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.
14 Καὶ ὁ λόγος σὰρξ ἐγένετο καὶ ἐσκήνωσεν ἐν ἡμῖν, καὶ ἐθεασάμεθα τὴν δόξαν αὐτοῦ, δόξαν ὡς μονογενοῦς παρὰ πατρός, πλήρης χάριτος καὶ ἀληθείας·
The Word Became Flesh
This verse stops us in our tracks. It is as if everything prior to it leads up to this amazing phrase: “And the Word became flesh and lived among us…”.
Notice our old friend ἐγένετο (“to create” — the word “Genesis” comes from ). We’ve already seen how this create word connected with the first chapter of Genesis where God was “genesis’ing” all over the place! And what was God creating? Physical stuff. Stuff you can touch, feel, and handle.
The Word (logos) that existed from the beginning, and was with God, and was God: that Word became flesh (σὰρξ)! You could translate this as, “And the Word was created into flesh” or “made as fleshly creature.” With our create word here, it is not that the logos was created — John has already said the Word pre-existed as God — but rather the pre-existing Word was then created FLESH. The Word became what he was not, without ceasing to be what he was.
God got all wrapped up in a human being. Flesh and blood. One who lived among us.
The strength of this phrase in Greek is clear: the Word didn’t jump into a pre-existing body — some body God climbed into. God didn’t ride around in a body vehicle. The Word, rather, was made flesh. And so the creed says, “Fully human; fully divine.”
Why is this important?
It means the incarnate Word was not a spook, a ghost, a ghoul. Not a projection, a vision or a vapor.
He was the real stuff.
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
So, one gem to mine here: God didn’t come down as a spiritual being to fake a real death and then rise to heaven and holler at us to follow him there; he came down as the stuff we are made of, lived in our real stuff realm, suffered our real lives, hung on a real cross and was held there by real nails. Risen from the dead, he was resurrected real stuff.
And that means he really knows you, the real you, the nitty gritty you, soiled, dirt-under-the-fingernails, out-of-dust-you-were-made you. God doesn’t grab a bullhorn and yell down, “If you’re good enough you might make it here to where I am!”
God came down. Took on us. Suffered and died as one of us. Intimately knows us and the real, oppressive, fallen world we live in. And then rose as the first of all of us to redeem the Real Stuff and the Real You.