“And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth.”
The Word Was Made Flesh
In Jesus, God took on the totality of our humanity, which means that he was just like us in every way. He had the same emotions that we have. He knew pain. He knew anger. He knew anxiety, and he needed human affection as we do.
-Br. Geoffrey Tristram
During the first week we have been looking and praying, thinking about how much God loves each one of us. During this second week we are looking at the way in which, as it were, God broke all the bounds of generosity when he sent Jesus into the world as a man: the Incarnation, this great gift of God. There’s probably nowhere in scripture which proclaims with such magnificence this wonderful, generous gift of God out of his enormous love for us than the beginning of Saint John’s gospel.
“And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth.” The Word became flesh. John doesn’t say the Word became a man or a body. He uses a quite startling and almost shocking word: flesh, the Greek word sarx, to say without any doubt that in Jesus, God became flesh and blood just like us. In Jesus, God took on the totality of our humanity, which means that he was just like us in every way. He was shaped by a family like us. He grew and had to learn. Luke tells us that he grew in stature and in wisdom. He had the same emotions that we have. He knew pain. He knew anger. He knew anxiety, and he needed human affection as we do.
For me, this is incredibly important, the fact that he experienced everything that I experience. He knows how I feel and he knows my deepest thoughts, my deepest fears, my deepest hopes. It tells me, and this is so important for my life, that there is no part of my life which I cannot bring to Jesus in prayer. I think when I was first a Christian my prayers were probably very pious. I used to pray about the sort of things I thought God wanted to hear. I think I censored an awful lot. As I’ve grown in the Christian faith, as I’ve come to understand this deep mystery of the Incarnation, that God loves me so much that God longs for me to bring every part of myself to God in prayer, even the parts that I’m not particularly proud of or that I don’t like to actually think about myself. God says “Bring them to the surface. Bring them to the light, into my presence, and allow me to transfigure and redeem everything that you are. That is how much I love you.”
So perhaps some questions we might ask today are “How honest am I in my prayers?”, and then secondly to perhaps hear God’s invitation to bring the deepest parts of our humanity up into God’s searching love, that we might be healed and redeemed and set free. That is how much God loves us.