The Sunday Scoop: The Word Became Flesh

This content is from OPEN, a new online resource that serves as a guided journey through the Bible.

Describing the birth of Jesus, John said, “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:14). “Dwelt” literally means tabernacled, or pitched his tent, so John is telling us that when Jesus was born the presence of God came down among His people.

One day, Jesus came to the temple and said, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up” (John 2:19). Those who heard him thought he was referring to the building, but Jesus was referring to His own body, indicating that He Himself is the meeting place between God and man. “If you want to meet with God,” He was saying, “come to Me.”

In the past, the meeting place between God and man had been a place, but now the meeting place between God and man is a person. That’s why Jesus said, “Whatever you ask of the Father in my name, he will give it you” (John 16:23).

When the disciples were with Jesus, they had open access to the presence of God. God was with them in the person of Jesus, so when Jesus began to speak about leaving, the disciples were troubled.

But Jesus said, “I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth… for he dwells with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you” (John 14:16–18). The disciples had known the presence of God with them in Jesus, but now they would know the presence of God in them by the Holy Spirit.

The gift of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer is so astonishing that Paul asks, “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you?” (1 Corinthians 6:19). Try to take this in: your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit. Just as God’s glorious presence came down to Solomon’s temple when it was dedicated, so God’s presence fills the lives of those who are dedicated to Him. That is why Paul prays that believers will “know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God” (Ephesians 3:19).

The whole of human history is leading up to the day when Jesus Christ will take His people into the immediate presence of God. The apostle John was given a glimpse of what this will be like. He saw a great city and a great crowd of people. Then he heard “a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God’” (Revelation 21:3).

The cloud of God’s presence in the temple pointed forward to what God would do in Christ. God took human flesh and came down among us in Jesus. When we believe in Him, God’s presence enters our lives by the Holy Spirit, giving us a foretaste of the joys that lie ahead when we will live with Him forever.

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