Read the Scripture: John 1:14-18

When the angel told the young virgin Mary that she would bear a son, he told her that her son would be “Immanuel,” which means “God with us.” This was an astonishing piece of news to a people who had long been exiled from their God.

Hundreds of years earlier, God had delivered His rebellious people into the hands of her enemies, and she had been driven from the Land of her fathers. And Solomon’s grand temple, the dwelling place of Israel’s God, had been utterly destroyed. After decades in exile, only a brave few returned to the desolate Land to rebuild what they could.

And then the prophets fell silent. God no longer spoke to His people.

Until now. And when He breaks His silence, He tells Mary that her that her people’s long exile is drawing to a close. In the son whom she would bear, Israel’s long-distant God would finally come near.

What Mary couldn’t have known, couldn’t even have guessed at, is what John tries to tell us in the opening words of his account of the life of Christ. You can almost feel the strain as language is barely capable of communicating this vast, astonishing truth: In Jesus, God is not just with us, He has become one of us!

“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” (v. 14).

“No one has ever seen God: the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known” (v. 18).

“Veiled in flesh the Godhead see.” When a pastor preaches, he tries to “exegete” or explain or reveal what a text of Scripture is saying to us today. John uses that same word here to tell us that Jesus “exegeted,” made known, the invisible God. In seeing Jesus, we see the face of God.  

Activity: Sing “Hark the Harold Angels Sing”

Hark! The herald angels sing,

“Glory to the newborn King;

Peace on earth, and mercy mild,

God and sinners reconciled!”

Joyful, all ye nations rise,

Join the triumph of the skies;

With th’angelic host proclaim,

“Christ is born in Bethlehem!”

Hark! the herald angels sing,

“Glory to the newborn King!”

Christ, by highest Heav’n adored;

Christ the everlasting Lord;

Late in time, behold Him come,

Offspring of a virgin’s womb.

Veiled in flesh the Godhead see;

Hail th’incarnate Deity,

Pleased with us in flesh to dwell,

Jesus our Emmanuel.

Hark! the herald angels sing,

“Glory to the newborn King!”