤世人软弱）
4. To be the perfect example （完美生活榜样）
5. To be mediator between God and man （神人之间的中保）