The Good News - Home

The Word Became Flesh

by David A. DePra

     The fact that the Word of God became flesh and blood is nothing

more than a description of the incarnation. But understanding what

the incarnation is, and how God became man, is central to

Christianity. The best place to begin is John 1.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the

Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All

things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made

that was made.....And the Word was made 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 1:1-3,14)

     Here we see that Jesus -- the Word, or "Logos," -- WAS God. We

also see that He was distinct from the beginning as a person from

the Father. John goes on, in verse 14, to make sure we have no

misunderstanding as to who the Word was. He says, "And the

Word became flesh and dwelt among us." The Word was God

Incarnate -- God become man -- Jesus Christ.

     The Greek word translated "Word" is "Logos." It is a commonly

used term, but here used as a proper name for God Himself. The

term "Logos" means "the spoken word." So in using this term

Logos" as a name for Jesus, John is saying that Jesus was God's

living message to us. He was, as it were, the One in and through

whom God revealed Himself. When Jesus said, "If you have seen

Me, you have seen the Father," He pretty much captured the intent

in this word "Logos."

Pre-Existance of the Word

     When John writes, "And the Word became flesh," he is showing

that Jesus existed BEFORE He became a man. There are a

number of other places in John where Jesus Himself makes this


Jesus said unto them, "If God were your Father, ye would love me:

for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself,

but He sent Me." (John 8:42)

And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory

which I had with thee before the world was. (John 17:5)

     If Jesus had NOT existed before being born of Mary, then He

could not have been "sent" by God. And certainly, His prayer of

John 17:5 could not be plainer. Jesus said He existed with God

even before the world existed -- the same thing stated by John 1.

He was God become man.

     Now all of this is important for a number of reasons, not the least

of which is this one: For Jesus to be God, He MUST exist before

becoming a man. Anything else, and Jesus is something less than

God. God is eternal and has ALWAYS existed.

     The most definitive passage in the Bible revealing to us that God

Himself left heaven to become a man is found in Philippians:

Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus, who, being

in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to

be grasped, (i.e., clung to). But made Himself nothing, taking the

very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being

found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became

became obedient to death--even death on a Cross. (Phil. 2:5-8)

     It is a shame that this passage has not been correctly translated.

The phrase, "did not consider equality with God something to be

grasped," almost makes it sound as if Jesus did not think equality

with God was possible -- which would mean He wasn't God. But

this is not what the passage says, indeed, it says the opposite. It

says, first, that Jesus was "in very nature God." His very essence,

before He was born, WAS Divine. But then it says that He made

Himself nothing -- taking the very nature of a human being. And

He did this because He did not consider equality with God to be

a thing "to seize, carry off by force." He did not consider equality

with God to be a "prize" to which He should "cling." In effect, Jesus

was willing to leave that position as God Incarnate, and become

something which, in comparison, was nothing: One of us.

     There is no argument as to the meaning of this passage among

NT Greek scholars. It reads:

Your heart attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus, who

was in very essense and nature God. But He did not consider this

to be something to cling to for Himself. Instead, He emptied

Himself of it, and became a servant -- a human being. And as a

man, He humbled Himself and became obedient unto death

on a Cross.

     We do have to be clear on one other matter here. Jesus did not

cease to BE God. No. His prior existence was never wiped away,

nor could it be. Do you know why? Because if you wipe a prior

existence away, you wipe the person away. He ceases to exist.

You must, in that case, start all over again. This is NOT what

happened. Jesus always maintained His identity, and His divine

nature. He simply emptied Himself of His right to function and

operate as God, and became limited as a man.

     This is not the greatest example -- but we'll try it. Everyone knows

who Superman is. But if Superman lost all of his powers -- or to try

to draw an analogy -- emptied himself of all his powers, he would

not be another person. He would still BE the same individual. It is

just that he would not be able function or operate the same. It was

like this with Jesus, except on an infinitely greater scale. He not

only emptied Himself of His Divine position, but He actually came

down and partook of another nature -- our nature. This means that

He was limited to operating within the nature of the human.

     We talk much about what it cost Jesus Christ to die for our sins.

We ought to. But how often have we ever thought back to what it

cost Him to leave heaven -- to empty Himself of His Divine place

as God? Yet this is the love of God. He loves us so much that He

is willing empty Himself of HIMSELF.

The Virgin Birth

     All of this leads us to the virgin birth. The virgin birth is an

essential Truth of Christianity because without it you do not have

God becoming a man. In fact, you don't even have a Saviour. Why

is that so?

     Well, first of all, if Jesus was not born of a virgin, then there are

only two other alternatives: First, He wasn't born at all. He did not

have any human parents. Instead, He just sort of materialized, or

"appeared" out of the blue. This is a heresy which sounds like

Gnostcism, or Doceticism, against which John writes his epistles.

But the reality is, if Jesus "just appeared" then we was NOT A MAN.

Human beings don't "just appear." They are BORN. That is what

makes us human.

     The second alternative to the virgin birth is that Jesus had TWO

human parents. But the problem here is that if He had two human

parents, then He wasn't God become man. He was only human.

Worse, this means He was born with a sin nature. This would

disqualify Him as Saviour.

     The only way in which God could become man is if He were born

of the union between God and man -- or in this case, woman. Then

He could possess both Divine and human nature. Then He could

be sinless. Then there could be a link maintained between the

pre-existant Word of God, and the Son of Man, Jesus Christ. You

could have the SAME person who is God, entering this world as a

human being.

     In recent times, there has been an attempt by liberal scholars to

discredit the virgin birth. They say that there are myths of a virgin

birth all throughout history, and these predate the time of Jesus. So

obviously, according to them, the virgin birth of Jesus is derived

from these. This is nothing more than a reach in the dark to try to

validate their refusal to believe the Bible. The fact that there have

been myths about a virgin birth throughout history does nothing to

disprove the fact there actually WAS one. Furthermore, there is

absolutely NO PROOF whatsoever that the virgin birth story of the

Bible was derived from these so-called myths.

     If we were really open to the Truth, we would see that from the

time of Adam and Eve, man has known about the promise of the

One who would be a Redeemer. (Gen. 3:14-16) It would be more

strange if there were NO myths in ancient cultures echoing this

promise. Myths often are only there because of a strain of Truth

behind them.

     The reality is, if there is no virgin birth, there is no Christianity.

And really, the point is moot. For if there is no virgin birth, then the

Bible is a lie, and why bother even discussing a book which is a

collection of lies? People that spend their lives trying to prove why

the Bible is a lie are doing so for a reason. And according to God

Himself, that reason is one they will answer for before the judgment

seat of Christ. But again, if you don't believe Jesus is God, why

worry? Why even bother getting offended at the suggestion? Just

laugh off all these "lies" and have a good time. Allow the rest of us

to have our religious delusion.

Mary Said YES

     Mary was a young girl, maybe about 17 years old. That is what

tradition suggests. She was visited by the angel Gabriel one night.

The conversation which occurred is as follows:

"Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God. And behold,

you shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call

his name Jesus. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of

the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his

father David. And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever;

and of his kingdom there shall be no end." Then said Mary unto

the angel, "How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?" And the

angel answered and said unto her, "The Holy Ghost shall come

upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee:

therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be

called the Son of God." (Luke 1:30-35)

     Now, here are the facts: Mary would conceive a child. But she

would NOT conceive it through the normal course of human

reproduction. There would be no human man or husband involved.

This child would be conceived as the direct result of a miracle -- the

power of the Highest would come upon Mary and a supernatural

conception would take place. The result would be a Person called

the Son of God.

     Mary simply responded by saying, "Behold, the handmaid of the

Lord; be it unto me according to thy word." (Luke 1:38)

     The way that this story is shared in Luke is so brief that it makes

Mary's surrender to the will of God seem like it was no big thing. But

it was. Imagine being a 17 year-old girl who was planning to get

married. She had many hopes and dreams. She would have likely

pictured what life was going to be like with her future husband. She

probably imagined her kids, her home, and her love. But now THIS.

Worse, how would Mary explain the pregnancy? In THAT culture?

Who was going to believe it? It even took a supernatural dream to

get Joseph to believe it. How much more difficult regarding other


     In one night, the relatively normal life of Mary was turned upside

down. It had been headed in one direction, but now was headed in

another. And all because of one word: YES.

     When Mary said YES she entered into a purpose of God that not

one person who ever lived on this planet would experience. Of

course, this purpose carried both blessings and trials. But how

could she know this? She couldn't. All she knew is that God had

chosen HER.

     It is like this with Christians. When God shows us His will, He

rarely tells us where it is going to lead us as far as circumstances.

But it will always lead us into both trials and blessings. Christians

face issues, and face enemies, which others do not face. And they

receive blessings, too. All because of the answer YES.

The Immaculate Conception

     Once Mary said YES, the stage was set for the birth of the One

who would be called Jesus. But we need to ask some practical

questions about how all this could happen. This was God about to

become man. But it was also a pre-existant Being who would be

born. How did this work?

     Well, think about it for a moment. This is a physical world. It

operates according to physical laws -- except when God intervenes

with a miracle. But the fact is, there had to be a moment -- a specific

moment in time -- when Mary became pregnant. There had to be

a moment when there was no life in her -- followed by a moment

when there WAS life. The moment of CONCEPTION.

     This was the moment in which the Word became flesh. The

Word had existed throughout all eternity. But then, at a definable

moment in TIME, He wasn't up there in heaven anymore. He was

HERE. He was inside Mary.

     We read in Philippians how Jesus "emptied Himself" of what He

had as God, and became a man. When conception took place in

Mary by the Holy Spirit, that is when this happened.

     But note: Where was Jesus at the moment of conception? Well,

if the Bible says He "left heaven," or "was sent," or "became flesh,"

then this means He never ceased to exist. He always had an

identity. Thus, there is really only one place He could be; only one

possibility. The Word of God must have been reduced down, by

the Holy Spirit, to whatever united with Mary's egg. This was the

essence of God the Word, being united with a human egg, and

what was conceived was at once both human and Divine.

     The alternatives are unacceptable. If the Holy Spirit had merely

made Jesus into an embryo, He would not be truly human. No.

There had to be a conception. Gabriel said so. He said, "Behold

you shall CONCEIVE IN YOUR WOMB....." The event of

conception took place in Mary. It wasn't the product of sex. But

into her was spiritually deposited the essence of the second

Person of the Godhead.

     Obviously, we are limited here by frame of reference. That is

because we are trying to tie the events of a time space continuum to

a God who existed from all eternity, and for that we have little

understanding. But in our time and space realm, there was a real

moment when a conception took place in Mary's womb. And at

that exact moment, there WAS life where there had been NO life

before. And that life was JESUS. It was HIM. He was no longer

the Word of God in heaven. He was in Mary's womb.

     Do you and I realize what Jesus had emptied Himself of to

become one of us? We think of Him as a man walking around, and

that is fine. But look back to where it began -- to where He entered

this realm. He became a fetus -- no -- less. He emptied Himself

of being GOD, and was reduced down to the most minute form of

human life.

A Miracle Birth

     The immaculate conception is a type of our new birth. Mary had

NOTHING to do with the conception. Except to say YES. Jesus

living in her did not come about through human effort. It was a

miracle of God.

     This is how we are saved. We have NOTHING to do with it, other

than to say YES. There is nothing we CAN have to do with it. How

does a virgin become pregnant? How do the dead come to life?

God must do it by His sovereign grace.

     But once Mary became pregnant, she had a responsibility. She

had to believe and obey God each step of the way, so that the

child would grow. Such is the case with us. There is NO COST for

the grace of God through Jesus Christ. But the cost BECAUSE we

have received it is great -- for now we have a life to take care of.

We are responsible for what we BECOME because we have

received Christ.

The Word Become Flesh

     When Mary conceived through the power of the Holy Spirit, there

was life in her that had not been there before. And at that moment,

(if heaven has "moments") there was likewise life that was absent

from heaven which had been there from all eternity. The Word had

indeed become flesh.

     Now, if the pre-incarnate Word was the One who had become

the unborn life in Mary, then He could not have been in two places

at the same time. That life HAD to be HIM. And it had to have come

about at a moment in our time and space realm. In effect, the Word

was no longer "with God" in heaven. He was "with us" on earth. He

was Emmanuel -- God with us.

     The fact that "the Word became flesh" is an essential Truth of

Christianity. God makes this clear through the apostle John:

Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are

of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.

Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that

Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: And every spirit that

confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God:

and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it

should come; and even now already is it in the world. (I Jn. 4:1-3)

     As we saw earlier, John wrote such words to combat Gnosticism.

Gnosticism taught that all of the material world was evil. Thus, for

God to actually become man would be impossible. Doceticism

was a line of teaching that stated that Jesus was not God become

man -- but God appearing as a man. A mirage. Indeed, some even

taught that "the Word" entered into "a man called Jesus," and that

this accounts for the miracles, etc. One word: Baloney.

     God did not inspire first century words for first century purposes

only. The principle given by John applies for all time. The first

application is to the nature of the Son of God. Jesus Christ was

not a man in appearance only. He was not "God inside of a man."

Jesus Christ was fully God, become fully man.

     We saw this in Philippians 2. Jesus was in "very nature" God,

who emptied Himself, not of His identity as God, but of His Divine

power and position in heaven. He became man and took upon

Himself our nature: What we are. There was no mirage here, no

mere appearance. It was real.

     Now, here's the question: Why does God give this Truth as a

fundamental test for all Truth? Notice it in I John. He says, "This

is how you will know......." God is not mincing words here. If I do not

believe the "Word became flesh" -- that "Jesus is come in the

flesh," -- I am deceived. But why?

     The Redemption is predicated upon it. A MAN had to die on the

Cross -- a perfect man. A sinless man. A sinless man -- who God

calls the LAST ADAM -- had to bear all of the sin of the world. All of

the sin of the "first Adam." A spirit being could not do this. God had

to do it -- but as a man. There is no other way to atone for sin.

God told Adam, "In the day you eat thereof, you shall surely die."

Adam represented the human race. When Adam died spiritually,

there was NO LIFE in the human race. None. It was gone, as justly


     The only possible solution for this dilemma is to provide a

substitute. That was Jesus Christ. Jesus became a man and lived

a perfect life, in order to qualify to DIE in Adam's place. Thus, when

He hung on the Cross, there was placed in Him all the sin of the first

Adam. He died the death of all of us, and was later raised to NEW


     None of this is possible unless Jesus was a man. None of it

could be unless the Word became flesh. Thus, "the Word became

flesh" is basic to Christianity. There is no compromise with this


The Word in US

     God wants the Word to become manifest in US. In effect, He

wants us to be born in us, and live through us. And this too, is

something that MUST BE if Christianity is real. Any teaching which

makes Christianity something which is not truly experienced by

flesh and blood human beings -- but is too "spiritual" for that -- is

not of God. It is really saying that "Jesus is NOT come in the flesh,"

that is, MY flesh.

     In order for the Word to be made flesh -- through me -- I first have

to do what Mary did: Say YES. I have to surrender my life to Christ.

Then I have to work out my surrender, that is, my salvation, by faith

and obedience. As I do, I begin to "show," as a pregnant woman

does. And eventually, a child is born. Or to put it another way,

Jesus Christ is seen. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in


The Good News - Home

Hit Counter