The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. John 1:14a
A man noticed a flock of hungry sparrows feasting on a sheaf of grain. Taking a step towards them, he noticed how they became uneasy. Taking another step towards them caused the birds’ nervousness to increase and they flew away leaving their banquet unfinished. Reflecting on the event, the man realized that the sparrows had scattered because he was too big. How could he walk among the birds without frightening them by his size? His answer was plain to see: In order not to frighten the sparrows he would have to become like them and fly down among them.
The analogy is obvious. God was big and scary. Fearful of Him, people tried to stay out of reach, even running away. There was only one way for God to draw near. He would have to come down and be one of us. So “the Word became flesh and lived for a while among us” John 1:14.
Now don’t rush on from this verse. Think about what you’ve just read. “The Word became flesh.” That’s profound. Let’s not forget that the Word is the One through whom “all things were made” John 1:3. He was the preexistent One, i.e. He “was” John 1:1. And then He “became” John 1:14. He “became flesh.” He stepped down from heaven to earth, from glory to humiliation, and from the worship of angels to the mocking of men.
Although there’s no parallel or earthly illustration that could possibly capture the enormity of the Word becoming flesh the following story helps provide some insights.
At one time a wise and beloved Shah ruled Persia. One day he disguised himself as a poor man and went to visit the public baths. The water was heated by a furnace in the cellar, and the Shah made his way to that dark place to sit with the man who tended the fire. The Shah befriended him in his loneliness. Day after day the ruler went to visit the man and the worker became attached to this stranger because he “came where he was” Luke 10:33. By and by the fire tender learnt of the identity of the Shah, and when he did he looked with wonder into his leader’s face and said, “You left your palace and your glory to sit with me in this dark place, to eat my coarse food and to breathe my filthy air. On others you may bestow rich gifts, but to me you have given yourself.”
Similarly, Christ left His heavenly palace and His glory to sit with us in this dark place, to eat our food and to breathe our air. In so doing He gave us the greatest of all gifts, the gift of Himself – the gift of companionship. For when the Word became flesh loneliness was forever taken out of religion. As one little girl concluded, “Some people couldn’t hear God’s inside whisper so He sent Jesus to tell them out loud.”