When we read this verse in John our first thoughts take us to the sanctity of family life and the birth of the new born child. The wonder of life is repeated by all humanity as the natural outflow of God’s love to all mankind. Procreation reflects the dignity and sacredness of husband and wife. Life itself is created and perpetuated by God. Yet, far greater is the predetermined act of God to send his only begotten Son to become fully human. This is his plan of redemption of mankind in order that he might create a people for his own possession. The Apostle John captures this powerful truth with full authority.
In John’s day the church was growing with a significant presence among the Gentiles. He writes to strengthen the faith of this nascent church against the many heresies beginning to develop. John was uniquely qualified to address this problem.
Three years he walked and talked with Jesus. He observed him, touched him and knew his voice. John was present when Jesus performed many miracles, followed him to the Mt. of Transfiguration where he witnessed the glory and heard the voice of God saying this is my beloved Son. John remained at the cross during the crucifixion; was one of the three discovering the empty tomb. His testimony, we beheld his glory, has weight, gravitas.
God is self revealing. Unless he discloses himself we cannot know him. The Son has no equal, no peer and is fully able to to reveal the Father. John wants to cause us to remember that Jesus was pre-existent with the Father and became Jesus the God-Man. This is an expression of unity with God in intimate communication with humanity.
The artist, Grace Bomer, my personal friend, helps us visualize this event with her painting titled “Incarnation.” Her image of the invasion from the heavens, much like dividing the waters of the Red Sea, sets us to ponder this glorious event. We can appreciate her skills using abstract techniques to represent the transcendence of the God-Man. Grace’s creative contributions invite us to engage the Word. We must implore the Holy Spirit to enable us to grasp the magnificence and wonder of Jesus the God-Man and to commit our lives to him. We stand in awe of the majesty of this act of God who startled humanity with his presence.
This verse signals the fulfillment of God’s promises. Our attention is arrested as we begin with the incarnation. Immanuel, God is with us. The Word appeared with stunning suddenness. It was the fulness of time. God the Son communicated himself as one from another sphere, bursting on the scene as a laser beam splitting the atmosphere. “If the revelation of God through creation gives life to all who live on earth, how much more does the manifestation of the Father through the Word give life to those who see God!” (Irenaeus 202 AD)
We rejoice in the first Advent. But we anticipate his coming again.
We are called to worship the Son of God. “For he became the Son of man, who was God’s own Son, in order that he might make the sons of men to be children of God.” (Chrysostom died 407 AD)