The Word Became Flesh

“…we believe the Scriptures and confess with holy Christendom, which existed at all times and will endure till the end of the world, that this article of our holy Christian creed, together with all others, is firmly and solidly established by the testimony of the holy prophets and apostles, the spokesmen of the Holy Spirit: that Christ, our Lord and God, assumed true human nature, not the nature of an immaterial phantom, and that He became a natural man like any other man of flesh and blood.  He did not flutter about like a spirit, but He dwelt among men.  He had eyes, ears, mouth, nose, chest, stomach, hands, and feet, just as you and I do.  He took the breast.  His mother nursed Him as any other child is nursed.  He acted as any other human does.  He was born as a true man from the Virgin Mary; the one difference, however, was that He was not born in sin as we are, that ‘He committed no sin, and no guile was found on His lips.’ ” Martin Luther, Sermons on the Gospel of St. John: Chapters 1—4, in Luther’s Works, vol. 22, p. 113.

Martin Luther preached and taught on the Gospel of St. John in the late 1520s. Here he explained the meaning of “the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us.” (John 1:14)  According to Dr. Luther, the incarnation of God the Word as a human being formed the core of the Christian faith.  Jesus Christ did not become a phantom, a ghost, or temporarily take on an earthly form.  Rather, he was made human in every way except for sin.

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