A few weeks ago in catechesis, the students asked wonderful questions. Some of the questions I’m sure some adults struggle with as well. One of the fun topics we talked about was Jesus coming down as both True God and True man. Using the Lutheran ESV Study Bible, we can learn some interesting things in the study notes. When we read Luke 1:35 we see, “​​And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy—the Son of God.” The Lutheran Study Bible notes that the word “overshadow” is the same word used in Exodus 40:35 to describe God’s presence in the tabernacle.

We can also see an interesting use of that word in the book of John. “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 Another way this Bible verse can be read is, “And the Word became flesh and tabernacled among us.” In Exodus 40, the tabernacle is established. We read in Exodus 40:34 “Then the cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle.” The presence of the Lord came down to the people of Israel who are wandering in the desert. Whenever the cloud would leave the tabernacle, the people would leave the place. The cloud of the Lord was in the tabernacle by day and the fire of the Lord was in the tabernacle by night.

The tabernacle wasn’t a permanent place. The tabernacle was meant to move. It was also the place where God would dwell among his people. When Immanuel (God with us) was born, God in flesh dwelt with his people. When we hear the Word became flesh and tabernacled among us, we should know the plan was never for Jesus to stay on this earth forever. He would dwell on earth a short time, but what an amazing and life changing time it was! In that time, the blind were given sight, the deaf could hear, the sick were healed, and even the dead were brought to life. He came and he died to take away the sins of the whole world. His presence on this earth was a blessing to all people. One day, those who believe the Word who became flesh and tabernacled among us will go to His eternal presence in heaven.

We still trust God is present in His Word and Sacrament. That’s one reason going to church, witnessing a baptism, or participating in communion is special. God tells us He is here with us in the Words of Institution. Why wouldn’t we want to be where God is?