"And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth." (John 1:14, ESV)
In a recent sermon, I mentioned the in-depth meaning behind Jesus “dwelling” among us. The phrase means he came to live and take up residence among us. It comes from a word which means: tent or tabernacle. John is drawing our attention back to the Old Testament, to a people wandering in the desert, hoping and waiting for the fulfillment of the Promised Land. Under God’s guidance they wandered for 40 years, but it was under 35 years in which the tabernacle (after being constructed) dwelt in the middle of the camp. Wherever the people went, the tabernacle dwelt.
The tabernacle is the ultimate foreshadowing of Jesus Christ to come. I greatly appreciate the works of A.W. Pink, and below are a few comparisons he draws from the tabernacle.
- The “tabernacle” was a temporary appointment. A tent that moved from one place to the next. Jesus was constantly on the move. The Son of Man had nowhere to lay his head.
- The “tabernacle” was for use in the wilderness, for a short period of time. Jesus dwelt among us for a short period of time.
- Outwardly the “tabernacle” was humble and unattractive. It was made of plain boards and skins. Jesus was hidden beneath a veil of flesh. The unanointed eye saw in Him no beauty that they would desire Him.
- The “tabernacle” was God’s dwelling place. Jesus was God dwelling in the flesh.
- The “tabernacle” was the place where God met with men. Jesus is the one Mediator between God and men.
- The “tabernacle” was the center of Israel’s camp. It was the great gathering center. Jesus is the great gathering center of the Church.
- The “tabernacle” was the place where the Law was preserved. Jesus preserved the Divine Decalogue with perfection.
- The “tabernacle” was the place where sacrifice was made. The cross is where the Lamb of God was slain! Jesus gave Himself as the complete and final atonement made for sin.
- The “tabernacle” was the place where the priestly family fed. Jesus is the Bread of Life for God’s priestly family today — for all believers.
- The “tabernacle” was a place of worship. Because of the complete work of Jesus, we can worship.
The Israelites were faithful to set up their camp around the tabernacle as God had commanded them. Now with even greater reason, since Christ has dwelt among us on this earth, may we center our lives around Him! This is the promise that we find later in John 15:4: "Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me." May you abide in the true Tabernacle this week as He fills your life with grace and truth!