Grace and Truth
Here is where John begins to connect the dots for us.
The Word, God, became man.
Not only did he become man, but he came and lived with man. And in that living, John says, we see something special. We see the one and only Son of God.
This is a major statement.
Until this point, God only interacted with his creation through the prophets, men and women who spoke on God’s behalf. Through kings and priests, the angels and faithful followers, God would recruit people to speak, but now, now God has come in the flesh. In human form, God comes to his people. And he comes with grace and truth.
This is an incredibly outrageous statement. Why? Because it changes everything.
Look at verse 16 and 17.
16 Out of his fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given. 17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.
You see, until this point, God’s people were bound to God through the Law. It was a ritualistic practice of sacrifices that were never fully enough. Oh there was a grace, but it was not a complete grace, because the sacrifices were ongoing. No matter how hard they might have tried, no one could keep the full Law. But now, the full measure of the Law has been met, because the only one who can fulfill the Law, is the One who wrote the Law, and that’s God himself, through his one and only Son, Jesus Christ.
Oh, and by the way, we finally have a name. John presents the Word, then the Word as Life and in that Life the Light. But here in verse 17, John, gives a name, Jesus.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was, Jesus Christ.
Remember those items we pinned to the pretend cork board? Let’s pull them down.
If Jesus is the Word… And the Word was WITH God, and the Word WAS God, then the logical conclusion must be that Jesus was/is God.
Now in context of who John is writing to, that would be the believers in his day, this is a significant realization. That would mean that the one who once lived, who made his dwelling with man, really was God in the flesh. You see, chances are, there would still be people who might have been witnesses to the crucifixion. Some might have heard Jesus teach or witnessed a miracle. At best, there would have been stories about Jesus and what happened concerning his ministry the crucifixion, and so for these readers, this would be something they know and can relate to!
Jesus is God.
But not only was he God, he was the Messiah; the chosen one whom God promised to send! Jesus was the one that they prophets spoke about, the one they have been waiting for.
And now John says, that because Jesus came, there is a NEW Life being made available for all who believe in His name.
Not a life under the old law, but a Life in the fullness of His grace as children of God.
That means, no more sacrifice. No more Law, in terms of salvation. Grace was now the means by which we are saved.
Let me remind you what the apostle Paul writes to the church in Ephesians 2.
“4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. 6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7 in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8 For it is by grace you have been saved,”
So What Does it Mean for Us Today…
Well, it means, that what we celebrated last Sunday is the reality of that grace.
You see, these are not just stories that have been passed down through the ages like fairytales and nursery rhythms. Jesus wasn’t just a good man who lived a good life. And an empty tomb and missing body aren’t the end of the story.
But because he was God, and because he came to the earth as a man, and because he laid down his life in loving sacrifice, we are able to know the grace and truth that comes to us through Jesus Christ.
So, let me ask you…
- What if you believed in the name of Jesus Christ? Would it change who your are?
- What if Jesus, both God and man, came to die for you, would you surrender your life and follow him?
- What if your sitting here this morning as a follower, fully aware of all that Jesus has done for you, but for some reason, you still refuse to surrender everything to God, would you finally release what you’re selfishly holding on to?
- What if, in light of all that we just read, you started living passionately for God, would it change everything about you?
You see, there is a difference between simply knowing the truth of the grace through Jesus and believing in the the truth of the grace through Jesus. The What if? questions ask both - do you believe - and, if your believe - will you live it in a radical way?
Think about it. Because if you say you are a believer, your life should reflect that belief.
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