What does John 1:14 mean when it says the Word became flesh?
John 1:14 says, "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." In this verse, John is communicating that Jesus (the Word) is the entire message, the complete message, God wanted to send to earth.
The "Word" here is the Greek term Logos, indicating the entirety of a message, akin to a concept or an idea. In a philosophical sense, it speaks to the totality of a message rather than a specific "word." Luke uses the word logos when he reports that the people Jesus taught were "astonished at his teaching, for his word possessed authority" (Luke 4:32).
In John 1:1–4, John clearly identifies Jesus as the Word: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it."
In this description of Jesus, John makes these points:
• That Jesus existed with God the Father before He was born on earth.
• Jesus was involved in the creation.
• Jesus is the light of all mankind.
• Jesus is the entire, complete message of God sent to earth.
Translators capitalize "the Word" because John so strongly associates Jesus with God's message here it becomes a personification of Jesus, who is both fully God and fully human—God in the flesh (Matthew 1:23; Romans 8:3; Philippians 2:5–11).
Gentiles understood the "word" to mean a person's mind, reason, or seat of wisdom. Jews would have recognized it as the action God took to create the universe and everything in it (Genesis 1).
It's important to see why God sent His complete message, His Son Jesus, to earth. Jesus talked about it in Luke 20:9–16. His story was about a landlord who had a field. He hired people to work the field, but when he sent people to collect his portion of the proceeds, the tenets constantly beat them. The landlord then sent his son, but the tenants killed him. The landlord then gave the vineyard to others.
Jesus told this story about His Father and Himself. God had sent prophets to His people, whom they had rejected. He now sent His Son, whom they would kill. God's offer of salvation would be for everyone, not just the Jews (John 10:16; Galatians 2:28; Colossians 3:11). The Word became flesh, lived a sinless life, and is our High Priest. He was tempted as we are, yet never sinned. We can trust that Jesus sympathizes with us and have confidence that He mediates between us and the Father (Hebrews 4:15; 10:1–18; 1 Timothy 2:5–6). Indeed, in Jesus alone can we find salvation (Ephesians 2:8–9; Acts 4:12; John 14:6).
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