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John 1:14-18, NIV
14The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. 15John testifies concerning him. He cries out, saying, "This was he of whom I said, 'He who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.' "
16From the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another. 17The law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only, who is at the Father's side, has made him known.
September 3, 2010 Grace is that amazing quality of God that loves us anyway even though we do little or nothing that would invite God's love. When the Word became flesh, it was an act of pure grace. The Word pitched a tent and made his home with humankind. Why? In order to make God known to all people.
The disciple John was an eye-witness. He knew the God-man. They had fished together, partied together, traveled as a team on fair days and stormy ones. John watched Jesus heal, heard his sermons, laughed at his stories, grinned with pride as Jesus debated with the Pharisees, fled in fear when Jesus was arrested, and stood helplessly by the cross as Jesus cried out in agony and finally died.
What did John see as he remembered Jesus? The first thing he mentioned is glory. Jesus high and lifted up above all else, possessing the honor and majesty of an only Son of his Father. Secondly, is the abundance of grace and truth. Grace is a word we like; it's soft and gentle, a gift freely given and all we need to do is soak it up. Truth is not so comfortable. It requires that we own up, take responsibility, and become people of integrity.
John can still hear the voice of the Baptist declaring his belief that, although he was the forerunner, Jesus actually came before him and exceeded him in every way. The Gospel writer agreed. Jesus surpassed everyone, and those who knew Jesus received one blessing after another.
Moses measured life through the lens of the Law - good, helpful, compassionate toward the needy, yet harsh and unyielding too. Jesus transcended the law-giver, and measured life through the lens of grace and truth.
More journal entries
September 1, 2010
To John, Jesus was not only human, he was also the Word that was with God and was God as stated in verse 1. God in human flesh; the Incarnate Christ. That was John's conclusion and he shares that with us here in the prologue. We don't know at what point in his life John reached this conclusion, probably sometime after Jesus' death and resurrection.
It was John's desire that we would reach the same conclusion as we read and ponder the message of his Gospel.
John used beautiful, symbolic language in his prologue. So far, we've read about light that shines in the darkness and gives light to everyone, and darkness that doesn't comprehend nor understand the ways in which God works in our world.
When John tells us the Word became flesh--this is very concrete and personal. The Gospel writer had seen it with his own eyes. John witnessed the glory; he had experienced the abundance of grace and truth and blessing. And again, he wants that for us, too, as we read the account. He wants our eyes of faith to be as keen as his physical eyesight.
August 19, 2010 Jesus was full of grace and truth which means there was no room for anything in his life that was not grace and wasn't true. In contrast, we are full of many things, some good, some not so good and some downright sinful.
The truth is that we are all sinners, and lose our way many times. That's when we need a Savior and that's where grace comes in. Grace is God's loving kindness showered on all who will receive it; and even when we don't know or acknowledge or respond to it, God's grace still finds us.
October 29, 2010 Moses was a great figure in Old Testament history. The Jewish religion is based on Mosaic law. The faithful meditated on the law day and night. They sewed reminders of God's law into their clothing, wore the verses on their foreheads and posted the sacred words on their doorposts. The Law was a light on the footpath of life which kept their feet from stumbling. It guided their everyday living and governed their society.
In contrast, Jesus is identified with grace and truth. I can hear the foundations of Judaism rumbling and feel the ground quaking when John the Baptist identified Jesus as the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world, and when he placed Jesus on a higher pedestal than Moses. John better watch his back.
March 2, 1982 When Jesus started his ministry, he left home and moved away. The most difficult people to reach were those in his hometown and even his own household. He came to his own, but they refused to see him as anything more than a son of Mary and Joseph.
How do we minister to those in our own household?--surely not merely with words. We must show an abundance of amazing grace and trustworthiness in the things that we do. God found that to be true. The word had to become flesh and live among us.
Who better than Jesus could lift the veil and reveal the true likeness of God, because Jesus has been near the heart of God from the beginning!
March 8, 1982 Grace is a smooth word that sounds beautiful.Truth is more sharp and frightening.Grace I could open my hands to.I am cautious of truth because it could turn and attack me.When I am treated unfairly I welcome truth.Usually I don't want truth looking at my life too closely.If they were both gifts--grace I would receive gladly; I might not want to hear truth.
If I were full of grace and truth, grace I could give away freely; truth would require responsibility.
John summarized what he saw when he looked at Jesus: Glory, grace, truth. Glory he possessed, Grace he shared, Truth he required.
October 27, 2001 Truth is gift and should never be ripped out of a person.Grace is gift and no one is ever forced to receive it.
March 9, 1982 What is a healthy concept of God? It must be balanced.He is my best friend; he is also my righteous judge.He is my heavenly Father; we also speak of Jesus our brother.He is able to protect me from enemies, yet when enemies overtake me, he shares my suffering with me. He can heal, yet I suffer with illness. God doesn't do everything he is able to do.There are no special privileges for his followers, but there are added resources for dealing with life. The greater one's faith, the greater the resourcesGod is truth, yet he hides the truth from his children and makes them search for it..God is merciful and kind, yet tolerates no sin in his presence.God is all powerful, but doesn't force us to believe and follow him. We are free to choose.
October 28, 2001Grace and truth are partners. Are they two sides of the same coin?Grace is God's work which also becomes our work. Grace is love at work. As we trust and believe in grace, it becomes truth for our lives.Truth is also God's work which becomes our work.Truth means no guile, no manipulation, no misrepresentation.I have never been good with truth. My experience is that truth is punished or has other negative consequences. Sometimes truth devastates and my nature is not to devastate.
Why does John pair grace with truth?It is truth that makes us free - free from pretense.People often do not like the truth. It hurts.Yet we like people who let us know where they stand and you don't have to guess. We dislike when what people think is different from what they say.
Grace must always accompany truth. It does with God and it needs to with us. When speaking truth it needs to be accompanied by gracious love. Truth breaks down in order to build up something much better. Truth must be told in order for the new life of healing, reconciliation, rebirth, resurrection to occur. Untruth kills; truth gives new life.
March 10, 1982One of the benefits of being a child of God is a life full of grace.
Grace is something I can relax in, relax with. It doesn't require work or accountability, it's just there--a natural gift to God's children. Then, what we have received from God, we share with others--a natural spilling over.
I think grace is like a smile--natural, beautiful, contagious, uplifting, freely received and given to others, makes our faces more attractive, brightens our spirits, expresses an inner joy. Memories can bring on a smile, so can thoughts of the future and thinking about people in the present. Grace reminds me of God's goodness to me in the past and my hope that afuture lived with him will be good.
Grace is the state of living in an intentional relationship with God. He the father, me his child. He the creator, me his creation. Partners, he being superior in all ways and me drawing on his resources.
I wonder what grace really means and how close I am to an acceptable definition? So I looked in Barclay's Daily Study Bible to see what he said about grace (John volume 1 pages 66-72). Four points: 1) Grace provides the required resources to meet every need. 2) "Wonder upon wonder" - the more we know of God, the more wonderful he becomes. Always fresh experiences of beauty waiting for us. 3) Something completely undeserved. The helpless poverty of man and the limitless kindness of God. 4) Charm, winsomeness, the sheer loveliness of God.
November 6, 2010Jesus revealed what God is like! So what did he reveal?
We could say Jesus was just a traveling storyteller. With wisdom beyond what you would expect from looking at him. But then he did miracles. Sight for the blind and healing for all kinds of diseases and disabilities. Either he was tricking people or God had endowed him with supernatural abilities--there was a great debate throughout his ministry about that question. Jesus rejected the austerity of John the Baptist and loved instead to celebrate and enjoy the moment. He even gave the impression that he loved sinners!
So far I've mentioned story-telling, wisdom, healing miracles/compassion,joy, inclusiveness and controversy. He was also very demanding of his disciples, it was all or nothing. Speaking of disciples, he chose fisherman and other ordinary people. When Jesus said "Come" and they said "Yes", they were in.
And then Jesus set his face toward Jerusalem where he would give up his life, willingly, intentionally. It shocked those who loved and followed him, as though he were letting them down. They did not understand until after the resurrection when they found out he was counting on them to continue the work he had started. Jesus told them to take the Gospel story to the ends of the world so all would believe and live in the life and light of God. The disciples were to be storytellers and miracle workers, wise, able to withstand criticism and conflict, inclusive, joyful, willing to sacrifice all in order to show the world how much God loved each person.
That's some of what Jesus revealed about God.