And the Word was made flesh, and dwelled among us, (and we beheld his glory…
I. THE WORD.
1. There are some who say this name was given because so many excellent words of prophecy and promise, and all of Him, are spoken in this Book — the Word objective.
2. Because he disclosed all God's counsel — the Word effective.
3. Because He cometh as the Word to teach us — the Word preceptive.
4. These are all true, but short. He is the only-begotten of the Father. As the Son is to the Father, so is the Word to the mind, They proceed both. The Son refers to a living nature, the Word to an intellectual nature. There is in Him not only the nature, but the wisdom of the Father. The Word showeth the manner, the Son the truth of His proceeding.
(1) With us the Son is begot by propagation; the Word therefore was requisite to show that His proceeding was not after a carnal manner.
(2) But lest we should think that God's Word is no more to Him than ours is to us, we are told that He is "only-begotten," and so of the substance of His Father.
II. FLESH and IN US is used —
1. To express His union with human flesh fully. It is part for the whole. If He abhor not the flesh: of the spirit there will be no question.
2. From the flesh came the beginning of transgression: so of all others least likely to be taken. The Word not refusing it, the rest have good hope.
3. Not man, a person; but flesh, our nature.
4. Flesh in Hebrew is the same for good tidings, suggesting that some incarnation should be good news for the world. Why the Word, flesh?
(1) Surely, most kindly. The offended party was the Author of the reconciliation.
(2) Most fit "all things were made by Him." He that built repaired.
(3) Most in the way of justice, that He might make full amends for the flesh's fault.
III. The Word was MADE flesh.
1. Made, as against.
(1) Manicheus holding that he had no true body.
(2) Made, not converted into flesh, as Cerenthus, nor the flesh converted into the Word as Valentinus.
(3) Not made as friends are made, who continue two several persons still, and while the flesh suffered the Word stood by and looked on as Nestorius.
(4) Not made by compounding, and so a third thing produced of both, as Eutyches.
2. But by taking the seed of Abraham. His generation eternal as the Word of God is as the inditing of the Word within the heart. His generation in time, the Word made flesh, is as the uttering it forth with the voice. The inward motion of the mind taketh into it a natural body of air, and so becometh vocal; it is not changed into it, the Word remaineth still as it was, yet they two become one voice.
IV. Being past these points of belief, LET US PAUSE TO STIR UP OUR LOVE TO HIM WHO THUS BECAME FLESH FOR US.
1. If we were so much beholden for the Word spoken, how much more for the performance; if for the Word that came to flesh, how, then, for the Word become flesh.
2. The Word, "by whom all things were made," came to be made Himself. It is more for Him to be made than to make many worlds.
3. If made, then made the most complete thing of all that ever He had made. But what is man that He should be made him, or the Son of man that He should take His nature upon Him?
4. If man, yet the man hath part — the soul.
5. What flesh?
(1) The flesh of an infant — not able to speak a word.
(2) How born? In a palace, cradle of ivory, robes of estate! No! A stable His palace; a manger His cradle; poor clouts His array.
(3) What flesh afterward? In cold and heat, hungry and thirsty, faint and weary.
(4) Is His end any better? What flesh then? Rent and torn; crowned with thorns; crucified. To be made the Head of angels a humiliation, much more lower than the angels, much more "despised and rejected of men." And why? Because He loved us.
V. And DWELT.
1. A word of continuance. Not only made, but made stay.
2. Dwelt in a tent. Not a house to stand for ever, but a tent to be taken down again. He came but of an errand, to sojourn till He had done it, and being done He laid His tabernacle aside.
3. Soldiers dwell in tents. An enemy we had strong and mighty. He came as our champion; set up His pavilion among us; took the military oath with shedding of blood at His circumcision and passion. His engagement with the enemy cost Him His life, but saved ours.
VI. WE BEHELD.
1. He dwelt not invisibly or obscurely. The angels saw Him, and the wise men and the apostles, etc., etc.
2. We, not one but many.
3. We beheld: not at a blush, but at full sight, and at leisure and for long. The word is that from whence a theatre is derived; as men with good heed behold things there. So did we intentively all the acts and scenes of His life.
VII. HIS GLORY FULL OF GRACE AND TRUTH. Two streams. Grace refers to the Son, truth to the Word; grace is to adopt us, truth to beget us anew. Fitly do these follow after glory. Glory terrifies. Grace invites; and His glory is such that it is full of grace; His mercy as great as His Majesty. Grace, too, as opposed to the rigour, threats, and curses of the law; and truth as set against the shadows and ceremonies of the law. Take grace from truth and it is a mere illusion; sever truth from grace and it is unpleasant.
VIII. Now for THE BENEFIT.
1. Being made flesh He will be a benefactor to it. "No man hateth his own flesh." He seeth us daily in himself. And if God the Father love the Word He must love, too, our flesh which he has taken from us.
2. Being made flesh, all flesh may come to him to present their request.
3. Being made flesh, He will not suffer this of ours, the same with His, to perish, but repair it again and raise it out of the dust.
Parallel VersesKJV: 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.