The Incarnate Word
A devotional thought from Geoff Ashley for “Jesus’ Humanity”
Spend some time reading John 1:1-14. Think about this affirmation: “The Word became flesh.” This short phrase sounds so simple, yet these four words contain a vast treasury of truth.
This Word, which was with God, which created all things, and who is God, became man. Divinity and humanity were united in one Person—the one Son of God. The one Son of Man.
The Word became flesh. This is a short phrase but one that lies at the root of a major doctrinal debate in the early church. For some, “became” only meant “seemed to be.” For others, it was easy to subtract from the author’s meaning by adding another word; thus, the Word became “somewhat” or “partly” human. Others might think that the Word gave up His divinity when He was united to humanity, as a caterpillar transitions to a butterfly.
Such linguistic gymnastics do not capture the biblical depiction of the incarnation of the Son of God. When the Bible says that the Word became flesh, it means that the Son of God took on humanity and dwelt among us as one of us, all the while retaining His deity. It was understood by early theologians that Jesus remained what He was (God) and became what He was not (man).
The Word became flesh. Such a short and simple phrase, and yet it is infused with glory and mystery. In this session we explore the breathtaking beauties of Christ’s becoming. Pray that God will open your eyes that you might behold the Son.
Pause and Reflect
• Why do you think the Christian faith puts such an emphasis on the incarnation and humanity of Christ?
• What are some reasons people might be hesitant to accept Christ’s deity and humanity?
• How confident are you that Jesus Christ was both fully God and fully man? Are you confused or skeptical regarding this truth?