The Word Became Flesh
Written by: Elisabeth Lough
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So the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son.
- John 1:14
I love to read this verse around Christmas because it’s a “Christmas in a verse.” It packs everything we believe about the birth of Jesus Christ into one compact verse in a profound way.
Philippians 2:6-7 beautifully expresses how Jesus came to earth: “Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. . .” God knew humanity needed a Savior, and He knew that only His Son was perfect enough to be sacrificed on the cross in our place. But Jesus did not act like a spoiled child and refuse to do His Father’s will. Jesus willingly left Heaven to come to earth for sinners like you and me.
However, even though He was on earth in the form of a man, He was still God. When He left Heaven, He did not also leave His deity. On earth He was both God and man. This is seen when Jesus was transfigured before Peter, James, and John while He was praying. Matthew 17:2 says that His “appearance was transformed so that his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as light.” In this instance, Jesus’ flesh was peeled back to reveal His Heavenly glory, and His disciples saw Jesus in His Heavenly body.
Interestingly, in Revelation 1:16, when John had the vision of the Son of Man (Jesus), Jesus’ face “was like the sun in all its brilliance.” Sound familiar? In both Matthew and Revelation Jesus appeared in His Heavenly form! Thus, when He was on earth, He was still God, even though He was also a man.
While Jesus was on earth, He suffered like we did. He was tempted by Satan, He was betrayed and abandoned by His closest friends, and He experienced deep physical pain before and during His crucifixion. Because Jesus felt these human emotions, He can relate to your suffering today.
Hebrews 2:18 illustrates this beautifully: “Since he himself has gone through suffering and testing, he is able to help us when we are being tested.” Just because Jesus was God does not mean that He was immune to suffering while He was on earth. Quite the contrary. He suffered more than anyone on this earth has ever suffered or ever will. Death on the cross was the worst way to die back in Jesus’ day, and the pain Jesus experienced was excruciating.
Please understand this important point: The fact that Jesus is God does not mean that He can’t understand your pain. He knows better than anyone how you are feeling.
1. How did Jesus suffer while He was on earth?
2. How can the knowledge that Jesus understands my suffering help me during my suffering?
Dear Jesus, thank You for coming to earth as a man, for me. Thank You for leaving Heaven so You could one day die in my place on the cross. I know You suffered deeply while You were here on earth, and because You experienced that suffering, You know exactly how I feel in the midst of my suffering. Lord, help me to rest in this knowledge and to find comfort that You know how I feel. I love You, Lord, and in Your name I pray, amen.
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