Section 4: Jesus
Week 2: Jesus Is Fully God
Day 1: Jesus Is God in the Flesh
Jesus: The Eternal Son
The book of Genesis opens with the words, “In the beginning” and then proceeds to explain how God created the universe. The implication is that God is eternal because he existed before the creation of the universe, which included the creation of time. That means if we were to go back as far as we can, we would never come to a point in time when God did not exist.
The same is true of Jesus. We spent last week looking at his humanity. Jesus was born human and lived a fully human life in a fully human body, growing in wisdom and faith just as we do. But Jesus didn’t come into existence at his birth, or even his conception. As God the Son, there was never a time when he didn’t exist. That’s why John begins his Gospel with words that are reminiscent of the beginning of Genesis: “In the beginning was the Word.” As we read through the entire gospel, it’s obvious the Word refers to Jesus.
That the Word existed before the creation of the universe shouldn’t come as a big surprise. After all, as John tells us, the Word is God himself. But there is something in the opening verses that should surprise us. God himself chose to take on human flesh.
The Eternal Son Chose to Dwell Among Us
When Jeni and I went to India several years ago, we stayed with friends. Our friends are from the States, but they had lived in India for a number of years already by the time we visited them. Over the course of that time, in an effort to fully assimilate into their new culture, our friends had shed most of their Western ways. Jeni and I had a lot of respect for that and were looking forward to getting an up close look at what life in India was really like.
When we got there, our friends gave us a tour of their home, and I noticed there was no toilet paper in the bathroom. My mind immediately went to their cultural commitment. You see, in India (and other countries) they don’t use toilet paper. Not to be gross (from our Western point of view anyway), but they use their left hand and a water pitcher. I knew instantly that was a long way outside my comfort zone. I frantically tried to figure out what I was going to do because I was pretty sure I couldn’t hold it for two weeks (though I did consider that as live option for a while).
Fortunately, as it turned out, our friends did have toilet paper. They just hadn’t replaced the roll. But I didn’t realize that for a couple of hours. Two of the most terrifying hours of my life!
In all seriousness though, our friends were committed to making sure there were no barriers between them and their neighbors. They fully immersed themselves in the culture around them in hopes that their neighbors would be able to look at them and say, “You’re one of us.”
In becoming human, God made a similar commitment. John 1:14 says, “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.”
The word translated “made his dwelling” is the same word that is used in the Old Testament for the tabernacle. After he brought Israel of out slavery in Egypt, God commanded the people to build the tabernacle, which was the place where God’s presence would dwell among them. When John says that Jesus became flesh and dwelt among us, he is saying that in Jesus we have the ultimate expression of God’s presence. Because Jesus is fully God, when he was here and walked the earth, we had the very presence of God in our midst.
That God himself would choose to dwell among us is remarkable when you consider our sin. When Adam and Eve sinned, they created a gap between God and us. God could have let that gap (chasm really) exist between us forever. But he didn’t. He was committed to having a relationship with us. So, he bridged that gap and crossed over to dwell among us. He didn’t just choose to dwell among us though. He chose to dwell among us in the most intimate way possible—he became one of us.
Think of a time when you had to do something that was very different from your routine. How did that make you feel? Why did you do it? What does it tell you that God would be willing to go to such lengths to draw near to you?
Try to just sit quietly for a few minutes and allow the depth of God’s love for you to sink in. Most of us wrestle with this, so try to simply let him communicate his love to you.