(Vs. 10) "HE WAS IN THE WORLD" refers to His incarnation and the 33 years He tabernacled among men. WHO WAS IN THE WORLD? The great Creator, Who made the world! He came not to judge but to save. He came not as a lion to destroy but as a Lamb to redeem. He came not to be ministered unto but to minister and to give His life a ransom for many. What kind of reception did He receive? "THE WORLD KNEW HIM NOT" (Isa. 53:1-3; I Cor. 2:7-8).
(Vs. 11) "HE CAME UNTO HIS OWN" refers to the nation Israel, the seed of Abraham. He came to His temple, His priesthood, and the people who had eagerly awaited the appearance of the Messiah for centuries; but they received Him not! It began with "no room in the inn" and culminated with shouts at the crucifixion, "We have no king but Caesar" (Acts 3:22-26).
(Vs. 12) If the world knew Him not and the Jews received Him not, is the purpose of God defeated? No! The purpose of God in all things shall stand! (Prov. 19:21; Isa. 46:9-11; John 6:37-39.) The Father gave the Son a people out of every tribe, kindred, and nation (John 17:1-2, 9). By the power of the Spirit, by the preaching of the gospel of His Son, and through faith, they will all RECEIVE Christ lovingly, thankfully, and willingly, as God's gift of love and grace. They will all, with the heart, BELIEVE on His glorious name, as lie is revealed to them in the Word (Rom. 10:9-10; Matt. 16:15-17).
(Vs. 13) But who receives Him thus? Not all, by any means! Is this believing on Christ left to chance? Is the success of His covenant and redemptive work left to the fallen will of the creature? Far from it! This verse explains to us WHY men receive and believe Christ THEY ARE BORN OF GOD! "NOT OF BLOOD;" that is to say, salvation is not a matter of heredity nor parental bloodlines nor family associations. It is "NOT OF THE WILL OF THE FLESH." The will of the natural man is against God. He has no will toward God until He is born of God (John 5:40; Rom. 3:10-11). It is "NOT OF THE WILL OF MAN." The new birth is not brought about by the efforts of friends, nor the persuasive powers of the preacher and the soul winners, "BUT OF GOD." The new birth is Divine work! It is accomplished by the will of God, by the Holy Spirit's applying the Word in living power to the heart (James 1:18; I Peter 1:23-25; Acts 13:48).
(Vs. 14) "AND THE WORD WAS MADE FLESH." He became what He previously was not. He did not cease to be God, but He became man (Gal. 4:4-5; Heb. 10:4-7). Our Divine Lord took upon Himself human nature. He became a real man, yet a sinless, perfect man (Heb. 7:26). This union of the two natures in the person of Christ is one of the greatest mysteries of faith (I Tim. 3:16). He was, and is, the God-man; yet the Divine and the human in Him were never confounded. His Deity, though veiled, was never laid aside. His humanity, though sinless, was a real humanity.
The union of the two natures in the person of Christ was necessary in order to fit Him for His work as Redeemer and Mediator.
(1) God cannot SUFFER and die man cannot SATISFY the infinite holiness required nor the infinite justice demanded. Christ, the God-man, can do both.
(2) He can now be touched with the feelings of our infirmities (Heb. 4:14-16); and He has left us an example, that we should follow His steps.
The duality of nature was plainly taught in the Old Testament prophecies of the Messiah. He was to be the woman's seed (Gen. 3:15), a prophet like Moses (Deut. 18:18), a lineal descendant of David (II Sam. 7:12), a man of sorrows (Isa. 53:3-6). Yet, on the other hand, He was to be "GOD WITH US" (Isa. 7:4: Matt. 1:23); He was to be the mighty God (Isa. 9:6); as Jehovah He was to come to His temple (Mai. 3:1). The One born in Bethlehem is the Ruler (Micah 5:2).
"HE DWELT (tabernacled) AMONG US." The reference here is to the tabernacle in the wilderness. It foreshadowed the Incarnate Son. Almost everything about the tabernacle pictured Christ. It was humble on the outside, but glorious inside. It was God's dwelling place, His glory revealed there. It was the place where God met men and where the sin-offering and the atonement were made. It was the place of worship and the place where the Law was preserved.
"AND WE BEHELD HIS GLORY."
(1) His ESSENTIAL glories; His Divine attributes and perfections are all seen in Christ. He is omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent.
(2) His MORAL glories or holiness or perfection.
(3) His OFFICIAL glories, such as His covenant grace, His priesthood, His wisdom, and His kingship.
(4) His ACQUIRED glories (Phil. 2:5-11).
Read Verses 1 and 14 together and you have a statement the most comprehensive in its sweep, the profoundest in its depths, and yet the simplest to be found in the Bible. Here is the gift of God and the hope of the believer.