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 testified concerning him. He cried out, saying, “This is the one I spoke about when I said, ‘He who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’”) Out of his fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known.
With whom have you made your dwelling? We don’t use that word often today, and you would probably get a strange look if you were to ask a new neighbor, “Where did you dwell before you moved here?” In one sense, your dwelling is simply the place where you currently reside. It’s your house and more broadly your neighborhood and community. The word John chose actually has roots in the act of pitching a tent, and more specifically in Biblical language, to setting up a tabernacle. This points back to the Tabernacle where God’s presence dwelt among the Israelites during their wilderness wanderings and for the many generations before Solomon built the Temple in Jerusalem. The Tabernacle was God’s dwelling place, not just a tent set up for a night in the desert, but a place that symbolized God’s glory and power among his people. Where they went, God went. Where they set up their tents, God made his dwelling in the Tabernacle.
So, Jesus took on our flesh, took on the real, physical reality of our human bodies, and He made his dwelling among us. Jesus’ physical body became the tabernacle in which the glory of God resided for those few years of Jesus’ earthly life. God pitched his tent among us in the person of Jesus. There’s much more we could unwind theologically about how Jesus’ incarnation fulfilled the prophetic promise of the Tabernacle and Temple, but we also need to remember that Jesus’ dwelling among us was not just a temporary arrangement. Jesus didn’t just pitch his tent on earth for a few years and then move away. He came to stay, to dwell here among us for as long as this world lasts and then into eternity. Jesus no longer walks around in a physical body, limited to one small place at a time. Now, He dwells in our hearts, through the presence of his Holy Spirit. Now, God tabernacles with you, with me and with all faithful followers of Jesus.
What a blessing it is to love the God who dwells among his people! He’s not a far off, distant, uninvolved deity floating up in the clouds. No, our God walks with us. He speaks to us. He carries us when we are weak. He touches us with healing and comfort. He dwells in our hearts. Jesus became flesh to reveal God’s grace and truth, and his Spirit dwells among us still.
Father in Heaven, You revealed Your love for me and all people when You sent Jesus into the world. Thank You for choosing to dwell in my life through Your Holy Spirit. Teach me to feel Your presence, hear Your voice and follow Your leading each day. I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Pastor Mike Mirakian