“The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth”.
Jn 1:14 NIV
When we want to refer tactfully to somebody’s moral lapse we sometimes use a phrase that talks about “the frailty of the flesh”. It helps us to skirt around the idea of sinfulness, evil, and blameworthiness.
But John, writing his gospel many years after Christ’s ascension, and with much thought and reflection behind him, used the word “flesh” to refer to the real human nature Christ entered at his incarnation in Bethlehem. But whilst the word “flesh” is commonly associated with weakness, frailty and evil, it does not have to be. “In Jesus the flesh is the completely responsive vehicle of the spirit. The whole of him, the flesh included, is the Word, the self -utterance, of God” (W. Temple, Readings in St John’s Gospel, p13). This means that Jesus has not merely touched human flesh during this thirty-three year stopover that began on the first Christmas Day. He has possessed it – lock, stock and barrel. And since he comes among us as perfect human life he has raised the potential in human flesh to heights of perfection previously unknown.
“We have seen his glory”. It is a perception of faith. King Herod never saw it, neither did Pontius Pilate. But we, spanning twenty centuries of time and history, we have seen the glory of God – in its fullness – in the Christ of Bethlehem, Calvary and the resurrection. And we see his glory day by day – in the world around us, in the faith of the faithful, and in the love of the Christian fellowship.
PRAYER THOUGHT Lord, help my faith to deepen this Christmas time.