To those that live by the letter of the law, that means nothing! John 1:14

Is was not that long ago that my fiancee’s mom died. Fortunately, she had a living trust put in place, and with only two siblings it was to be a clean 50/50 split. Being the novice that I am, I assumed that everything would go just peachy; it did not, and the brother quickly demanded the sale of the house so that he could get his half. I don’t know what motivated him; I can speculate but that rarely produces any positive outcome on my part, so I stay out of that realm as much as possible. I just know that with my fiancee as the “executor,” she had little power. The position primarily it forced her and me to work fast. We had to work quickly for two reasons:

  1. There are time frames you must work within. The time frames are liberal enough, but anything with stress added can have you pulling your hair out.

  2. We live in California, and California seems to have gone crazy as far as housing costs go. Rentals can easily cost you two thousand dollars a month. Housing, on the other hand, is averaging $460,000 for the smallest of homes. We were lucky as the assessment used for trust purposes came in low and we got to split that amount, minus expenses. That creates another problem because you are not going to buy much of anything out right anymore.

Am I just whining again? No, there is a point to this.

Even though there was a “living trust” there were problems with interpretation, and, there was an addendum, a handwritten note from grandma expressing desires that were not included in the trust. Now, to those that wish to live by the letter of the law, that means nothing, and the result was that we had to live by the legal and binding document.

Hopefully, you are beginning to catch on to the theme at hand – God’s written word and the importance of that Word.

Typically I use the New American Standard Bible translation when I am quoting verses. Is it the best? Well, it is a far sight better than some. However, wisdom tells me to do my homework when I am doing Bible study, and one of the ways I can do that is to compare translations.

John 1:14 NASB “And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as wp-1477765426065.jpgof the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.”

Let’s take little bites at a time.

  • the Word became flesh.”

    What kind of assumptions can I make from this?

      • That Jesus was the Word.

      • That Jesus was not flesh in the beginning.

      • And that there was no way of distinguishing much difference between God, the Word, and Spirit. Each of them, no matter what their form, was present at the beginning of creation.

      • This act of becoming flesh was not simply some genetic blob that evolved into man, the Word, an entity separate and yet in every way an aspect of God, became a man.

    Most of you know this story line.

Did Christ, in his grand entrance into the world, merely step into it as a full grown man? The answer is, NO. He came as a newborn child. How and why would that present a problem?

How and why would that present a problem?

If you have grandchildren, then you know that some can be a blessing, while others can make you want to pull your hair out. Jesus had the potential for being one of the two options; however, God bypassed the broken nature of man by injected his sperm into the woman, eliminating Jesus being born with a sin nature.

What does that mean?

It means that sin was not the driving force behind everything He did. A marked contrast to the struggles we humans always deal with. 

(Get a grip! Just because you are not an alcoholic does not mean you don’t have SIN issues. In other words, you miss the mark, just as I do. Perhaps yours, like the Apostle Paul and I, is anger. Maybe you are unfortunate enough to struggle with codependency issues – those are large enough to debilitate you.)

So the bottom line here is that we all have issues that push us just hard enough to miss the bulls-eye. If you are foolish enough to try to tell me that you don’t have any problems, then chalk your maladjustment up to pride.

You, being knowledgeable in the scriptures, know that the Bible tells us that Jesus never sinned. Since we also know that sinning is merely missing the mark – an easy issue when target shooting, then we can say that Jesus never missed the mark.

To be honest, I struggle with this story when I read it because Jesus intentionally made a whip of cords so that he could drive the money changers and vendors out of the Gentile court of the temple. How do I justify what looks like anger and its associated level of violence, especially when I struggle with such things?

Still, He never sinned. If He had, he could not have been the spotless lamb sacrificed on the cross, at the hands of the high priest that day.

Okay, let’s settle some arguments because they will come.

    • Who spoke with Abram, telling him that he would be the father of many nations?

      The answer is: the pre-incarnate Jesus. I realize that is a religious word, but all it means is the embodiment of Jesus before his birth. Egad, how does that happen? In this case two ways:

      1. Probably because the dream/vision that Abram had was so vivid that it had no distinction from reality. No one seems to pay attention to that aspect, and, if you get involved with most any church, and they talk about this moment in time, they will relate it as though Jesus/God actually did this. I know that is what I thought.

      2. Another possibility is that God works in dimensions of space and time that are outside of our comprehension. Mind you that statement is not such a stretch, as Albert Einstein also theorized that these dimensions exist. A Jewish Rabbi and thinker from the fifteenth century, named Maimonides came up with these same concepts using the Law and the Prophets (The Torah and the Talmud.) Therefore it is feasible that God operates within the realm of reality as He invades your dreams.

        Another example: Many within the Muslim world, having never opened a Bible, are having dreams in which Jesus shows up and speaks to them. Since they have nothing which might give them a preconceived idea of what Jesus looks like, how is it that they know who He is?

So we have multiple incursions by Jesus, before His birth through Mary, into the world. Many of these are designated as the angel of the Lord, and Jacob is a good example of that. (You can read about Jacob and this incident in Genesis 28.)

  • and dwelt among us”

The Complete Jewish Bible translated this verse as:

(CJB) The Word became a human being and lived with us, and we saw his Sh’khinah, the Sh’khinah of the Father’s only Son, full of grace and truth.

The thing I want to focus on is the phrase, “and dwelt among us.”

The words seem simple enough, but consider that we have people who live next door to us, and yet, we never know them. To comprehend that God lived with us in an intimate way, one that touchable, just seems incomprehensible, doesn’t it?

Was Jesus life some secret that proves to the world that He is merely some fairy tale and therefore unknowable? NO, everybody knew he was here. Why could they not say, I did not know He was here? Because of the message he spoke and the things he did. What Jesus said and did got spread throughout the villages and remote places to the point that people came from everywhere to hear Him and get whatever they could from Him. True, many came just because of what they could get from Him. Others, especially the Pharisees, came to fight and eventually to kill Him – or so they thought, while an ever increasing number chose to be disciples alongside the original 12.

To say He dwelt among us could imply someone aloof and unreachable, and that is why translations such as the Complete Jewish Bible, or Darby’s translation which says he, dwelt among us. Give us the idea that He was here because God had an intent or plan.

That plan included the demonstration of who He was. If that is the case, what did God demonstrate about Himself? (To comprehend a question like this requires your submission to the idea that Jesus was God.)

If you, like the Jews, are not convinced, what would it take to convince you, which is one of the main reasons John wrote this gospel? 

Jesus himself said, “if you have seen me, you have seen the Father.” That should have been enough, but he also told the critics that he only did what He saw the Father do. How would any of that have taken place without being before the Father in glory? That is why apologists, like Lee Stroebel, make bold statements like Jesus was either a bold faced liar or He was the Son of God, as He said because no man would have given himself willingly to such torture and death for such a lie.

You can begin by turning your life over to Him.

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