John 1:14 – The Word in Sandals
Diving Deeper Lesson Outline for John 1:14
John 1:14 (ESV) — 14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, (full of grace and truth).
1) THE GREATEST UNDERSTATEMENT OF ALL TIME
John has just told us that the Word is:
• In the beginning – eternal
• With God – part of the godhead
• Was God
• Creator of all things
• Life (physical and spiritual)
And now, in verse 14, John drops the ultimate “J-Bomb” – this “Word became flesh”!
The gravity of this statement and the truth it conveys should be jaw-dropping in their implications.
• Eternal entered space and time
• 2nd person of godhead became son of Joseph from Nazareth
• God became man
• Creator of all things became creature
• Life came to die
• Light came to shine divine truth
It is a humbling thing for me when I consider the enormity of the incarnation.
• The idea that God would posit himself into space and time and humanity for our sake is AWESOME!
• Psalm 8:3–4 (ESV) — 3 When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, 4 what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him?
John goes on in verse 14 to describe the impact of the incarnation.
• He mentions both that Jesus “dwelt among us” – something felt by humanity (physically).
• And he mentions a glory of Jesus “as of the only [unique] Son” – something seen by humanity (visually).
o We will cover “grace and truth” next week.
So the incarnation made it possible to know God physically and visually in ways heretofore never possible.
• Thus, John can say at the end of verse 18, “he has made him known”.
• Or as Dick Woodward says, God has become “The Word in Sandals.”
So now we need to explore the dwelling (physical) and the glory (visual) ways God made himself known through Jesus as described by John.
2) DWELT AMONG US – THE TABERNACLED WORD IN SANDALS
The word dwelt is the same word for “tent” or “tabernacle”.
• So this part of the verse could also be translated, “The Word became flesh, and tabernacled among us”.
• This “translation is particularly significant because the word refers beyond any question to the portable wilderness tabernacle or temple of the Hebrew nation” – Boice.
The significance of this can be quickly discovered when we briefly look at the role of the tabernacle in the OT – Boice.
• We will see that to know God “physically” is to know Jesus as a serving as a tabernacle in the flesh.
The tabernacle was the center of Israel’s camp.
• It was placed with the Levites at the center of the camp of all the tribes.
• Jesus is the center of Christianity – He is the only mediator between God and man.
The tabernacle was the place where the law of Moses was preserved.
• The 10 Commandments were stored in the ark of the covenant which resided in the tabernacle.
• Jesus is the perfect fulfillment of the demands of the law, thus a perfect sacrifice.
The tabernacle was the dwelling place of God.
• God’s visible manifestation was His shekinah light or glory which was within the holy of holies.
• Jesus becoming flesh was the ultimate visible manifestation of God.
Because the tabernacle was the place where God dwelt among his people, it was also the place of revelation.
• This is why the tabernacle was called the “tent of meeting”.
• Jesus as the incarnation was the revelation of the Logos of God and all that John described therein.
The tabernacle was also the place where sacrifices were made.
• The tabernacle was where the priests offered the atoning sacrifices.
• Jesus’ sacrifice was the once for all sacrifice for the atonement of our sins.
Finally, the tabernacle was the place where the people of Israel worshiped.
• It was to the tabernacle that gifts and sacrifices were brought and offered up to God.
• Since His birth, those that are drawn to Jesus worship and sacrifice at His feet.
John makes clear that the incarnation of Jesus makes God known to us because Jesus “tabernacled” among us.
• Jesus, then, was not only “the Word in sandals” but “the tabernacled Word in sandals”.
• And he will be again:
o Revelation 21:3–4 (ESV) — 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. 4 He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”
As we stated earlier, in addition to the knowing God physically “tabernacally”, John tells us that God is known visually through His glory in Christ.
3) WE HAVE SEEN HIS GLORY – THE GLORIFIED WORD IN SANDALS
It is interesting that, as discussed earlier, the shekina glory of God resided in the tabernacle.
• So it should come as no surprise that the shekina glory of God resides in “the tabernacled Word in sandals”.
• And it does so in a number of ways.
Glory manifested in the transfiguration:
Matthew 17:1–2 (ESV) — 1 And after six days Jesus took with him Peter and James, and John his brother, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. 2 And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became white as light.
• John was a witness of this glory.
• This is reminiscent of the Glory of God revealed to Moses at Mt. Sinai.
• And it is a preview of the Glory of God to come:
o Matthew 25:31 (ESV) — 31 When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne.
Glory manifested in miracles:
John 2:11 (ESV) — 11 This, the first of his signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee, and manifested his glory. And his disciples believed in him.
John 11:4 (ESV) — 4 But when Jesus heard it he said, “This illness does not lead to death. It is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.”
• What was the first sign at Cana?
Glory manifested in the Passion:
John 12:23 (ESV) — 23 And Jesus answered them, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.
Glory manifested after resurrection:
John 17:5 (ESV) — 5 And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed.
From these we get a sense of what John meant in describing Jesus’ unique glory as the Son of God.
• These manifestations of God’s glory were seen and witnessed by John and others.
• In fact, John 2:11 credits the seeing of this glory as drawing the disciples to belief; as making himself known.
• So Jesus was not only “the tabernacled Word in sandals” but also “the glorified Word in sandals”.
In contrast to God’s glory, John’s Gospel talks of another kind of glory – a glory that comes from man.
• John 12:42–43 (ESV) — 42 Nevertheless, many even of the authorities believed in him, but for fear of the Pharisees they did not confess it, so that they would not be put out of the synagogue; 43 for they loved the glory that comes from man more than the glory that comes from God.
• John 5:44 (ESV) — 44 How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from the only God?
What is the glory of man?
• Glory (Doxa) – the dóxa of man is human opinion and is shifty, uncertain, often based on error, and its pursuit for its own safety is unworthy – Strongs.
• It is the opposite of the grace and truth (vs. 14) found in the Glory of God that we will talk about next week.
• And Jesus makes clear that His Glory did not come from man.
o John 5:41 (ESV) — 41 I do not receive glory from people.
Paul also makes clear that we are to seek “the glory that comes from God”.
• 2 Corinthians 3:18 (ESV) — 18 And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.
Whose glory are you being transformed into – God or man’s?
• The glory of man – shifty, human opinion full of error.
• The Glory of God – the character and image of God and new creation as received in and present in Jesus Christ – Strongs.