“The Word was made flesh and dwelt among us, (and we beheld His glory as of the only begotten of the Father), full of grace and truth” (John 1:14).
Have you ever wondered why Jesus left heaven to live in this world as a man? Why does the Bible call Jesus the Word? Of all the names for Jesus, the Word is probably the least understood, but the one with the most depth.
Humans communicate through symbols which represent words. An example of that would be the text on this page. As my fingers move across the keyboard and I type these words I am combining a mixture of letters to make words. The words are placed in a specific order to make sentences. The sentences make paragraphs, and the paragraphs relay a message to the reader as he or she reads each paragraph. A word is a sound or a combination of sounds, in speech or writing, expressing ideas. These sounds send a message.
The English alphabet uses twenty-six letters and ten numbers that we combine into words and ideas. I am trusting the reader will understand these concepts as I combine letters into words, words into phrases and sentences, and sentences into ideas.
Before we learned to use the alphabet to communicate our thoughts, we used hieroglyphics, which are simply ancient symbols and pictures used to represent ancient words.
Even with letters and numbers as symbols, some concepts are not easy to grasp without a picture or a visual illustration. If a person has never seen or tasted an apple it would be impossible for him to truly know what an apple really is. Apples are sweet, tart, red, green, crisp, juicy and a great many other words that would thoroughly confuse the person with whom you’re talking. The best way to make him understand an apple is to give him one so that he can experience it firsthand. He will notice that it is cool to the touch, round, and smooth before he ever discovers that it’s sweet, or tart, or crispy. Once he tastes it, he will say, “Ah, now I ‘see’ what an apple is.”
Just like that apple, Jesus is God’s symbol to a world who cannot understand a loving Creator who would move heaven and earth so that ungrateful, sinners could spend eternity with Him in a perfect, heavenly kingdom. How could any man see and accept God as our Father without having seen God’s true nature lived out through His Son, Jesus Christ? As the Word, he represents God in human form, so we can perceive God living in our human conditions and circumstances and determine what God values in heaven.
The Old Testament unfolded God’s character in many circumstances. We can see evidence of His working, but he did not and could not fully reveal himself. He worked through men. Moses found him in a burning bush when God was ready for him to take his people out of Egypt. He shared his plans for Sodom and Gomorrah with Abraham.
The common man, however, did not recognize or know God. People settled for what their ancestors had before them. At the synagogue, the priest intervened between them and God. They contentedly followed the crowd not caring about their destiny. Before the printing press, men had no access to Bibles, so people had no way to search the Scripture to discern God’s will.
Hebrews reveals Jesus, “. . . [As] the brightness of His [God’s] glory, and the express image of his person. . . “(Hebrew 1:3 KJV). Jesus reveals God’s character, so all men might glimpse him. We can now experience the thrill of a relationship with our Heavenly Father since Jesus communicated the Father nature of God to man. Only through God’s Son can we be acquainted with God. He is the exact expression of the Father in human form. We could not identify this character until he lived it out on earth. By knowing Jesus, we can identify the Father.
Jesus declared, “If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know Him, and have seen Him” (John 14:7). He is the visible image of God lived out before a world that uses symbols or pictures to establish new or complex concepts.
Jesus is our letter, sent by God, to help us understand God’s glory as shown in grace and truth. Glory is simply the honor resulting from a favorable judgment. It describes the nature and acts of God as he reveals himself to the world. We beheld His glory; we observed the admirable qualities, nature of Jesus, as the only begotten of the Father.
What the religious leaders did not reveal to men, was clearly manifested in Jesus Christ. God used many people to fill roles and complete tasks through the centuries. Only one, however, is the Son of God, whose blood can remove our sin.
Grace is divine influence upon the heart and its expression in the life. Scholars call it the unmerited favor of God. Christ not only shows grace, he is its ultimate expression: grace in action. Grace gave Jesus the power to reject Satan. Grace gave him power in the garden to ignore his own will.
Through Christ, God’s grace is evident, for whosoever will take it. He did not just talk about or teach about grace as others did. He lived grace. He embodied it in his own life. We too can have this grace. Grace gives us what we need when Satan tries to ruin our lives and our witness.
Truth is more than information found in God’s Word. The Law of Moses was true. Truth, however, came by Jesus Christ. The Old Testament gave us shadows and promises; Jesus brought and gave the substance of those promises. Jesus Christ, as the Word, became flesh and dwelt among us, as the image of God, the Father, who is also full of grace and truth.
When we find Jesus as the Word, we understand why he entered the world clothed in flesh. Of the many names of Jesus, the Word is the pure essence of God, the Father, lived out in his life Symbol, Jesus, the Son.
Dr. Sharon Schuetz has been a Christian since she and her husband, Pastor Michael Schuetz gave their hearts to God on November 15, 1978. They have ministered together since 1989 and together they have pastored seven different churches. Sharon was the senior pastor of their first church while Michael served as co-pastor. In the other churches, Michael served as senior pastor and Sharon his co-pastor.