Tom Hayes


John 1:14

Our oldest daughter, Alethea, asked when she was quite small, "How can someone as big as God become a little baby?" Perhaps, my answer was too general, but I said, "Honey, God is so big He can do anything!" How do you explain the incarnation to a child? How do you explain it to an adult? How do you explain it to anyone? It is a great mystery!

p>The entire Gospel story is one big mystery. In fact, it is so big, it has other mysteries inside of it. To use the inspired words of the Apostle Paul, "And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory" (1 Tim. 3:16).

The incarnation is one of the mysteries in the great mystery. And, even in this mystery, there are other wonderful mysteries. If we referred to the Gospel as the universe, and designated the incarnation as one of
the planets in the universe. Then, we could liken the mysteries of the incarnation unto the different galaxies in that planet.

Our text reads: "And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the Only Begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth" (John 1:14). There are at least three galaxies,
or special mysteries, set forth in this brief verse. May the Holy Spirit open our hearts to the vastness of these truths.

1. The Mystery Of The Undertaking

According to the Scriptures, prior to His incarnation, Jesus was "in the form of God," or "in the essence of God" (Phil. 2:6). We might say, He was "the divine essence," or, He was the epitome of God. Jesus was not just like God; He was God! Yes, He was like God, but He could not help but be like God, being God Himself. He was one with the Father! (see John 10:30; 17:22).

It is a great mystery that God made man in His own image. An even greater mystery, however, is that the Sovereign God of heaven would take upon Himself the image of earthly man. "The Word was made flesh!" He divested Himself of the heavenly glory, or as one has said, "He laid His glory by" (George Herbert). He emptied Himself and condescended to this world to be "made of a woman" (Gal. 4:4).

While it is true that Christ emptied Himself of His heavenly position, He never changed His Person! He was God in eternity; He was God in creation; He was God in every Old Testament revelation; He was God in the womb of the virgin, Mary; He was God at His birth; He was God lying in a manger; He was God in life; He was God in death; and He was God in the resurrection!

This brings us to yet another mystery in the mysteries of the incarnation of Christ.

2. The Mystery Of The Union

Christ's Deity and humanity must be distinguished as separate natures. As God, Jesus was what He could never become. As Man, He became what He never was! However, for Him to become flesh, His Godhood and His Manhood must become one in some special way. Theologians refer to this as "hypostatic union," or the union of Christ's divine nature and His human nature in one personality. As our text simply states, God was "made flesh and dwelt among us" (John 1:14).

This truth of Christ being both God and Man is too big for our little minds to grasp; too high for our low thoughts to reach; and, too much for our small world to take in. Yet, we read in the Bible that "it pleased the Father that in Him should all fulness dwell" (Col. 1:19). Although we may not fully comprehend how that "in Him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily" (Col. 2:9), by faith we accept this mystery.

One scholar wrote, "The union between them is not mechanical, as that between oxygen and nitrogen in our air. Neither is it chemical, as between oxygen and hydrogen when water is formed. Neither is it organic, as that subsisting between our hearts and brains. But, it is a union more intimate, more profound, and more mysterious than any of these. It is personal. If we cannot understand the nature of the simpler unions, why should we complain because we cannot understand the nature of the most profound of all unions?" (A. A. Hodge).

3. The Mystery Of The Unveiling

The birth of any baby is a manifestation of God's glory. But, Jesus' birth was not like any other birth. He was born without the aid of a human father. Thus, God's glory was unveiled on another level. Above all this, however, Jesus was the glory of God, the full display of the God's glory in human flesh. Again, as our text sets forth this mystery, "The Word was made flesh and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only Begotten of the Father" (John 1:14).

The last phrase of our key-text tells us that Jesus was "full of grace and truth." In displaying the glory of His Father, the grace of God was also unveiled to sinful men. The great purpose of the incarnation was that God might save us by His grace! As has so often been said by Gospel preachers, "The Son of God became the Son of Man that we, the sons of men, might become the sons of God." Christ identified with us that we might be identified with Him.

The only hope that we, as sinful men, have is that Jesus can connect us back to the Father. Because He is God, He can take hold of God with one hand. Because He is man, He can take hold of man with the other hand. And, because He is the God-man, He can reconcile, or bring together, both God and men in the person of Himself. As is stated elsewhere, "For there is one God, and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus" (1 Tim. 2:5).

I understand that there is a television show called "Unsolved Mysteries." On the telecast, perplexing occurrences are discussed for which there are no known answers. Admittedly, the incarnation includes many mysteries. However, they are not "Unsolved!" Rather, through the enlightenment of true saving faith (see Heb. 11:1), they are "Resolved Mysteries!" Let us take what "we have seen" and tell the world "that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour" (1 John 4:14). Amen.