John 1:14-17 HCSB The Word became flesh and took up residence among us. We observed His glory, the glory as the One and Only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. (15) (John testified concerning Him and exclaimed, “This was the One of whom I said, ‘The One coming after me has surpassed me, because He existed before me.'”) (16) Indeed, we have all received grace after grace from His fullness, (17) for although the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.
John 1:14-17 – Jesus Reveals Grace And Truth To Us
The eternal and pre-existent Word took on flesh and dwelt among us, and when He did He was revealed to be full of grace and truth.
When God walked among men He did not swagger. Nor did He come like some outer-space alien full of wizardry, fire and strange weaponry. God came among us as one full of grace and truth. The Word did not come to dominate – but to serve.
The Word is not so “gracious” – sentimental and forgiving that it lets go of the truth; nor is the Word so “truthful” and blunt that it is unaccompanied by grace. The Word speaks to both the sinner and the sin.
John the Baptist declared: “The One coming after me has surpassed me, because He existed before me.” – this conundrum is solved by his younger cousin Jesus, who started ministry after John, being the incarnation of the eternal and pre-existent Word of God. When we touch Jesus, we touch eternity.
This eternal, pre-existent and glorious creative Word clothed Himself with lungs and arms and flesh and blood. This body was not some “appearance of flesh” like a mystical hologram, rather it was real flesh that was hungered and thirsted and was scourged and crucified and which bled blood and water when pierced.
Jesus reveals what a man looks like when He is fully the Word and what God looks like when He is fully a man.
Jesus Reveals Grace And Truth To Us
In our quest for holiness and sanctification we must return to Jesus and to His character and to being “full of grace and truth”. We can easily equate holiness with things other than Christ, grace and truth; even with things such as knowledge, power, eloquence, a winning personality, or time served. One of the less subtle traps in the Christian life is to equate sanctification with moving up a church or mission hierarchy. Instead Jesus teaches us that servanthood is holiness and the greatest in the Kingdom is the person who is full of grace and truth and is the servant of all.
A focus on grace and truth will cause each of us to ask questions such as: Am I increasing in graciousness, kindness and love? Am I increasing in the Truth? Am I honest and above reproach? Do my words come from the Word?
The Law by contrast is not from grace and truth; it simply brings the knowledge of sin and can do no more. The Law cannot help you. The Law is like a man high on a cliff shouting swimming instructions to drowning men and women. On the other hand Jesus is the lifeguard plunging into the surf and dragging them out. What the Law says is true – but everyone dies. What Jesus does in gracious – and is a far deeper Truth.
Plunging into lost and broken humanity is very frightening. It is easy to be scared by the poor, the homeless, the diseased, the demonized, the wicked, and the violent. It is easy to be repelled by the leper, to flee the prostitute, and to condemn the heretical Samaritan.
Jesus took on flesh and dwelt among us, and He did not run away from a single needy sinner. We need to ask for the courage and boldness and grace to engage in incarnational ministry in love.
“We have all received grace after grace from His fullness.” – We do not just receive grace once, leading to conversion, rather we receive grace after grace every step of the way to glory.
Grace is the power behind all spiritual growth, and grace proceeds from God through Jesus Christ and is received by faith. Grace comes to those who want it enough to believe in it.
Grace is both God’s kind and forgiving disposition toward us, and the tangible effects of that disposition – miracles, healing, changed lives, deliverance from demons, breaking of curses, blessings abundant. Grace creates the conditions so that peace can prosper – the very shalom of God.
Grace descends to the needy, the humble, and the contrite. The poor in spirit receive great grace, while the proud in spirit receive nothing.
All spiritual growth depends on our ability to receive grace by faith and to put it to work in our lives through faithful obedience. There is no shortage of grace and truth, that is never the problem, Jesus is inexhaustibly full of grace, it is up to us to humble ourselves, to believe, to receive and to obey.