Text: John 1:1–18
“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.” —John 1:14
Have you ever seen a celebrity in person and felt a sense of awe about that moment? I’m not sure what it is that causes that kind of marvel when we are in the presence of a famous person, but it’s a sharp contrast to the way we might feel in the mundane norms of life, where God is always present. It’s something worth considering. Have we lost our sense of wonder for the God of the universe—the omnipotent One who is present with us in every moment of every day?
In John 1, it says that Jesus put on flesh and blood, became incarnate among His own creation, and yet they failed to marvel at His presence:
The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. (John 1:9-11)
Think about it: The Supreme Deity “became flesh and dwelt among us”—this was the most amazing event in all of history. The eternal, omnipotent, omnipresent, infinitely holy Son of God took on a human nature and lived among humanity as one who was both God and man at the same time – yet many of them still shunned Him. They failed to wonder at His majesty. How much more might we be disinclined to marvel at His presence having never seen God in the flesh?
The Greek text “dwelt among us” can mean more literally “pitched his tent” right next to us—an allusion to God’s dwelling among the Israelites in their tabernacle (Exodus 25:8–9; 33:7). In the past, God had manifested his presence to his people in the tabernacle and the temple. Now God takes up residence among his people in the incarnate Word, Jesus Christ (John 1:17). Thus, the coming of Christ fulfills the Old Testament symbolism for God’s dwelling with man in the tabernacle and the temple. Later, through the Holy Spirit, Christ will make into a temple both the church (1 Corinthians 3:16) and a Christian’s body (1 Corinthians 6:19). God has come so close to us in Jesus Christ that we don’t have to struggle to find Him. He is very near. It’s just that we may not be looking to Him with eyes of faith.
This thought is so familiar in Christianity we may no longer be staggered by it. A prayer of the Eastern churches conveys well the breathtaking wonder: “We see most eloquent orators voiceless as fish when they must speak of Thee, O Jesus our Savior. For it is beyond their power to tell how Thou art both perfect man and immutable God at the same time.”
Maybe you’ve heard the song “Wonder” from Bethel Music. The lyrics go like this:
May we never lose our wonder
May we never lose our wonder
Wide eyed and mystified
May we be just like a child
Staring at the beauty of our King
Cause you are beautiful in all your ways
You are beautiful in all your ways
There is a place of marvel that we enter into when our hearts are fully embracing the presence of God. This place of worship is where our soul gives way to uninhibited delight at the dwelling of God among us. It is here that we are filled with the wonder and awe of our Creator, and life sustainer. This kind of worship is found throughout the Bible…
Abraham fell on his face in holy wonder as God spoke to him (Genesis 17). Moses hid his face before the presence of God in the burning bush (Exodus 3). Paul could hardly tell whether he was in or out of the body when he was allowed to see the indescribable wonders of the third heaven (2 Corinthians 12). When John saw Jesus on the island, he fell at His feet as dead (Revelation 1).
May we never become so familiar with the dwelling of God with us that we lose our sense of wonder and awe, especially as we remind ourselves of the high cost of Jesus’ blood that was shed so that a holy God could dwell among such sinful creatures. Think about that as you seek to abide in His presence this week.
God, you are holy and awesome, yet you have chosen to pitch your tent among us—sinful creatures. This is only possible because of what Christ did for us at the cross, sacrificing his life to make the payment for our sins. Thank you for the light you have brought into our darkness. Holy Spirit, help us to not take that light for granted in the every day norms of life. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Questions for Reflection, Small Group or Family Discussion:
- When have you been a little star struck by the presence of a celebrity?
- In what ways can familiarity cause us to lose our sense of awe or wonder?
- Why did the Word become flesh and live among us?
- How should the reality that God became a man affect your life today?
- How should the reality that God has made His dwelling within you affect your life today?
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