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  • July 11, 2014 - Reflections

    By Jean S. Horner
    The other day while walking down a corridor in a public building, I saw what appeared to be someone walking toward me. On coming closer, I found it was my own reflection in a huge mirror. For a moment it frightened me. Somehow a full-length reflection of one’s self is a startling thing. ...


Daily Boost

December 8, 2011 - He Pitched His Tent

By Bob Caldwell

“The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14 NIV).

This wonderful sentence from the prologue to the Gospel of John is too often overshadowed by others in the vicinity and not fully seen for all it’s worth.

The key Greek word in this verse is “skeno” — translated “made his dwelling.” While this word captures John’s basic meaning — the God/Man lived for a time on the earth — it misses what I think is a helpful nuance. Stay with me; I won’t bore you with a bunch of technical stuff. This is really quite simple.

The Greek word “skeno” is typically used to mean “pitch one’s tent,” i.e., to set up your tent in a particular location. There are other Greek words to mean simply “to dwell” or “to live,” but they are not used here.

In the ancient Hebrew culture, the expression “to pitch one’s tent” implied more than simple location. It implied identification. A nomadic family living in a tent faced many hardships, mostly dependence on the land for sustenance and the dangers of attack by others. For the latter reason, larger tent caravans were the norm. A single family might be defenseless against a small band of robbers, but not a larger group.

Therefore, when a family found itself alone, they would typically look for another group with which to join. When doing so, however, the family joined collectively with the new group. They would be expected to share in everyone’s needs, and everyone else would share theirs. This was not like living in separate houses in a city — this was like moving into a large house together.

Joining a tent caravan kept one from being aloof and independent. The newcomer shared in the burdens and joys of the rest. There was real giving up oneself for others.

Do you see the implications of John choosing this word to describe Christ’s becoming human? He did not, as some ancient heretics claim, just use His human body as a puppet. He lived the same kind of life that we do. He was hungry and cold. He felt the pain of rejection. He knew the joy that life can bring. He did more than put himself into a body; He became one of us.

This is why the writer of Hebrews can say with great confidence, “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are — yet was without sin” (Hebrews 4:15).

No one can ever say to God, “You don’t understand,” because He does. He “pitched His tent” among us, becoming like us, in order to save us and make us to be more like Him.

— Bob Caldwell is a freelance writer and educator living in Springfield, Mo.



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