“TELL ME THE STORY MOST PRECIOUS”: THE WORD WHO DWELT AMONG US
By Wayne S. Walker
Paul preached Jesus Christ and Him crucified (1 Corinthians 2:1-5). We must believe in Jesus, or we shall die in our sins (John 8:24). To believe in Him, we must hear about Him, because saving faith comes from hearing the word (Romans 10:17). Therefore, Jesus still needs to be preached, as Philip did with the Samaritans and the Ethiopian (Acts 8:5, 35). In 1880 Fanny J. Crosby wrote, “Tell me the story of Jesus, Write on my heart every word. Tell me the story most precious, Sweetest that ever was heard.” The story of Jesus includes many items, including His birth, temptations, life and ministry, sufferings, death, and resurrection. But what does the Bible say about this individual who came from heaven to earth?
“That was the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. John bore witness of Him and cried out, saying, ‘This was He of whom I said, “He who comes after me is preferred before me, for He was before me.”’ And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace. For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him” (John 1:9-18). The purpose of this article is to examine the Word who dwelt among us.
Who was He? He was, always has been, still is, and ever will be the divine Son of God, just as Peter confessed, when Jesus asked who the apostles thought that He was, saying, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:13-17). However, we did not live when Jesus was on earth, nor hear the teachings directly from His lips, nor see the miracles which He performed. So, upon what basis can we reach this conclusion? “And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name” (John 20:30-31). Furthermore, God Himself testified to the identity of Jesus by raising Him from the tomb. Paul wrote, “Concerning His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who was born of the seed of David according to the flesh, and declared to be the Son of God with power according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead” (Romans 1:3-4).
What is He? He is the Savior. This was declared even before His birth. An angel appeared to Joseph to explain how Mary was with child of the Holy Spirit, saying, “You shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins” (Matthew 1:18-21). Then right after He was born, an angel said to the shepherds of Bethlehem, “For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:8-11). Jesus Himself understood that this is what He came to be. He once announced, “For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost” Luke 19:10). And this is precisely what He was proclaimed to be. Paul wrote, “This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief” (1 Timothy 1:15).
When and where did He come? He came in first century Palestine. According to Luke 2:1-2ff, His birth occurred when Caesar Augustus was on the throne and Quirinius (or Cyrenius) was in his first term as governor of Syria. Then according to Luke 3:1-2, His earthly ministry began when Tiberius Caesar was on the throne and Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea. This was when Rome, the fourth world empire of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream in Daniel 2, ruled the world. All of this was done to carry out God’s providential plan. “But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law” (Galatians 4:4). Thus, it shows that the story of Jesus is not a myth, legend, fairy tale, or fable. Those kinds of stories take place long ago and far away, during a golden age in a land before time. However, Jesus came in a time and place that can be confirmed by eyewitness accounts both historically and geographically. This is why Peter wrote, “For we did not follow cunningly devised fables when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty” (2 Peter 1:16).
Why did He come? The simple answer is to bring us to God. “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit” (1 Peter 3:18). But why is this necessary? It is because of sin which separates us from God (Isaiah 59:1-2). All responsible people have to deal with this problem (Romans 3:23). And there are serious consequences, “For the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23). Yet, Paul said that God “desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:3-4). So He sent His Son to this earth, not only to bring us to God in this life but ultimately bring us to God in heaven. “In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also” (John 14:1-3).
That is ultimately why the Word became flesh and dwelt among us. The God who created us wants us to come and live with Him forever in His heavenly abode. However, we have transgressed His law and are not fit to dwell with Him. Yet He still loves us enough that “He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). It is truly “Amazing Grace” to see what a great sacrifice our God would make to redeem us in sending His Son, the Word, to become flesh, dwell among us, and be our sacrifice for sin.
—from Search for Truth; September 13, 2015; Volume VII, Number 7