“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us…” (John 1:14)
From the early pages of the Bible, when God first foretold of the “seed of the woman” who would one day bruise the head of the serpent (see Genesis 3:15), the coming of the Redeemer was prophesied. He was revealed in Old Testament types and shadows, from the brazen serpent (see Numbers 21:4-9) to the Passover Lamb. Details of his life were prophesied by Old Testament prophets, from the place of his birth, to the manner of his death, to very price that would be paid to his betrayer. In fact, three hundred prophesies regarding his first advent were fulfilled during the life of Jesus as the very Word of God was made flesh.
He was the very embodiment of the mind and will of God as well. As the writer to the Hebrews wrote, Jesus was, and is, “the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person” (Hebrews 1:3). Everything He did was a revelation of the Father (John 1:18); the living, walking expression of the will and purpose of God. He was the Word incarnate. Even his birth reveals this. As the angel Gabriel delivered his message to the virgin who would bear the Christ, Mary believed, and, as the Holy Spirit overshadowed her, that word from God was made flesh in her womb.
However, the incarnational realities of God’s word do not stop there. In a very real way, God’s word is “made flesh” in each and every believer when they receive the life of God. As Peter said, “having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever” (1 Peter 1:23). When one is born again, the life and nature of God is imparted to the heart of the man or woman who puts their faith in Christ. That word becomes the seed by which the Holy Spirit does the work of regeneration, as the truth of the gospel fertilizes and brings to life our sin-darkened spirit. Suddenly our spiritual DNA is changed, and we become, in the truest sense possible, a son or daughter of God.
In fact, God is still speaking today. Just as Jesus was the living expression of God’s will, so too we can express His will in the earth as we walk out the realities of God’s word and His purposes in our lives. His purposes are revealed to men and women of faith who either hear and believe or doubt and disregard His direction to their hearts. He does not want His purposes to go unfulfilled, stillborn in the barren womb of unbelief, but brought to term through men and women of faith who will have a vision to see His will fulfilled in and through their lives. The book of Hebrews speaks of the great heroes of faith who wrought wonders by their obedience to God’s particular word to them.
“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good testimony. By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.” (Hebrews 11:1-3)
Yes, God created the universe with His Word. Ex nihilo is the Latin phrase which means “something out of nothing.” The entire material universe came out of absolutely nothing, at least by way of any pre-existing material. When God spoke He not only created physical matter, but the very space/time in which that matter would exist to form our physical universe. But this passage speaks of more than the creation of the material universe. It really speaks in a deeper way of God’s word being brought to physical reality through the lives of those great men and women of faith who dared to take Him at His word.
The word “worlds” in Hebrews 11:3 is the Greek word aions, which really refers to a period of time. We might use this word in the same way today when we say things like, “This is a different world than the one in which our parents grew up.” Here we are seeing the “world” through the eyes of time and not merely as physical matter. This gives us a key insight to what the writer of this passage is really getting at. Each of these great heroes of faith later recorded in this chapter: Noah, Moses, Abraham, and so on, each heard God’s word to them. To Noah it was directions to build a boat that would serve as the means of salvation for his family. To Moses, it was to lead the children of Israel out of bondage and give them God’s law. To Abraham it was to go to a land he did not know in which God would give him an inheritance for his children forever. As these men and women of faith acted on what God told them to do, the word “became flesh,” as it were, and God’s purposes were carried out, shaping and framing the world of that time.
What will shape our generation? Will it be the ungodly, secular ideologies that are in vogue in our cultural landscape? Will it be the materialism and hedonism by which many are carried away and held captive? By what will our world be shaped? How will others define this time in history? We who are the Church of Jesus Christ must realize that God has a word for us in this hour. The specific direction He speaks to one may be different from that which He speaks to another, as He will use each of us according to the unique gifts and calling He has place upon our lives, but as we each respond in faith to the call of God, we will see a beautiful symphony of corresponding obedience to God’s purpose.
For myself, I want my life to be a response to God’s purpose and calling. I want His word made flesh in and through me. If you’re a child of God, I’m sure you want that too, and the only way we can see it come to pass is by staying connected to the One from whom our purpose and direction comes. It’s not about “trying” so much as it is abiding. God does not work His purpose in a day or even a year, but over the course of our lives. As we stay connected to Him through His word, prayer, and in the fellowship of other believers, His Spirit will lead us in line with His purpose that we, like the Master, might be able to say, “I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do” (John 17:4).