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 resources
God 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, 2001
Grace 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, 1982
One 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 a
future 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, 2010
Jesus 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.

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