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Moving Into Our Neighborhood

Key References: John 1:14; Hebrews 2:14-18; The Desire of Ages, chap. 1, pp. 19-26; The Bible Story (1994), vol. 7, pp. 160-163; Our Beliefs nos. 4, 10, 9

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“The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14).

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Jesus came to show us how much God loves us.

Have you ever moved to a new house? Did you wonder if you’d fit into the new neighborhood? Maybe you’ve had someone new move into your neighborhood. How did you go about making friends?

The scratching of John’s reed pen on the parchment came to a sudden stop. Once again he felt the need to think carefully about what he was trying to communicate. I’ve already explained how Jesus was the Word, the message of light and life from God, John mused.

I think that’s pretty clear. But now for this next part . . .

Once again John played with his reed while he thought. He was the only disciple left, the last one who had walked and talked and eaten and lived with Jesus. He was writing down what he had seen and heard before it was too late—before his witness was gone forever. It was so important to choose the right words to communicate exactly who Jesus was to those who had never met Him in person.

Yes, He was God, John thought. He was God who created the world with the power of His word. He always was and always had been. But then He made a choice. He chose to leave the splendor of heaven in order to come down to this earth. He became a man.

John picked up the reed and dipped it. The Word, the message of who God was, took on human form and became a man. “The Word became flesh,” he wrote across the parchment.

But it was more than just becoming human, John thought. He was such an unusual person. People responded to Him in a way they had never responded to anyone else. Huge crowds followed Him wherever He went. They invited Him to their parties. They brought their children to be blessed by Him. They loved Him. And He loved them back. He was God, but He was one of us.

John thought back to some of the miracles he had seen Jesus perform. The first one had been at that wedding, in Cana. Whose wedding had it been? He couldn’t even remember. But he remembered the look of desperation on Mary’s face when she came to tell Jesus they had run out of grape juice. The entire party was about to come to a screeching halt. The host would be embarrassed. But Jesus didn’t like to see anyone suffering, even of embarrassment, so He saved the party by turning water into wine. Now, that was fitting in.

Then John remembered the time Jesus raised a widow’s son from the dead. That was in Nain. That poor woman was so grieved that Jesus couldn’t help being moved by her sorrow. So He gave her back her son.

And later on in Bethany His good friend Lazarus had died. Jesus raised him from the dead too, but not before He shed a few tears Himself, as if He were part of the family. Those who saw the whole thing even commented on how much Jesus loved Lazarus.

Yes, He loved us, John thought. No matter who, no matter where. He was a part of us—and there was no better way to show us how much God loved us than by becoming one of us and living with us, feeling our sorrow, healing our pain, sharing our joy, and then dying on the cross for our sins. He told us that if we had seen Him, we had seen the Father. Well, after you came to know Jesus, there was no way you couldn’t believe that God loved us too. By living with us, Jesus showed us what God is really like. John dipped again and read what he had already written: “The Word became flesh.” Yes, thought John, and more. “And made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14).

It still amazes me, thought John. God loved us so much that He took on human form and came to live with us and be one of us so we could have a clearer picture of how much God loves us. That truly is grace.