The Word, the light, “became flesh”

Posted Dec 23, 2020

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Daily Scripture

John 1:11-14

11 The light came to his own people,
and his own people didn’t welcome him.
12 But those who did welcome him,
those who believed in his name,
he authorized to become God’s children,
13 born not from blood
nor from human desire or passion,
but born from God.
14 The Word became flesh
and made his home among us.
We have seen his glory,
glory like that of a father’s only son,
full of grace and truth.

Reflection Questions

Scholar N. T. Wright concisely expressed the point of John’s powerful claims: “John knows perfectly well he’s making language go beyond what’s normally possible, but it’s Jesus that makes him do it; because verse 14 says that the Word became flesh – that is, became human, became one of us. He became, in fact, the human being we know as Jesus. That’s the theme of this gospel: if you want to know who the true God is, look long and hard at Jesus.”*

  • Greek thinkers like Plato said “the logos” was too pure to enter the corrupt material world. Hebrews usually saw God as so awesome and distant that they feared to even say the divine name. John drew on both those thought worlds, but he boldly wrote, “The Word became flesh.” How can it help you realize how much God values you to believe that he “became flesh,” like us, rather than just wishing you well from afar?
  • Being born is the way each one of us begins our life in the world. John, taking his cue from Jesus (cf. John 3:3-8), said that the life Jesus brought is so qualitatively new that it’s like being born all over, this time as a child of God. When did your spiritual journey start? In what ways has trusting and following Jesus given you a whole new life?

Prayer

Lord Jesus, thank you for being born, for becoming flesh, so that you could give me the authority and power to be born anew, as a child of God. Thank you for my new life. Amen.


* Wright, N.T., John for Everyone, Part 1: Chapters 1-10 (The New Testament for Everyone) (p. 5). Westminster John Knox Press. Kindle Edition.

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Dr. Amy Oden

Dr. Amy Oden

Dr. Amy Oden is Professor of Early Church History and Spirituality, teaching at several seminaries. Teaching is her calling, and she looks forward to every day with students. Her latest book (Right Here, Right Now: The Practice of Christian Mindfulness, Abingdon Press, 2017) traces ancient mindfulness practice for Christians today.

The Word became flesh. (v. 14) This has been a year of enfleshment. A year that has forced us to pay attention to our bodies. No longer can we treat them like mere pack-mules for our heads. It takes a global pandemic for us to begin to cherish our bodies.

In a pandemic, I have to take my body seriously, treat it gently and be fierce in its care. In a pandemic, I have to take others’ bodies seriously, treat them gently and be fierce in protecting them. As racial violence breaks bodies, chokes breath, I have to take bodies seriously, cherish them as holy.

There is no higher endorsement of the human body than the Incarnation itself, the Word become flesh, Emmanuel, God-with-us. God takes bodies seriously. So much so that the Word became flesh, God became body, to bless bodies, consecrate bodies, show us that bodies matter. God blesses the human body.

May we recognize the blessing of our bodies, cherish our bodies and hold all bodies holy.

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