John 1:1 – “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”
John 1:14 – “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us…”
We are a family of book nerds. When we moved to the great northeast, we literally left boxes of books behind in storage because we couldn’t bear to part with them. Even with the internet and kindle, my daughter still puts books on her Christmas list, and reads them in bed with a light.
She comes by it honestly. I can remember many nights as a kid, falling asleep with a book and waking up to it by my pillow the next morning. As I grew older and walked into dark trials, sometimes I would fall asleep reading the Bible, the words bringing peace to my troubled spirit. I’m not ashamed to confess that there were times I snuggled with it like you would a beloved parent or close sibling. It was almost as if it were… human.
One day when I was about 12 or 13 the words of John 1 leaped out at me: “The Word was God. And the Word became flesh…” Say what? Flesh? How? How can a word be anything but little black letters on a page? Or sounds that come out of my mouth?
More Than a Book
I’m not sure the world’s greatest theologians with the finest lexicons could explain God satisfactorily for human comprehension. How do you explain Someone that has no beginning or ending? How do you explain how Someone could be both fully man and fully God? How do you explain that God is The Word? Even if I could, it would not convey the heart of the matter to you. Because here it is, simply put:
- The Word is so much more than a Book.
- The Word is a Person who wants fellowship with you and me.
I have forgotten that so often. In my efforts to “line up” with the written word, pray “according to” the word, and “minister” the word, I forget the Word is a Person. A Person with feelings.
God laughs. God cries. He dances. He sings. He gets angry. He gets frustrated. He gets jealous over our affections. God loves fiercely. And He very much wants to be loved back.
More Than a Relative
You’ve probably heard it said “Christianity is not a religion, it’s a relationship.” That would be true. But let’s look at how God views it: “For God is faithful through whom you were called into fellowship with His Son Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 1:9). Beyond relationship, He is calling us into fellowship. Did the people in Laodicea have a relationship with God? Had they been born into His family? Yep. Did they have fellowship? Nope. Why else would Jesus be on the outside knocking to come in? (Revelation 3:20).
When my babies were born, my relationship with them began. They shared my DNA, and my name was on their birth certificates as a “relative.” How sad it would be if, after the birth, I never got close to them, sat down to dinner with them or got involved in their daily lives. I wouldn’t know their laughter, share their dreams and know their hearts. I would be related, but I wouldn’t know them. How much I would have missed!
The new birth is a wonderful beginning, but God’s greater desire is close fellowship with His children. He wants to share our celebrations and sorrows; He wants to be in the middle of everything.
More Than a Building
The whole story of the Bible is Perfect Love creating opportunities for fellowship. He put Himself in the Garden, then in the Tabernacle, then in human form, and finally in our hearts. I’m all about church, but don’t you get it? WE are His dwelling place now. Jesus didn’t die on a cross just so we could go to a building a couple of times a week. No, He suffered, bled and died to have daily fellowship. The ripped veil in the temple on the day Jesus breathed His last breath was a bold symbol that God had finally bridged the gap between Himself and His treasured creation. It would be like the day your son or daughter was acquitted after a long trial. That was a special day for God.
Glory to Glory
Just as our fellowship with our children changes over time, so should our fellowship with God. The Apostle Paul taught us that in the new covenant, we enter into this fellowship, and go from glory to glory (2 Corinthians 3:16-18)! In a beautiful passage, Isaiah reveals the progression of how we grow together with the mighty God in Christ Jesus (Isaiah 9:6, ESV):
“And his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor,
Prince of Peace.”
Wonderful Counselor – Jesus first becomes our Savior and our fellowship is so wonderful. He rescues us from sin, and counsels us through the effects that sin has had on us. Like a baby, it is easy to adore Him because His hand feeds us and carries us everywhere.
Mighty God – We recognize Him as Lord. We begin to see the authority of the only Person that never changes. We realize that we can’t make Him into what we want Him to be, or manipulate Him as we sometimes can others. He is the “I AM” that changes not, and His lordship is final. Similar to a small child, we may wrestle some with this, but it brings us security.
Everlasting Father – We move into a deeper fellowship and communion with God as we realize He does everything from the heart of a loving parent. Even His chastening is sweet. We lean into the knowledge that, as a good Father, His love is everlasting and will always be there for us. We learn to trust Him more, especially in areas of provision and protection.
Prince of Peace – As a healthy relationship between a parent and an adult child, we enter into both a partnership and close friendship with God. Just as we have learned to trust Him, we have hopefully given Him reason to trust us as well. He can call us into the deep things such as the fellowship of suffering, and the challenges of the mission fields. Our fellowship is not only daily, but moment-by-moment communion with our dearest Friend. Because we have learned submission, there is never enmity with Him, only a continual abiding peace.
No one has ever seen the 19th picture on my phone but me. It’s a candid, unflattering snapshot I took of my daughter and her dad, both who had fallen asleep snuggling on the couch. Their mouths are slightly open, Brooke’s hand resting on Jeff’s chest. This is more than just an image on a Samsung to me. It’s a reflection of the heart of God. She’s a young adult now, partnering with her dad in worship leading and campus ministry. Some might say she is too old for snuggling, but she would say they’re wrong. I think God would agree.