[Oct 04]--Grace and Truth

John 1:15-18

You might have noticed that we skipped verse 14, and there’s a good reason for that. In December, when people are hearing the Christmas story, I think it'd be a great time to examine in a little more depth who Jesus is. We’ll take about two weeks and look at several passages that enlighten us on this subject, and vs. 14 is one of them.

Every word, every phrase, is very important when we’re studying God’s word, and this is a good example. Notice that vs. 15 doesn’t say that John the Baptist testified about Christ, but that he testifies about him, present tense. Why is this significant? The Baptist had been dead for several decades before this Gospel was written, so what does the author mean? Just like Abel, “he still speaks, even though he is dead.” Even though the Baptist was murdered over two thousand years ago, his testimony lives on, and he’s still attempting to point others towards Christ. That was his all-consuming passion in life, and his legacy still impacts people today. I really hope that I can do the same someday.

And what does the author of the Gospel say about Jesus in today’s passage? Remember, he loves contrast, and he displays this by laying out side-by-side the differences between what Moses has given us and what Christ has given us. This is not meant in any way to disparage Moses’ contribution. The Lord used him in a mighty way to lay the foundation upon which all the rest of God's revelation rests. If you've been reading this blog for a while, you might've noticed that one of my pet peeves is the sad fact that most Christians are "one-third Bible-believers." They say that all the Bible is God's word (which it is), but their Bible reading sticks with the N.T. and maybe Psalms and Proverbs. As I’ve mentioned repeatedly, it’s impossible to really understand the rest of the Bible, or life in general, without grasping and believing in the first three chapters of Genesis. Jesus himself said that he was not sent to abolish the law but to fulfill it.

But to say that Jesus came to fulfill it implies that it needed fulfilling. Not that there was anything wrong with the law, but there was plenty wrong with us. So what did Christ bring? First, it mentions that he brought us “grace in place of grace already given,” or as some translations have rendered it, "one gracious blessing after another" or as I like to put it, grace on top of grace on top of grace on top of grace, with more on the way. Of course, this wasn't based on our merits or what we deserve, but just based upon “his fullness” of grace. Grace, in case you haven’t heard, is God’s unmerited favor, or as I learned as a teenager, “God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense.”

Moses brought us the Law, which showed us what God’s standards are and what he desires from his people, but it had no power to change us, or to really forgive us. But Jesus did, and he does. His grace forgives us, and it also restores us. His truth then changes us, from the inside-out.

And not only did he save us and begin the process of changing us, but he does something which is even more astounding. No one has ever seen God's face; but Jesus--God the one and only--who was at the Father’s side has made him known. This is talking about a personal relationship with the Almighty God of the universe. He's ushered us into the holy presence of the Father, something Moses never could do.

As for personal application, how’s about some thanksgiving, right now?

Lord Jesus, anything I could add to this passage would only detract from it. Thank you, for your incredible blessings, and for being the grace and truth that I need.

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