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Core 52 - Chapter 32 - The Incarnation - John 1:14

Have you ever gotten a little frustrated when you have tried to explain something to someone a few times and they just aren’t getting it?  You know, you might have mentioned to your kids about how important it is not to leave their shoes in the middle of the floor or explain to your spouse the importance of the direction of the toilet paper on the roll. Or maybe you’ve tried to explain to a coworker how critical it is for them to place important message in a particular place rather than just on a pile where it quickly gets covered up. Or here’s the best one, trying to explain to your loved ones why you are wearing the same socks for the fifth day in a row (obviously, your lucky socks are the reason your favorite sports team is winning!).

Okay, those are all a little insignificant to the direction in which I am going, but you get my point about the frustration in trying to explain something to someone and emphasize the importance of it, and it just isn’t getting through to them. (For the record, I have NEVER been the one to not understand this same perspective when things are explained to me! :) I hope you hear the sarcasm.)

We just finished up the Easter celebration and in doing so, I found myself reflecting on many of the things Jesus said or did during His final week.  The Gospel of John gives us many details about that week, as He spends seven entire chapters covering the events from the Triumphal entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday to the empty tomb on Resurrection Sunday. There is one conversation I keep coming back to, though, which I think best illustrates how Jesus truly was “the Word became flesh” (Jn 1:14).

In John 14, Jesus is in conversation with the Twelve.  The scene is the Last Supper. He has already washed their feet. He has already predicted His betrayal, and Judas has left the scene. He has already rebuked Peter and informed him of his coming triple failure. He has already comforted them with the news of Him going to prepare a place for them with the Father. And now we come to the proof of Jesus really being God in flesh, the Incarnation, the God-man.  I see two reasons that lead us to this conclusion: His words and His reactions.

First, in John 14, we have two of the most profound declarations of Jesus. The first is when He declares He is the “way the truth and the life,” and the second is a few verses later when Jesus states, “I am in the Father and the Father is in me.” Stop for a second and consider what Jesus has just said. Basically, there is one way to God – ME – and God and I are one and the same. What for centuries was anticipated by the Jews, and then misunderstood as blasphemous by the teachers of the Law, is now being uttered to this ragamuffin group of men, pieced together from different pockets of society and invited into the inner sanctum of the teachings and travelings of Jesus.  Here Jesus has revealed Himself to be that one they have all been waiting for – God in flesh, the Messiah sent to deliver His people to His presence!

Second, in the context of these same two verses, we see Jesus stay the course.  In most cases, when you or I have to constantly repeat what we are saying or explain again the point we are making, our emotions start to come out and our words come with more tension, sometimes more anger, and often times a whole lot less patience.  Sometimes, our reactions to sharing the same truth or point over and over again is a rising level of frustration and venting of our feelings toward others. We see absolutely none of that in Jesus.  Remember, these close disciples have been with Him now for more than three years. They have seen more, heard more, asked more, been told more and you would think, understood more, than anyone else who has been around Jesus. And yet, they are still asking questions like it’s the first day in class.

Jesus stays the course. When Thomas asks about how to get where Jesus says they are going, He simply responds by saying, “I am the way.” (Gives a deeper meaning to the words of Jesus early on when he said, “Follow me,” right?) Then Philip asks Jesus to show them the Father, and Jesus just goes right along and continues His thought of explaining to them again that He and the Father are one and the same – in other words, He is the God-man, the Messiah, the “Word in flesh.” No anger, no yelling, no table flipping, no scolding, no rebuking. Just a gentle reminder of the truth – the truth that Jesus is God, and He has come to love, serve, suffer, deliver and rescue.

Remember who He really is – a loving God in human form, peacefully present on earth to fulfill the past and bring hope and encouragement to our future. Let us live each day trying with all our might to be more and more like Him because we know Him more and more.

- Pete Ramsey