In John 1:14 we read
And the word became flesh, and tented among us, and we beheld His glory, glory as a unique One from the Father, filled with grace and reality.
Notice several things:
- This literal, more accurate translation reveals much that the KJV does not.
- We learn truth about Jesus’ first advent and person that we don’t learn about elsewhere
- These truths are of importance to us in our daily, living relationship to Him.
Notice that His stay among us was temporary: He “tented” among us—He set up no permanent living quarters. He intended to spend only enough time here to accomplish what He needed to do upon His trip. From the time of His anointing as the Messiah (His baptism) to His death, He lived among us for only 3 1/2 years. His entire earthly dwelling was about 33 years in all. He intended not to remain, but to come and accomplish a purpose, and then leave—precisely what He did.
Note also that He was God’s message transformed from words alone into a living person (‘flesh”) so that we could see and hear him do and say what it was that God wanted us to know about Himself, delivered in this form. To see truth in person, in action, is more dramatic, clearer, memorable, etc.
Moreover, He was unique. He was not only-begotten—all believers are begotten of God. The word really means (as it does in John 3: 16, etc.) “the only one of His kind.” Only Jesus cold accomplish what He did because as a Person Who was unique in the ways in which He was, only He could do it. Only He, for instance, was God become man while yet remaining God as well.
Finally, He was full of grace (“help” of the sort sinners need) and reality. There are two words N.T. Greek for “truth”—one for truth over against falsehood (not the one used here); the other reality as over against its shadow. The Old Testament was full of shadowy types and truths, but no realities. He was the reality that cast those shadows—the shadows that were but unreal, vague types, or pictures, of the reality that they represent. He is the reality itself.
Take time to concentrate on each of these items and as you do, you will gain a much clearer understanding of Jesus and His earthly mission. Apart from a literal translation, you miss much of what God wants you to know about Jesus Christ.