Tonight, we met our expositor for the week: Ramez Atallah. Ramez will be working through John 1-4 over the course of the week. I'm really looking forward to his teaching.
Tonight, Ramez focused on John 1:14:
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.
Ramez movingly talked to us about the wild love of the incarnation. He compared Jesus' being born in an unsanitary stable to missionaries choosing to give birth to their child in one of the world's poor garbage villages. As an expectant father, I can't imagine a love that would be willing to endure those conditions, to take that risk. But God chose to leave the safety and comfort of heaven to dwell among us. That's the Incarnation.
According to Ramez, John 1:14 and the Incarnation provide us with three M's:
The means by which God reaches out to us
In the Middle East, where John's gospel is based, you honor someone not by inviting them, but by visiting them. Think about where you're more comfortable: at your home or at someone else's? You would honor or reach out to someone by going to where their comfortable, their turf. And this is how God reached out to us, reaches out to us. He doesn't demand that we go to him. He comes to us.
The message which God wants to communicate to us
In the Incarnation, we see the glory of God, Jesus is the new temple. In the Incarnation, we experience God's grace: both undeserved favor and beauty. In the Incarnation, we are challenged by God's truth, not in a philosophy, but in a person. This absolute, the truth that is Jesus, God the Word, is for all people.
The model for how we minister
The Incarnation gives us values for ministry. So many of us use business tactics and strategies in ministry - and that's okay - but we start to value business values, and that's dangerous. The Incarnation displays the values God carries in ministry, Philippians 2 values: vulnerability, identification, weakness.
God has given us the means, the message, and the model when he came in the flesh. Let's live lives that reflect the One who has moved into our neighborhood.