John 1:9-14 The Word became Flesh WC McCarter
Today, we will consider some of the most shocking news in all of the world. The Word, who we have established as God of very God, became a man. You would think that it would not get more shocking than that, yet think of how appalling it is that people would have nothing to do with him. On the whole, He was despised and rejected. He was crucified as a blasphemer. But this was the plan of God.
READ Scripture- This is the Word of God
The True Light (9)
How is He the true light? Christ is the true light in the sense that He is the genuine/real light. Christ is, “the genuine and ultimate self-disclosure of God” (Carson, 122).
How does this light shine on every man? This light shines on every man, and in doing so, it divides humanity into two groups: those who receive the light and those who reject the light. When the light of Christ shines into this world, some people walk into that light and will be saved, yet others run from the light because they do not want their deeds to be exposed. As one person has said, This light shines upon every person whether he sees it or not (Barrett).
When Christ came into the world, He was coming into the orb of His creation. Yet, that creation had gone/continues to go astray. He was interrupting a rebellious creation.
So, we do not have to wait until verse fourteen to hear something about the Christmas story. We already saw one verse last week that told us about Christ’s coming. Verse five says, “And the light shines in the darkness. . . .” Now we have seen in verse nine, “The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world.” These are verses that tell us about Christ coming into the world. From a different perspective, without all of the historical details, we are told about Christ interrupting human history to enact God’s plan of redemption. We know the details. He did this by being miraculously born of a virgin in the most humble of ways, growing from infancy into adulthood, and dying as a sacrifice for sin on the cross. John gives us the theological Christmas story.
In the Garden of Eden, God would come and walk with Adam and Eve in the cool of the day. It was normal and probably expected for God to come into and relate with His own creation. Yet, when Christ came into the world, His creation did not even recognize Him. We can see in these words just how dark the world had become. We can see how dire the problem of sin was.
Although Christ interrupted this rebellious world, the world continued to rebel. They rejected Him and could see no glory in Him. The world saw nothing of use in Him and in the end crucified Him. The world washed its hands of the Word.
Even the Jews, His own people, who were looking for Him, even they did not seem Him although He was standing right in front of their faces. The ones who were most intent about finding their Redeemer-Messiah, were the ones who despised Him the most. They plotted against Him and cried out for His crucifixion. Of course, this rejection fulfilled all that the Old Testament Scriptures had to say about the Coming One.
Only those who receive this Light, only those who allow this Light to shine into their lives will be saved. It may have only been a few, but as many as did receive Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God. To become a child of God, two things have to happen: (1) you have to receive the Word (Christ, the True Light) which you do by believing in His name, and (2) the Word gives you the right to become a child of God. Let’s make sure that we are clear on a few things here in verse twelve.
To receive Christ you must believe in His name. Names were significant in ancient times. A name meant something in that culture. A name represented everything about a person, his character, history, accomplishments, and more. Therefore, the name “Jesus Christ” means a whole lot. To believe in that name means that you have to learn what all that name represents. Let us state a few things now. His name represents His: eternality, divinity, virginal conception, ministry of teaching and healing, sinless perfection, sacrificial death for the sins of the world, resurrection, ascension, preeminence, and much more. To receive Christ is to believe in His name and to believe in His name is to trust that He is who He claims to be as well as to trust that the records we have of Him in the Scriptures are true and completely reliable.
The second thing that we must be clear on is the fact that no human being has the right to be a child of God because we are all sinful and rebellious creatures. We have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, our righteousness is like filthy rags, and there is none righteous – not even one. God is a holy and righteous God. There is none like Him. He is perfect in all His ways. God is light and in Him there is no darkness at all. We, mere creatures, have trespassed against the utterly holy Creator, God Almighty. Do we think that there is any possibility that we could pay for our sins against this great God? Do we think that we could make up for it? Can we redeem ourselves? It is not possible to become a child of God on your own. God gives you the right. This is grace. It is completely undeserved. You cannot earn it, and a main point that verse thirteen is making is that you cannot be born into it. It does not matter who your parents were or anything to do with your heritage, but what matters is that God be the agent of a second, new birth.
So, verse thirteen tells us how a person is made a child of God, and it is closely related to what Jesus will later say in chapter three about being born again. God shines His Light into a person’s darkness and they receive it (non-meritorious), God then gives them the right to become His child and makes it so. Thus, from the beginning to the end of the regeneration process, God is at work. It is all “of God” as the last two words say of verse thirteen. You may ask, “How can I be saved” or, “How can I become a child of God?” I will tell you form this verse, you must be “born of God.” Only God can do this. You cannot make this happen yourself, and I cannot do this for you. Cry out to Him, and He will give you the new birth.
The Word became Flesh (14)
The last verse we will look at today is one of the most famous in all the Bible and rightly so. This verse tells the Christmas story in only a few words.
The “we” who beheld the glory of the Word-made-flesh must be John and the other eyewitnesses. Yet, the glory was not of a completely revealed nature. It was still very much veiled. To see this glory, one still had to see it with the eyes of faith. This is obvious because all who saw Christ did not see His glory or they would have believed. Ultimately in the Gospel of John, the glory that is seen in Christ is seen in what He did in dying and being raised from the grave. Of course, only those who receive the light can look at Jesus on the cross and see glory. Those who are without faith and without the new birth look at the cross and mock it.
Conclusion and Christian Application
(1) For those of you who have experienced the new birth and have been made children of the living God, do not forget how it happened. It was not of your will, but the will of the Father. Remember that you did not earn your place in the family of God, but you were graciously given your place in His family.
(2) For those of you who are not children of God. Cry out to Him today. Receive the light of Christ, believe in His name, and the Lord will bring about newness in your life. He will do a mighty work in you from beginning to end. Jesus fully immersed Himself into humanity when the Word put on flesh and dwelt among us. In turn, you may be united with Christ in the waters of baptism, fully associating with His death and resurrection.