Those various details that we have been thinking about in previous readings about Jesus – his eternity, his equality with God, his ease of involvement in the work of creation, his enlightening the minds of his creatures, and his engagement in the battle of the ages – reveal clearly for us the greatness of Jesus. To them, we must add the detail mentioned by John in verse 14 when he says that the Word became flesh and tabernacled among us.
There are two details we should note about ‘became’. First, he became flesh without ceasing to be fully divine. Second, the word ‘flesh’ points to weak, fragile flesh, and that reminds us of the condescension of Jesus, of how far down he came.
What can we say in response to John’s description in John 1:1-5 of Jesus before he came? First, there is a real sense in which it is all incomprehensible. Who can possibly understand or even begin to grasp the exalted position Jesus had and the amazing activities in which he was engaged before he was born? All we can say is, ‘I cannot fully understand it, but what I can see tells me that Jesus is great.’
Second, when we think about who Jesus was and what he did, we are reminded of the impeccability of his background. In later studies, we will see him walking among sinners, but when we do, we should remind ourselves from where he came. His background is perfection; he lived in a perfect community; he engaged in perfect activities; and he eventually became human without ceasing to be perfect.
John wrote his Gospel with the intention of helping people to believe in Jesus, whether for the first time or whether to strengthen an already existing faith in Jesus. Thinking about his majestic past is a sure way of becoming stronger in our faith, but we have to think about it. This leads to the question, ‘Are our thoughts focussed on the One with such an incredible background?’