Word Made Flesh

OVERVIEW - Jesus is the “word made flesh” and the true tabernacle in whom the glory of God is revealed and now residesJohn 1:14

Sunrise Photo by Terry Tan De Hao on Unsplash
In its opening paragraph, the Gospel of John
 presents major themes that are explicated in the body of the book. For example, Jesus is the “Word made flesh” in whom life and true light are found, the true and final “tabernacle” where God’s presence resides. Moreover, John employs imagery from pivotal events in the history of Israel to illustrate what God has done in Jesus - [Photo by Terry Tan De Hao on Unsplash].

Now, since his Death and Resurrection, Jesus is the place where the presence of God dwells, and His glory is manifested for all men to behold. He is the means of access to God; the greater Tabernacle and Temple where true worship of the Father takes place “in spirit.” Access to the “glory of the Father” is no longer confined by the physical walls or geographical boundaries of the old Temple “made-with-hands” or of the land of Canaan - (John 1:14, 1:47-51, 2:13-22, 4:20-24).
  • Jesus is the “Word made flesh that tabernacled among us; and we beheld his glory; glory as of an only-born from a father; full of grace and truth.”
The living word of God was embodied in this very real flesh-and-blood human being and manifested for all to see, the divine nature plan writ large in the life of Jesus of Nazareth. In his words, deeds, death and resurrection, the true nature and glory of God were put on display for the entire world.

The description of the “word tabernacling among us” echoes the incident at Mount Sinai when God inscribed His ten “words” on stone tablets. In Jesus, the word of God has now “become flesh.”  “Tabernacled” translated the Greek verb, skénoō, meaning “tabernacle, to pitch a tent” - (Strong’s - #G4637). It is related to the noun skéné or “tent,” the same term used in the Greek Septuagint version of Exodus for the “tabernacle” in the wilderness. Thus, now, in the man Christ Jesus, God dwells or “tabernacles” among his people.

Yahweh commanded Moses to “construct a sanctuary for me that I may dwell among them,” a portable structure fashioned “according to all that I am going to show you, the pattern of the tabernacle and the pattern of all its furnishings.” In obedience to God’s command, Moses…:
  • Proceeded to take a tent and pitch it by itself outside the camp… and he called it, the Tent of Meeting… it came to pass, that when Moses entered the tent, the pillar of cloud came down and stood at the opening of the tent” - (Exodus 25:8-9, 33:7-11).
In the Septuagint version, the “Tent of Meeting” is skéné martyriou or “tent of witness.” In it, the presence of Yahweh was represented by the pillar of cloud. Just as He revealed His presence among Israel in the Tabernacle, so, now, He makes His habitation among His people in Jesus, the “Word become flesh” - (Exodus 40:34-35, Numbers 9:15-23).

Baptism of Jesus
The Gospel of John
 states further, “we beheld his glory… full of grace and truth.” The declaration employs further imagery from Exodus. Moses asked Yahweh to show him his “glory.” He responded that neither Moses nor any man “can see my face and live”; therefore, He placed Moses in the “cleft of a rock” when He passed by, permitting him to see only the “backside” of Yahweh. God descended in the cloud and passed before Moses, proclaiming, “Yahweh, Yahweh, a God of compassion and grace, slow to anger and abundant in loving-kindness and faithfulness” - (Exodus 33:17-23, 34:1-6).

Today, the glory of God is revealed in Jesus, a proposition expanded in the Gospel of John. Unlike Moses, the disciples beheld His full glory of God, not just His “backside,” like that of “an only-born from a father” - (John 17:24).

That glory was and is “full of grace and truth.” This statement corresponds to the proclamation by Yahweh, who is “abundant in loving-kindness and faithfulness.” The glory seen by Moses alone is the same glory revealed in Jesus for all to see. He is the True and Greater Tabernacle in whom God dwells and through whom He manifests His unfiltered grace and truth to humanity.

With the coming of Jesus, the presence of Yahweh is no longer restricted to the Tabernacle or to any other man-made structure; no longer is it limited to any geographic location. The wilderness structure has been made obsolete by what Yahweh did in Jesus, the ultimate place where God reveals His “truth and grace” - (2 Corinthians 3:18, 4:4-6).

The wilderness Tabernacle was glorious and revealed much about the nature of God. Nevertheless, its glory was limited. In contrast, the glory found in the True and Greater “Tabernacle,” Jesus, is full, visible, and available for all men and women to behold.


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