Sermon Study - John 1:14-18 (Advent Week 4)
“The Word Became Flesh” from John 1:14-18. You can listen to the sermon here.
The worst consequence of the fall was not the loss of the garden, but the loss of God’s life-giving presence. This is confirmed by the fact that Genesis 3 ends with humanity’s exile from the garden. The chapter doesn’t end with the curses; those come earlier. The chapter ends with Adam and Eve driven from the garden. They have the entire world before them, yet wherever they choose to dwell, they must do so separated from their Creator, the One with whom they used to walk and fellowship. Instead of delighting in God’s glory, humanity is now unable to see and savor that glory in its fullest measure. Instead of knowing God personally and permanently, humanity is cut off from the life-giving knowledge of the Creator. This is truly paradise lost.
But that is only Genesis 3. As you can tell simply from looking at the Bible, there is much more to the storyline of Scripture. There are thousands of pages of Scripture after the fall. But if paradise was lost in Genesis 3, then what is the remainder of the Bible about? The answer, to put it simply, is that the remainder of the Bible seeks to answer the question, “Will God and humanity ever dwell together again, like they did in the garden?” That’s one of the fundamental questions of Scripture, post-Genesis 3. Will that garden fellowship be restored? Will humanity once again see and savor the glory of God? Will we ever know God again, as Adam and Even knew him in Eden? The remainder of the Bible is moving the narrative forward in answering that fundamental question – Will God and humanity ever dwell together again?
In these verses, we come to the end of John’s Prologue. We’re now thousands of years removed from Eden, yet the events of that fateful day are what shape this text. In these verses, we encounter one of the more climactic moments of the biblical storyline. When John writes, “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us,” we learn the answer to that fundamental question. Will humanity and God once again dwell together? Yes, the apostle John writes, but it happens in the most stunning, almost unthinkable way. It happens as the eternal Son of God lays aside his glory and takes on human flesh so that we might see and savor once more the life-giving glory of God.
For Further Study
John 1:14-18 alludes to a number of passages from the Old Testament, with Exodus 33-34 being one of the most important. Read Exodus 33:7-34:9 and answer the following questions:
- According to Moses, how important is God’s presence to the nation of Israel (see 33:12-16 specifically)?
- How does God’s name (in 34:6-7) reveal God’s glory and character? How might this knowledge have comforted Moses as he led the people of Israel?
For Personal Reflection
- Now that we have completed the Advent season, read through John 1:1-18 again. What stands out to you as you read it now? Do you have any new insights regarding the Incarnation of the Son of God?