Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The "Tenting" God

One of the most beautiful passages in scripture has to be John 1:14: “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.” This text is pregnant with meaning.

To begin with, John tells us that that “Word,” which existed from the very beginning, “became flesh and dwelt among us.” The word that is used for “dwelt” here literally means to “tabernacle” or “tent” among us. This shows us that Jesus was the fulfillment of the Old Testament sanctuary and its services. All the sacrifices and festivals culminated in His life.

But it also tells us that Jesus was eager to be among His people—so much so that He pitched a tent and camped among us. As one version puts it, “The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood.” Interestingly, as you may recall, the tabernacle in the Old Testament was in the very center of the camp among the Children of Israel. God didn’t want to be on the outskirts of town. He wanted to be in the very center of the “action.”

And the same was true of Jesus, of course. For 33 years He “camped” among His people, eager for fellowship and initiating relationships.

What may come as a further surprise for us is that it was in this tabernacle-ing that “we beheld His glory.” Usually we think of glory as being something very powerful. God thumps His chest and exerts His sovereign authority. He dazzles us with His might and power. This, to us, is glory. But God’s definition of glory is almost the complete opposite of ours. His glory consists—not of wealth, strength, and brute force—but of humility, love, and drawing closer to His people. It consists of “grace and truth,” of giving, rather than taking.

So here’s the question: does such a picture of God draw your heart to His?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


That text has always thrilled me.