The Word Was God – Christmas, December 25, 2019 (John 1:1-14)

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God (John 1:1).

Who is this “Word” the inspired Apostle says is God? As explained in verse 14 He the One who would become flesh, born of the Virgin Mary.  Though the “Word” (Greek Logos) has tremendous depth of meaning, consider a likely meaning being conveyed by the Apostle.

In the Old Testament a mysterious figure appears again and again.  He is frequently called The Angel of the Lord.  (An “angel” is someone sent with a message.  The Son of God is the ultimate angel, sent by the Father with the ultimate message.) On several occasions this Angel of the Lord either claims to be God or is recognized as God (Genesis 16:7ff; 21:17ff; 22:11ff; Exodus 3:2ff; etc.), and yet this Angel of the Lord is somehow “separate” from God.  God’s written revelation is insistent that there is but one God, one essence, yet Scripture also reveals there are three distinct persons, each fully God.  We can only celebrate Christmas correctly if we believe the true God is the Triune God.  Obviously this Angel of the Lord is the second person of the Holy Trinity.

The common language of the Jews in Jesus’ day was Aramaic.  There were Aramaic “versions” of the Hebrew Old Testament (called Targumim).  When these versions translated the Angel of the Lord, the Aramaic word used for Angel was mamre, which was commonly translated into Greek as Logos (“Word”).  Thus, as expressed by the Jews of Jesus day, the Old Testament God-angel was called the Word of the Lord.  From this understanding John is informing us that this Word of the Lord, the eternal Son of God, the second person of the Holy Trinity, became flesh (v. 14).  (Gieschen, Angelomorphic Christology, 100ff.)

To magnify the God-nature of the Word of God (the Son of God), the Apostle John informs us twice in his Gospel’s brief introduction that this Word is the Creator of the world: …without him was not any thing made that was made (v. 3b).  John’s wording causes us to pause and realize that this Son of God cannot be a created being, for without Him nothing was made that was made…which informs us that even as He created all things He, of course, did not create himself. As revealed in Holy Writ and as we confess in the Creeds, the Son of God is “uncreate”, “begotten, not made”.   In verse 10 John then again describes this Word of God as the Creator:  He was in the world and the world was made through Him…

Now comes John’s version of the Christmas story:  And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us (v. 14).  Indeed, the Son of God—the Word—became flesh.   “God’s Son would not be satisfied to merely appear in human form, as He had done numerous times in the Old Testament.  Through Mary He would actually become human, for through her He has actually, permanently taken into Himself flesh and blood.”  (Brege, Eating God’s Sacrifice, 112.)

Why would the Son of God, the very One through whom the world came into being, become flesh?  He became flesh that we might behold His glory!  And where is that glory most fully revealed?  It is revealed especially at the cross, for there we perceive love beyond all love, salvation overflowing and death absorbed.  Of course Christ’s death is meaningless without the resurrection. Only God can accomplish such work, and thus the Son of God had to become flesh so that by His death we who are dead flesh could be quickened and eternally taken into God.