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”
To behold something is to attentively look upon it and to contemplate it with admiration. That which is beheld obviously contains qualities able to capture the attention of the one beholding – qualities such as value, uniqueness, beauty, complexity, ability, etc. It is easy to see how a landscape or a composition of music or a person or a piece of writing can engender a sense of wonder and admiration. We were created to behold, all too often however our beholding is wrongly placed.
The disciples ‘beheld’ the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ when He was transfigured before their eyes. They beheld His glory as He ministered to those around Him, His Words and actions gripped their minds. They looked on and they contemplated and they worshipped. Let us note five important realities which made this possible:
1. The Word became flesh: “the Word” denotes the idea of revelation. The second person of the Trinity, “the revelation of God”, took upon Himself flesh without relinquishing His divine nature in order to reveal what would otherwise be unknown.
2. The Word dwelt among us: He pitched His tent (tabernacled) in this world for a short time, revealing God’s purpose in salvation that we might dwell with Him forever.
3. The Word manifested His glory: through the incarnation the Son of God manifested the glorious character and attributes of God in a personal way. If you have seen Me, you have seen the Father said Jesus.
4. The Word is the only begotten of the Father: begotten means of the same substance. Christ and His Father are one. As the Father’s only begotten Son, He alone could reveal the glory of God.
5. The Word is full of grace and truth: He is ‘the way, the truth and the life’. Christ came not to condemn but in order to seek and save that which is lost.
Although we haven’t experienced the ministry of Jesus with our physical eyes and ears; we experience His ministry by faith. And through faith we also behold His glory. We, no less than the disciples ought to contemplate and marvel at the wonder of His person and work. Every aspect of the Lord Jesus warrants a lifetime of study and reflection. Samuel Johnson famously said, ‘when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford’. What are we to say of the person disinterested or tired of Christ? They are without life and dead within; they are enamoured with this world and behold things of temporal and transient value. In Christ alone there is real life, beauty, joy, wisdom and hope. Everything else is a poor substitute. May we day by day know what it is to behold His glory.