14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.
The apostle John linked the “glory” in this verse to the “only begotten of the Father,” the Word, the Revealer, and to the idea that when He came, He came “full of grace and truth.”
John repeated the word “glory” from the previous phrase for emphasis. We see this glory in Jesus’ life and miracles. His glory was God’s glory; He did not receive it from men (Jn 5:41). In one situation He was glorified by raising Lazarus from the dead (Jn 11:4).
The “as” here is not “like.” Christ’s glory is not a comparison between two similar things, but it is a match of reality. Since the word “as” does not indicate a comparison between two comparable things, instead the idea is that He possesses the rank of His Father. God bore all His glory to Jesus. The Son is the only absolute prototype of the Father.
The glory of the “only begotten Son” corresponded with what was true of His being. It never fell short of His deity. The glory of the Word is the same as the glory of the Father. His glory was not like the Father’s; His glory belongs to the Father.
the only begotten
The words “only begotten” mean one and only. The Word held a completely unique and special status with the Father. No other son was like this Son. He was one of a kind. The Sonship of Jesus was completely different from that of other human beings. Jesus was not a son like other people are sons. The Word’s Sonship was from all eternity with all the essence of deity. He was the Son before the incarnation.
The glory of the Son was uniquely His own. His uniqueness is the point. He was both undiminished deity and true humanity. The incarnate Word is the “only begotten” (Jn 1:18; 3:16, 18; 1 Jn 4:9). This means that the Son of God is totally different from the human who becomes a child. His Sonship is unique because it is eternal. He has the same essence as the Father. John used “the only begotten” only of Jesus. His relationship to the Father is absolute and without parallel.
of [from beside] the Father,
The idea of the word “of” is from beside, from alongside. The Son came from heaven to earth from beside the Father. His glory was from the Father. The idea is that the Word came from the presence of the Father. He came as the Revealer, the Word. His glory was so great, so magnificent, that it burst forth to the apostles in the humanity of Christ (He 1:3).
The Word is unique in relation to the Father.
Christ is a one-of-a-kind Son. “Only begotten” distinguishes Christ as the Son unique from believers, who are sons in a different sense (1 Jn 3:2). Christ’s Sonship was unique and singular. All the fullness of deity dwelt in Him in bodily form (Co 2:9).
Cults claim that at one point the Word did not exist, that the Father created Him. They claim that He was not eternal. That the Son was “begotten” does not mean that He had a birth but simply that He was unique.
The glory that the disciples saw was the manifest deity of Christ, not His pure essence. The Word is the eternal Son of the eternal Father. His incarnate glory was less than His preexistent glory with the Father. Yet His incarnate glory reflected His eternal glory.
Glory characterized the Word’s eternal relationship with the Father (Jn 17:5; 12:41). Glory as it is developed in the gospel shows that Christ’s glory was not openly displayed; not everyone observed it. He did not dwell on earth in His divine glory, but it was seen in the way He lived and suffered. His glory was ethical or moral.
The glory of God was manifest in the incarnate Word. This glory was full of grace and truth. The doctrine of the incarnation is a test of orthodoxy (1 Jn 4:1-3). The book of 1 John made it a test of whether one has yielded to the Spirit or the antichrist.
Although the deity of Christ, His glory, was veiled in the body of Christ, it is a preview of our experience with Him in eternity. God in eternity will pitch His tent among believers again (Re 21:3-4).
It is not possible to make Christianity parallel to other religions. The uniqueness of Christ is too distinct for that. It is not consistent to say that we can believe in both Buddha and Jesus, or Islam and Christianity. The Son of God is the one-and-only Son of the Father.