In Him was life and life was the light of all men. The light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it. John 1:4–5 (ESV)John 1:4–5 (ESV)
The Advent season is a time of expectant waiting for the coming of Christ, the Son of God. In the prologue to John’s gospel, the first 18 verses set the stage for the arrival of this Savior who will bring the light of salvation to lost people living in darkness. In our first Advent study we pondered the eternal nature of Jesus and learned that Jesus existed long before Christmas. Jesus is the light of the world because He is, in fact, God.
- In this study, we want to consider another astounding truth about Jesus. John writes, the Word, the Light, the eternal Son of God, came into our world as a real human. Read John 1:1–18 several times. What do you learn about the humanity of Jesus Christ?
Verse 14 is one of the most staggering statements in the Bible.
And the Word became flesh… John 1:14 (ESV)John 1:14 (ESV)
Think about the implications of God coming to us as a human.
Commentator Bruce Milne makes the following observation:
The word flesh is a startling one (sarx). John deliberately bypasses “man” or “a body”. “Flesh” stands for the whole person; it refers to human existence in its frailty and vulnerability. Jesus identified with us to that degree. He made our creaturely weakness His very own form of being. Bruce MilneBruce Milne
- How does this wonderful truth of God coming to us in flesh bring you peace and comfort?
- How does the incarnation of Jesus make Christianity unique from all other world religions in the world?
- John 1:1–18 makes the case that Jesus was both God, the eternal Word that created the world, and the Word that came to us in flesh as a real human being. Which truth about Jesus do you find more difficult to understand and believe? Why?
- The Bible clearly teaches that God came to us as a human being in Christ. We should admit that this truth overwhelms the mind. C. S. Lewis rightly calls the incarnation the Grand Miracle. Certainly one appropriate response to this grand miracle is humility. How does the fact that Jesus took the initiative in coming to us in flesh cause you to respond in humility?
- Verse 14 continues,
And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us… John 1:14 (ESV)
What is the difference between visiting and dwelling? What does the fact that Jesus dwelt among us tell you about the nature and mission of Jesus?
- To be a human being is to know and experience weakness and suffering. No matter how wonderful our lives are, there is pain that accompanies living in this world. The Christmas story proclaims that Jesus dwelt with us in a broken world. He personally experienced pain, and ultimately, the supreme suffering of the cross. His suffering was part of His dwelling with us. What comfort do you find knowing that Jesus has firsthand knowledge of the types of frustrations, disappointments, loneliness and sorrows we experience?
- Verse 18 unambiguously says that
No one has ever seen God John 1:18 (ESV)
. Our passage, however, ends with the surprising words He [Jesus] has made Him [God] known. What does the incarnate Jesus tell you about the character and nature of God?
- Gather up your thoughts from this study. How does John 1:1–18 and the truths we have looked at affect your life practically? In other words, so what? What difference does all this make as you live the Christian life?
Study prepared by Santa Barbara Community Church. Used with permission.
This Advent Study has been created for both homegroup and individual use. Benji Bruneel wrote study 1, Steve Jolley study 2 and Reed Jolley wrote studies 3 and 4. Thanks to Santa Barbara Community Church for granting International Bible Fellowship permission to use this study.