Day 99: The Word Became Flesh

John 1:1 In the beginning: The Gospel begins by revealing the DIVINITY OF CHRIST, who is the eternal Word of God. 

The Word: From all eternity, God the Father generated the Word, who is the divine Person of God the Son, and it was through the Word that he created the universe.

The Word was with God, and the Word was God: This verse reveals the doctrine of the Trinity, i.e. the Word, who is God the Son, is of the same substance as God the Father yet distinct from God the Father in regards to his sonship (CCC 102, 240-242, 454)

Ch 1:3 God created all things through the Word, who is Christ, and makes himself known through his creation. Although creation is associated most closely with God the Father, the entire Trinity participated in this work. The power to create is a function of OMNIPOTENCE, an attribute of GOD ALONE. (CCC 54, 290-292, 316)

Ch 1:4 In him was life: God is the author of life as nothing can exist without him. Here, John is referring to the divine life, which finds its origin in Christ, the source of both natural and supernatural life. (CCC 668, 1015)

Ch 1:4-9 Light: Christ is “the light,” “the light of the world,” and the “true light” who pierces the darkness of sin and illuminates the path toward salvation. In the Sacrament of Baptism, the Christian becomes “enlightened” and receives the “light of Christ.” This enlightenment allows the Christian to see through the eyes of faith and to become a “light of the world” by serving as a beacon of God’s love. (CCC 457, 1216)

Ch 1:6 John: This refers to John the Baptist, the last and greatest of all prophets. John’s Gospel frequently clarifies the Baptist’s role in relation to Christ. (CCC 717-720)

Ch 1:10 The world: This term has different meanings in different verses throughout John. Depending on the context, it can signify the entire created universe, humanity in need of salvation, or the enticement to sin. By his Death and Resurrection, Christ has redeemed the world, which will pass away and be renewed at the end of time. (CCC 295, 315, 670, 1048)

Ch 1:11 His own people received him not: While Christ was to experience rejection in his own Galilean community, this verse also has a wider scope that includes all who reject Christ, both Jews and Gentiles. Indifference and MORAL RELATIVISM are modern forms of rejecting or ignoring Christ and his message. (CCC 530)

Ch 1:12-18 Children of God: Christ is the Son of God the Father in his divinity. The redemption he merited through his Sacrifice on the Cross has made it possible for us to participate in his divine sonship; therefore, as children of God, we can call upon God as “Our Father.” Through Baptism, we are incorporated into the Mystical Body of Christ and become adopted children of God. (CCC 460, 526, 706, 1692, 1996, 2780)

Ch 1:13 Born, not of blood...but of God: According to his divinity, Christ is the eternal Son of God the Father. In his humanity, he was conceived in the womb of Mary by the power of the Holy Spirit. As mother of the Person of Jesus Christ, who is God the Son, Mary is the Mother of God. We are “born of God” through Baptism, which gives us a share in the life of Christ through the gift of faith and sanctifying grace. (CCC 496, 505, 526)

Ch 1:14-16 Became flesh: Christ assumed a human nature to bring about the salvation of our fallen race. This is the mystery of the Incarnation. Jesus Christ is God the Son who has become man. He is one divine Person with two natures and two wills-human and divine. 

Dwelt among us: The Greek eskenosen literally means “pitched his tent.” This image recalls the tabernacle, where the Israelites were instructed to keep the Ark of the Covenant, which signified the presence of God among his people. In the fullest sense, the Incarnation of Christ brought the presence of God into our midst.

We have beheld his glory: John and the Apostles were eyewitnesses to the signs that confirm Christ’s claims of divinity, which was demonstrated in his glorified humanity and in his many works.

The only-begotten Son: This description is used in the Nicene Creed: 

“God from God, Light from Light,

 true God from true God, 

begotten, not made, 

consubstantial with the Father; 

through him all things were made.”

(CCC 423, 445, 461, 466-469, 2466)

Ch 1:16 Grace upon grace: Christ, who has the fullness of the Holy Spirit, bestows upon those who receive him the graces necessary for sanctification and salvation. (CCC 504)

Ch 1:17 For the Law...through Jesus Christ: The New Covenant established by Christ fulfills the Law and all that was foretold through the prophets. (CCC 2787)

Ch 1:18 Has made him known: Christ, as the son of God who took on a human nature, brought the revelation of the love of the Father to its pinnacle. It is through Christ’s humanity that we contemplate the love of God. (CCC 151, 454, 464, 469)

Ch 1:19-34 John the Baptist identified himself not as Christ nor as Elijah or Moses; rather, he said he was a voice crying out in the wilderness, prepare the way for the coming of the Messiah, the Lamb of God. (CCC 438, 613)

Ch 1:29 Lamb of God: By using this term to identify Christ, John the Baptist affirmed the redemptive Sacrifice Christ would make for the salvation of all people. The lamb is an image associated with the Passover feast and the Exodus event, when God told the Israelites to sacrifice a spotless lamb and smear its blood on the doorposts of their houses to be spared from the tenth plague, the death of the firstborn of each household. This image also fulfills the Suffering Servant prophecies in Isaiah, which portray the protagonist as an innocent lamb sacrificed to atone for the sins of others (cf. Is 53:7-12). 

Sin of the world: This term refers to the effects of Original Sin and the totality of the personal sins of humanity. (CCC 408, 523, 608, 1137, 1505)

Ch 1:31-36 Christ is the Lamb of God and, therefore, had no need of repentance but came to be baptized along with sinners so as to IDENTIFY WITH SINFUL HUMANITY. John the Baptist testified how the Spirit came to rest on Christ, corroborating the baptism narratives of the Synoptic Gospels. The descent of the Spirit was for John (and for us) a confirmation that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God anointed by the Holy Spirit. (CCC 438, 486, 536, 719, 1286)

Ch 1:36-51 It is interesting to note that some of the first disciples came to Christ at the invitation of others who were already among his followers. This is a clear example that apostolate or evangelization occurs naturally through friendships and personal relationships. This passage also includes several of the titles Jesus would bear: Lamb of God, Rabbi, Messiah, Son of God, King of Israel, and Son of Man. (CCC 3, 520, 608, 878, 1618)

Ch 1:41 Messiah: A Hebrew word meaning “anointed one”; in Greek, Christos, whence “Christ.”

Ch 1:42 Cephas: From the Aramaic meaning “rock” in Greek, Petros, whence “Peter.” In Scripture, the power of naming someone indicates a “taking possession” of that person and signals the new role or mission given to that individual by God. His special role would be to serve as the ROCK upon which Christ would build his Church. (CCC 552, 881)

Ch 1:43 Follow me: For the disciples, this was a literal invitation to accompany Christ and to cooperate in his work of redemption and evangelization. For us today, it is a call to commit ourselves to his service and to put his teachings into practice. (CCC 1506)

Ch 1:50-51 Greater things than these...Son of man: Christ hinted that his knowledge of Nathanial under the fig tree paled in comparison to the works he would later do.

Angels of God ascending and descending: The reference here is to an Old Testament vision (cf. Gn 28:10-19) in which Jacob saw angels passing between Heaven and earth. This statement thus implies that Christ himself had come from Heaven and is the Mediator between God and humanity. (CCC 333)

Ch 2:1-12 At the behest of his mother, Mary, Christ worked his first miracle at the Wedding Feast at Cana. The wedding feast prefigures the eternal wedding banquet of the Lamb in Heaven in which there will be a perfect and blissful union between Christ and every member of his Mystical Body, the Church (TYPOLOGY!!). The Wedding Feast at Cana is also an affirmation of the sacredness of Christian Matrimony, which Christ raised to the level of a Sacrament. Since there is no mention of Joseph, the foster father of Christ and husband of Mary, both here and in the rest of the Gospel, it can be inferred that Joseph had died before Christ began his public ministry. (CCC 967-975, 1613, 2618)

Ch 2:3 They have no wine: Mary revealed her care and compassion for the joy of the bridal party. Her maternal concern continues for every person through her powerful intercession. A popular Marian devotion, the Memorare (one of my favorite prayers by the way 😇) states:

“Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, 

that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, 

implored thy help, or sought thy intercession was left unaided. 

Inspired with this confidence, I fly unto thee, O Virgin of virgins, my Mother. To thee do I come, before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful.

 O Mother of the Word incarnate, despise not my petitions, 

but in thy mercy hear and answer me. Amen.”

(CCC 2618, 2677)

Ch 2:4 Christ replied to his Mother a rhetorical question: “What have you to do with me?” His reference to his “hour”, the appointed time of his Passion and Death, suggests that it would have been premature for him to reveal himself by performing a miracle at the wedding feast. Nevertheless, his “hour” would be moved up on account of his Mother’s request. The beginning of his public ministry meant that his rejection, suffering, and death-and Mary’s own suffering as she witnessed these events-were at hand. By calling his Mother “woman,” Christ was making reference to her role as THE NEW EVE (cf. Gn 3:15), whose obedience to God contrasted with the disobedience of Eve; later, as Mary stood at the foot of the Cross, Christ would againa address her as “woman.” (CCC 964, 2618)

Ch 2:5 Do whatever he tells you: Mary is seldom quoted directly in Scripture, and each of her utterances is filled with lasting meaning FOR ALL CHRISTIANS. Her instruction to the wine stewards provides a fundamental principle for anyone who wishes to follow Christ. (CCC 148, 2674)

Ch 2:10 The good wine: The transformation of water into wine has several meanings. One of the obvious lessons to be drawn from this miracle is the importance of offering the very best for the glory of God. It was clearly noticed that the wine was excellent (probably an AD 30 vintage with undertones of honey that tasted like...BAKLAVA! 😉). Among these are the prefigurement of the Eucharist (TYPOLOGY!!), in which wine is changed into the true BODY AND BLOOD OF CHRIST, the “new wine” of the heavenly wedding feast. It also announced that Christ would soon be glorified and symbolized the New Covenant, which would complete and surpass the Old Covenant between God and Israel. (CCC 1335)

Ch 2:13-25 John makes clear that what Christ said about rebuilding the Temple was a reference to his own Body rather than the physical structure in Jerusalem. Nevertheless, these words would be used against Christ when he was arrested and tried. The Jerusalem Temple would be destroyed by the Romans in AD 70, but Christ himself is the new and eternal Temple of God. His statement here was a foretelling of his eventual Death and Resurrection, although his disciples would not fully understand this until after the Resurrection. (CCC 583, 586, 994)

Ch 2:14-16 John places the cleansing of the Temple at the beginning of Christ’s ministry. Christ chased the merchants from the outer court of the Temple out of love for his Father’s house, which was meant to be a house of prayer. (CCC 584)

Ch 2:18 The Jews: In John, this term usually should be taken to mean “The Jewish authorities''  rather than the Jewish people as a whole. Even at that, among the Jewish authorities (scribes, Pharisees, Sanhedrin, etc.) (POP QUIZ!! Where did the name of the Sanhedrin come from? Give your answer in the comments section of the Facebook Post 😁) there were many who were sympathetic to Christ and even supported him. (CCC 575)

Ch 2:25 For he himself knew what was in man: As his human nature was fully united to his divine nature in the HYPOSTATIC UNION, Christ would read the interior thoughts and hearts of others. (CCC 473)

Ch 3:1-21 Nicodemus was educated in the Law of Moses and was a member of the Sanhedrin, a council that governed Jewish affairs. He approached Christ at night so as to avoid notice by Jewish leaders, who were already suspicious of Christ. It is important to note that Nicodemus, a teacher himself, addressed Christ as “Rabbi,” meaning TEACHER. (CCC 581)

Ch 3:3 Born anew:  The Greek anothen, translated as “anew,” has two possible meanings: “again” and “from above.” Christ was instructing Nicodemus about a spiritual rebirth into his own life. This new life makes us children of God through sanctifying grace. (CCC 526, 591)

Ch 3:5 Born of water and the Spirit: Christ asserted the necessity of a new Baptism, which he would institute. This is not the baptism of John the Baptist, which served as a symbol of repentance, but rather a SACRAMENT by which one is born anew and receives the forgiveness of sins and an infusion of sanctifying grace. 

He cannot enter the kingdom of God: Baptism is necessary for salvation; for this reason, the Lord entrusts his followers with the mission to teach and baptize all nations. Although the Church knows no other pathway to eternal life, she does not exclude the possibility that one who has not received water Baptism can be saved. The Church recognizes “baptism of desire” for those whose faith and repentance precedes the reception of the Sacrament and “baptism by blood” in which a person is martyred for belief in Christ. It also recognizes the possibility of salvation for those who have not had the opportunity of hearing Christ’s message but have sincerely followed God’s will in accordance with their understanding of it. (CCC 691, 1215, 1225, 1238, 1257-1260, 1682)

Ch 3:6 Flesh...Spirit: Flesh is earthly, and the Spirit is supernatural. The first birth is through the natural process, while the rebirth is from God. Purification from sin and endowment with supernatural life are the two principal effects of Baptism. (CCC 526, 1262)

Ch 3:8 The Spirit is like the wind in that we can experience its effects and know its presence without actually seeing it. The Hebrew ruah, meaning “spirit,” also means literally “wind.” (CCC 728, 1287, 1769)

Ch 3:13 Christ referred to himself as “Son of Man,” a figure described by the prophet Daniel as the one who has glory and dominion over an everlasting kingdom (cf. Dn 7:13-14). He confirmed his divinity by stating that he had descended from Heaven. (CCC 423, 664, 440, 661)

Ch 3:14 Serpent: In the desert, those Israelites who had been bitten by poisonous snakes were spared death by gazing at the bronze serpent that Moses had “lifted up” on a pole (cf. Num 21:4-9). This event prefigured the Sacrifice of Christ, who was “lifted up” on a Cross to save humanity (TYPOLOGY!!). (CCC 2130)

Ch 3:16-21 Sending his Only-Begotten Son to redeem us and give us eternal life was a supreme act of God’s love for us. In fact, God the Father gave us Christ in the Incarnation precisely to reveal his tremendous love. Those who refuse this gift of Christ’s love and redemption deprive themselves of eternal life. Those who choose to walk in the light of Crhist will gain happiness in this life and eternal life in the next. (CCC 219, 444, 454, 458)

Ch 3:22-36 This episode reinforces the fact that John the Baptist served as a herald, preparing the way for Christ. He rejoiced that so many people were flocking to Christ since that was his supreme desire. John understood that his role as the humble precursor to the Messiah was limited to setting the stage for Christ’s public life. Now that Christ had arrived, he joyfully wanted his profile diminished and for that of Crhist to increase. (CCC 523-524)

Ch 3:22 He remained with them and baptized: As the next chapter clarifies, it was the disciples who did the baptizing, not Christ. This was not yet the Sacrament of Baptism, for that would not be fully established until after the Resurrection. (CCC 720)

Ch 3:31-36 This passage emphasizes Christ’s Divinity and the necessity of believing his Word to attain salvation and eternal life. Not by measure: From his very conception, Christ possessed not just a portion of the Holy Spirit but the fullness of the Holy Spirit from which he dispenses grace. Every act of Christ derives from the indwelling Spirit. (CCC 504, 690, 1286, 2767)

Ch 3:36 In order to be saved, we must believe in Christ and in his Father. Faith is necessary for salvation. (CCC 161)

Proverbs 5:1-25 The teacher exhorts fidelity in marriage as well as fidelity to the truth manifested in God’s Commandments. Just as a spouse must guard against temptations perilous to marriage, so must the believer guard against false teachings that can endanger faith in God’s Revelation. (CCC 175, 256, 1303)

(*The Didache Bible RSV-CE Ignatius Edition, 2006)

Key Event 58: Wedding at Cana (John 2:1-12)

Mary intercedes for a wedding party that has run out of wine, giving us an earthly sign of her heavenly role in bringing our needs to her Son.  Jesus turns water--symbolic of the rituals of the Old Covenant--into wine, symbolic of the gift of the Holy Spirit in the New Covenant.

Prayer by Fr. Mike: “Father in heaven we give you praise and glory. Father, thank you so much for revealing your Son to us, revealing your love, revealing your heart left on us, your Son is your heart given to us. We are so grateful, we are so thankful for even these first three chapters of the Gospel of John for proclaiming to us that you, our Father in Heaven so loved the world that you gave your only beloved Son the only beloved Son so that we would not have to die but that we could have life, so that we can have you, so that we can know that you know us that we matter to you. Thank you so much. Thank you so so much. Help us help us to receive that gift. Father you gave and you gave and you keep keep giving. Help us to receive this gift with everything we are and everything we have. In the mighty name of the gift, in the mighty name the one that was given, Jesus Christ Our Lord,  Amen.”


"In the Beginning"- Seems that by starting of his Gospel with the same words as Genesis 1, John is conveying that the Advent of Christ brought about a New Creation: Where Genesis 1 covers 7 days, John narrates his gospel intro in a similar way that adds up to 7 days. Both beginnings culminate in a wedding attended by God (Adam and Eve on the sixth day, six being an imperfect and incomplete number, and the Wedding of Cana on John's seventh Day, "seven" being a perfect and complete number.

"Lamb of God"- Where the first creation was without sin but sin and death ultimately entered the world, Christ's new creation will lead to the eradication of sin and death, making all things new (Rev 21:5). John the Baptism is the first to refer to Jesus as "Lamb of God" drawing back to Genesis 22 when Abraham offers up Isaac, and the Passover Lamb, which St. Paul refers to Jesus as the new Passover Lamb.

In all the accounts of the baptism of Jesus, the Holy Spirit is described as descending like a dove from heaven. This draws back to the Flood of Noah, which St. Peter links to baptism as Noah's family was saved through water. After which, Noah sent out a dove who came back with an olive leaf, a sign of God's grace, much like the grace of receiving the Holy Spirit through baptism.

Just as Moses' first plague was miraculously turning the water of the Nile into blood, Jesus, "the New Moses" performed his first miracle by turning water of the Wedding in Cana into wine." What's the connection? Keep your eyes on the wine, because Jesus will turn wine into his blood by the power of his word.

Along with the Messianic prophecies depicting the Messiah as a bridegroom, other prophecies foretold the Messiah would bring forth an abundance of good wine. This leads us to the Wedding in Cana. In Jewish custom back in the 1st Century, the bridegroom provided the wine. But we see in the Narration that the wine has run out. So when Jesus turns the water into wine, he has stepped into the role of the Bridegroom. Not only that but a Bridegroom with an abundance of good wine. Doing the math on six 20-30 gallon jars, that would amount to 600-900 bottles of wine today! For one wedding!

Before Jesus steps into the role as Bridegroom, he is reluctant because his "hour" has not yet come. Later in John we will read that his "hour" has come at the Passover, the time of his Passion and the Last Supper, when he took the wine and said "This is my blood of the new and eternal covenant." Dr. Pitre points out in his book that the Last Supper is effectively Jesus' wedding feast, making a marriage covenant with his church when he gives himself up for her. By instituting the Eucharist at the Last Supper, the prophecy of the Bridegroom overflowing the hills with so much good wine (the wine of salvation) is even moreso fulfilled in the celebration of the Mass, the marriage supper of the Lamb, for nearly 2000 years! Which is why the priest at Mass says "Happy are those called to the supper of the Lamb" (ref Rev 19:9)

Some other great remarks by members of the Facebook group:

"One explanation for the perceived hesitation is that Jesus is reminding Mary that if he does this it will be the start of his ministry. The only way that ends is with his death and he wants Mary to be prepared for that. It is Mary saying yes again to God's will when her response is to tell the servants to do what he says."

"I read something very interesting that I never put together in my own mind. It said this was the first miracle because it set the new Spiritual order that had been established by Jesus. The wedding = a right relationship with Jesus rests NOT on obedience to the law = empty jars, but on being born from above, being baptized = water and participating in the Eucharist = wine. So much depth and symbolism in these stories."

Like Genesis, the creation story leads to a wedding between Adam and Eve on the sixth day, then called "Man and Woman." In John's New Creation, his seventh day takes place at the Wedding in Cana, where Jesus, the New Adam (Romans 5:14), mysteriously refers to his mother not as "mother", but as "Woman." Just as Eve prompted Adam to commit his first evil act, Mary prompted Jesus to his first glorious act. (More parallels found in my Genesis folder, and eventually Luke folder)

(book recommendations on the topic: "Jesus and the Jewish Roots of Mary" by Dr. Brant Pitre / "Behold Your Mother" by Tim Staples)

The wedding running out of wine hardly seems like an issue to Mary or Jesus. Yet Mary takes someone else's issue to her son, and besides his (supposed?) hesitation, he obliges his mother's request on behalf of the wedding. Back in the Old Testament, Bathsheba, the mother of King Solomon, son of David (making her the queen over the kingdom; the queen was not the king's wife) is shown as coming to her son with a request, to which the king ays whatever she asks, he will not refuse. (it doesn't end well for the brother who came to Bathsheba but there's more to the story beneath the surface). With Jesus, the Messianic Davidic King, Mary has the honor of being titled the Queen Mother in his Kingdom, to whom one role is to be an intercessor to the king on behalf of others.

It's an interesting to note that ultimately Mary's role at the Wedding leads to Jesus, as her only instruction ot the servants is "Do whatever he tells you." And John makes mention that it was after this miracle that his disciples started to believe. Such is the role of Mary as a queenly intercessor- to lead us to her Son, that we may believe in him.

(book recommendations on the topic: "Jesus and the Jewish Roots of Mary" by Dr. Brant Pitre / "Behold Your Mother" by Tim Staples)

All throughout the Old Testament, we often see water and the Spirit come together when there is the beginning, new beginnings, and salvation" (Creation, The Flood, The Red Sea, Ezekiel, Jesus' Baptism beginning his ministry.)

The How To Be Christian YouTube Channel put out a great video on the topic of the difference between "Born Again" and "Baptism" are in the Bible (spoiler alert- it's the same thing!). This slide was recreated from their slide in that video showing how they both share the same attributes, laid out in Scripture. Check their video out here:

For those who have enjoyed these notes since Genesis, this will be a repeat: Check out John 3:16 side-by-side with Genesis 22:1-2 (and the whole chapter for that matter). The wording is strikingly similar. FUN FACT! Genesis 22:2 is also the first time the word "love" appears in the Bible.

In John 3, John the Baptist gives a riddle "He who has the bride is the bridegroom." It's be very hard to see how Jesus would be the bridegroom from an earthly perspective when he lived a celibate life. It may be easy for us seeing in Paul's letters and Revelation that his bride is the Church, but John the Baptist is also referencing numerous Messianic prophecies from the Old Testament that refer to "the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride."