“The medium is the message.” I studied this phrase, coined by Marshall McLuhan, during my college days. It means that the medium (or method) you use to communicate something has a direct effect on how the message is perceived. Though McLuhan was thinking of it in terms of mass media, you and I practice it throughout the day. We pick the best way to express our thoughts; we chose the best method (phone, email, Facebook, etc.) to communicate what we are saying. I especially notice this at work with customers and co-workers.
In John 1:14, the Bible records that “The word became flesh.” That Jesus, who is God, came to Earth in human form. The fact that God did this is very significant. It was time for a new covenant and a new way to relate with God. The message He wanted to get across needed a special way to communicate it.
Throughout the old covenant, the Old Testament, God communicated in many ways: prophets, priests, burning bushes and stone tablets. Sometimes, it is just recorded that God spoke. Was this an audible voice? Every time? Very possible, but I don’t know for sure. What the Bible does say is that after the first sin, people did not walk and speak with God face to face.
When Jesus arrived on Earth, He did walk and talk with people; as John 1:14 says, He “made his dwelling among us.” Why the change? Why did the medium for the message need to be profoundly new? I believe it is because God wanted to stress that He desires a relationship with us. Whereas stone tablets and burning bushes are inanimate, and prophets and priests put a layer between God and His people, Jesus coming to commune with us stresses the relational aspect of God.
In Genesis, the Bible tells how God, before The Fall, walked in the garden with Adam and Eve. He longs to get back to that place with each of us. He isn’t some distant being who has removed Himself from our daily lives. He isn’t simply a creator who set up the universe and moved on. He is a personal God who longs for personal relationships. The fact that Jesus “moved into the neighbourhood” as The Message puts it, is a significant point not to be missed.
Jesus had many teachings and commands, but the fact that He lived among us to commune with us and show us The Way is a statement all on its own. Jesus is the message, and He wants a relationship, a deep, meaningful relationship with you.