“And the Word became flesh and dwelt (tented, tabernacled) among us.” – John 1:14
Pictures of Jesus were plentiful for the Israelites as they wandered in the wilderness: the Passover Lamb, thirst-quenching water, daily bread, a bronze serpent. But there was yet another picture of Jesus moving with them wherever they wandered in the wilderness. That picture was a large, elaborate tent-like structure called the tabernacle.
This tent was God’s home or the street address of His earthly dwelling. The tabernacle consisted of wooden poles covered with colorful curtains embroidered with intricate designs. Their beauty could be viewed from inside the tent. Covering these colourful interior curtains were three more curtain-like layers. All three were made of animal skin: the first layer was goatskin; the second, ram skin; and the third, another kind of durable leather (Exodus 26:1,6-7,14). Skin, skin, skin! God lived in a tent made of three layers of animal skin!
Move into the New Testament and we find the human body described as a tent. Call it a tent of human skin. That’s exactly what Jesus dwelt in when He came to earth. Christmas is the celebration of Jesus coming to earth and dwelling not in a tent of animal skin, but in a tent of human skin! This is precisely what John 1:14 describes. Jesus is the Word; flesh is a reference to the human body He took on; and ‘dwelt’ literally means ‘tented’ or ‘tabernacled.’ Christmas is the celebration of Jesus coming to tabernacle in a tent of human skin! Never had God’s presence been nearer or clearer.
Suggestions for prayer
Thank Jesus that He is both the tabernacle and the sacrifice required to enter into the tabernacle, both the presence of God and the means by which we enter into the presence of God.
This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. Brian Zegers has been serving the Lord by working with Word of Life Ministry as home missionary to the Muslim community in Toronto, Ontario since 2015.