Gospel of John #16 (Study)
The Text: John 1:14-18. I’ve reproduced the text below this post.
Today’s post is philosophical. Let’s contemplate: God is invisible. As John 1:18a says, “No one has ever seen God.” After all, God is infinite, present in all things, and so one cannot see God directly, any more than the eye can see itself seeing. God is the light through which all things are seen.
No single shape or form exhausts or contains God. But, in each shape and form, God is also present. Jesus Christ exhibits this principle of incarnation, a both/and presence of God. John 1:18b “It is God the only Son, who is close to the Father’s heart, who has made him known.”
The form of Christ exhibits God’s nature. Yet, God’s nature is not enclosed or limited by this form.
At a certain point in Jewish history, Christ (the living and creative Word of God) incarnated in the flesh, to demonstrate for people who God is in a new way. Jesus was thrust into circumstances – and the turmoil – of the historical moment, which led to a tragic outcome. Since God’s life is indomitable, the divine life asserted itself– by the resurrection, as a demonstration that God and life are trustworthy and constant, despite violence and death.
This message, which communicates God’s nature, is carried by Jesus Christ.
Question: The incarnational principle says that God is everywhere, even in apparently difficult situations or in things which seem to be opposite to God (according to our human concepts). Where is the Spirit present for you, even in ugly, immoral, and unpleasant things?
Note on Text: The Prologue in John’s Gospel extends from 1:1-18. Today we take a look at the last few verses in the prologue. As earlier discussed, the prologue has the pattern of descent/ascent, reproducing the structure of the Gospel as a whole. The Word descends to earth. In verse 14, the Word has incarnated in the flesh, the realm below. We are reminded in verse 18, that the Word belongs above in heaven, close to the Father’s heart. Jesus Christ (the Word made flesh) makes the invisible God known, mediating between heaven and earth.
The Text: John 1:14-18
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. 15 (John testified to him and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks ahead of me because he was before me.’”) 16 From his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. 17 The law indeed was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has ever seen God. It is God the only Son, who is close to the Father’s heart, who has made him known.