Orville and Wilbur wright left Dayton Ohio on September 23, 1903. They were headed for Kitty Hawk, NC. With them was the un-assembled “heavier than air flying machine” that they hoped would make them the first people every to fly.
It was much more difficult than they thought to assemble, test and fly their machine. A hangar had to be built to house their parts and equipment. There was no machine shop in Kitty Hawk, and workers had to return to Dayton to repair a broken propeller. The weather was terrible.
Their equipment broke. And they received news that another engineer was attempting to get his machine launched in November, earlier than they were prepared to launch.
But on December 17, 1903, Orville and Wilbur Wright achieved what no one else had ever done. Their airplane flew over 800 feet in its 12 second flight.
They were ecstatic and wanted to return home to share the news. They sent a telegram home with the exciting news of their success. According to their niece, Ivonette Miller, who was 7 in 1903, the children were more excited that Wilbur and Orville would be home for Christmas.
At the 102nd anniversary of that first flight, Amanda Wright Lane, the great-grand niece of Wilbur and Orville, said: “The Wright family was thrilled to learn about that first flight, but they were happier yet to know that meant the boys, … would be home in time for … Christmas.” Dr. Richard Stimson http://wrightstories.com/home-for-christmas/
The earthly importance of air travel was not as important as 2 boys coming home for Christmas.
When we understand Christmas, all other earthly matters fade away. Today, we want to gain a better understanding of what it meant when Jesus BECAME ONE of US.
“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.” (John 1:14, ESV)
This verse is the climax of John’s prologue to the gospel and provides Four Important Truths about Jesus related to his birth.
The ATTRIBUTES of Jesus
Jesus, the main subject of John’s gospel is introduced with the title “The WORD.” This is the Greek word logos¸ which has a much deeper and broader meaning than the English word used to translate it. The word logos was not invented by John. It is a deep word used in philosophy and religion from classical Greek on through to the first century.
In Greek Philosophy, the logos was an impersonal force. A power behind everything in the world. Philo calls it “The power of creation, the tiller by which God stirs all things, the intermediary between the world and God, the priest which sets the soul before God,” (quoted by John MacArthur, www.gty.org/resources/sermons/1295/the-word-made-flesh
Kittle provides this information about the Greek understanding of the word logos: “There is …a primary Logos, an intelligible and recognizable law, which then makes possible knowledge and understanding in the human Logos” (Gerhard Kittel, Geoffrey W. Bromiley, and Gerhard Friedrich, eds., Theological Dictionary of the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1964–), 81.
One could THINK about the logos, but one could not KNOW or WORSHIP the logos because it was not a THING or a PERSON. It was an IDEA.
But JOHN introduces Jesus as the LOGOS of GOD! The MESSAGE of God. John also provides helpful information about the logos in John chapter 1.
The LOGOS is ETERNAL. John 1:1 declares, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” (John 1:1, ESV)
The LOGOS was WITH GOD, indicating that the logos is an individual being.
The LOGOS was GOD, indicating that the logos at the same time possesses the attributes of deity.
The LOGOS created all things. “All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.” (John 1:3, ESV)
So, from the introduction of John’s Gospel, we are stuck with the proclamation that the LOGOS is a PERSON and the LOGOS is GOD
But as if that were not startling enough for 1st Century people, the LOGOS became FLESH, which brings us to the second truth contained in John 1:14
The ARRIVAL of Jesus
The logos became flesh. In the thinking of Greeks and Romans in the first century, the logos was an impersonal force. STAR WARS gets at the first century idea of logos, with the concept of “the FORCE” which consists of darkness and light. The FORCE can be WITH YOU. You can fight WITH the FORCE. People can align with the FORCE, but LUKE SKYWALKER is NOT the FORCE. Darth Vader is NOT the FORCE. The words of John 1:14 were a direct assault on the world view of a first century listener for whom the idea of the logos being a person was a complete contradiction.
The verb “became flesh” is in the middle voice in Greek, indicating that Jesus, the logos initiated this action on his own accord. He willingly became one of us.
There is MORE…. This was not just a curiosity on the part of Jesus. There was a DISTINCT PURPOSE, which leads us to the third important idea contained in John 1:14.
The ACTION of Jesus
“The Word became flesh and dwelt among us.” This is the message of John’s Gospel. The LIFE of Jesus – the logos of God!
The world “dwelt” among us is the word used to describe erecting a tent of tabernacle. Jesus “tabernacle” among us.
Most interesting uses of this word are from the LXX , the Greek translation of the Old Testament. “Abram settled in the land of Canaan, while Lot settled among the cities of the valley and moved his tent as far as Sodom.” (Genesis 13:12, ESV) NIV most accurate: “Lot pitched his tents toward Sodom”
There are two additional references in Judges 5:17 and 8:11 speak of dwelling in the land, or “pitching tents.”
Jesus PITCHED HIS TENT here among us!
As an avid hiker and camper, I know a little something about tents. I own numerous tents and use them based on the type of trip that I am taking. Some are simple, some more elaborate, but even the fanciest of tents is still a tent, designed for mobility and short stays. When Jesus came to earth, he took upon himself a human tent. He took on flesh and lived among us. Through this humble act, Jesus became acquainted with our pain. He experienced. He gained an understanding of the limitations of humanity.
In a sermon “God is Here” William Richard Ezell Wrote: In one act of becoming human He identified with our pain. The pain of loneliness, He felt it. The hurt of rejection, He felt it. The sadness of losing a loved one to death, He felt it. The scars of mental or physical abuse, He felt it. When we suffer pain, we want others to understand. We want others to be like us so they can identify with us. We don’t want to be alone. We want others to feel our pain and our hurt. When Jesus became a man He understood us; He identified with us; He felt our pain, and He hurt. http://www.preaching.com/sermons/christmas-god-is-here-john-114
Joseph Damien was a nineteenth-century missionary who ministered to people with leprosy on the island of Molokai, Hawaii.
One morning before Damien was to lead daily worship he was pouring some hot water into a cup when the water swirled out and fell onto his bare foot. It took him a moment to realize that he had not felt any sensation. Gripped by the sudden fear of what this could mean, he poured more hot water on the same spot. No feeling whatsoever. Damien immediately knew what had happened. As he walked tearfully to deliver his sermon, no one at first noticed the difference in his opening line. He normally began every sermon with, “My fellow believers.” But this morning he began with, “My fellow lepers.”
Joseph Damien became one of them. At great personal cost, he identified in a new way with all of their fears, pain and sorrows. But what Jesus did was even more. Which brings us to the fourth point contained in John 1:14.
The ACCOMPLISHMENT of Jesus
“We beheld his glory”
We have been reminded of the Tabernacle, and now we see the corresponding element, the SHIKINAH GLORY – The GLORY of GOD. When the Israelites saw the Glory of God on the MOUNTAIN – they HID FROM THE GLORY
“…‘Behold, the Lord our God has shown us his glory and greatness, and we have heard his voice out of the midst of the fire. This day we have seen God speak with man, and man still live. ’” (Deuteronomy 5:23–27, ESV)
But in the incarnation, Jesus reveals the glory of God to us in such a way that we do not hide from his presence, but are rather drawn to him. The author of Hebrews describes the difference between the Glory as demonstrated at the giving of the Law, and the glory of God as demonstrated in Jesus. Both events mark the beginning of a new dispensation. Notice that when Christ appears, we see God’s glory without fear and judgment, but rather with joy and acceptance!
“For you have not come to what may be touched, a blazing fire and darkness and gloom and a tempest and the sound of a trumpet and a voice whose words made the hearers beg that no further messages be spoken to them. For they could not endure the order that was given, “If even a beast touches the mountain, it shall be stoned.” Indeed, so terrifying was the sight that Moses said, “I tremble with fear.” But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering, and to the assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.” (Hebrews 12:18–24, ESV)
Jesus, the one born into the world to save us, shows us God’s glory! By becoming one of us, he reaches us, saves us and sympathizes with our sufferings.
Ray Pritchard writes about Czar Nicholas I of Russia. It seems that the czar had a good friend who asked him to provide a job for his son. This the czar did, appointing the son as paymaster for a barracks in the Russian army. However, it turned out that the son was morally weak and soon gambled away nearly all the money entrusted to him. When the word came that the auditors were going to examine his records, the young man despaired, knowing that he was certain to be found out. He calculated the amount he owed and the total came to a huge debt—far greater than he could ever pay. He determined that the night before the auditors arrived, he would take his gun and commit suicide at midnight. Before going to bed, he wrote out a full confession, listing all he had stolen, writing underneath it these words, “A great debt. Who can pay?” Then he fell asleep, weary from his exertions.
Late that night, the czar himself paid a surprise visit to the barracks as was his occasional custom. Seeing a light on, he peered into the room and found the young man asleep with the letter of confession next to him. He read the letter and instantly understood what had happened. He paused for a moment, considering what punishment to impose, then he bent over, wrote one word on the paper, and left.
Eventually the young man woke up, realizing that he had slept past midnight. Taking his gun, he prepared to kill himself when he noticed that someone had written something on the ledger. Under his words “A great debt. Who can pay?” he saw one word: “Nicholas.” He was dumbfounded and then terrified when he realized that someone knew what he had done. Checking his records, he found that the signature was genuine. Finally the thought settled in his mind that the czar knew the whole story and was willing to pay the debt himself. Resting on the words of his commander-in-chief, he fell asleep. In the morning a messenger came from the palace with the exact amount the young man owed. Only the czar could pay. And he did. (Ray Pritchard, “When Did Christmas Begin?”)
JESUS entered our World and became one of us. He paid our debt. Give God thanks for his Son, and give your heart to him.