Love; July 1, 2018

John 1:16-17 From the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.

Talk about God’s provision! This is right in there with John 1:12 and 3:16. It’s no accident that all of these verses were penned by John, because his self-descriptive term was, “the disciple whom Jesus loved.” (John 21:20) There are those today who say there was a sexual relationship there, but such an opinion comes from a complete misunderstanding of love, and is strongly influenced by the father of lies. (John 8:44) John wrote about love more than any other New Testament writer, and he is sometimes referred to as The Apostle of Love. It is said that in his old age he would seem to be asleep, but then would stir to say, “Children, love one another.” Given the content of his letters, that seems to be a very likely tradition. John had witnessed God’s love made visible first hand, and it shaped him forever. English translations generally say, “Grace and truth came through Jesus Christ,” but the Japanese says, “were manifested.” In literal translation, that would come out as “actually appeared.” That is to say, those things might have been theoretical before, but now they really exist. This is why Jesus could say, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6) John had heard Jesus say that, and I’m sure it was on his mind as he wrote this first chapter of his Gospel.

John is the New Testament character, other than Jesus Himself, that I most admire and would like to emulate. (There are some who say I have more in common with Paul, but that’s just a matter of opinion.) I was raised in a home that manifested genuine love more and better than many, and I realized early on that love is a decision at least as much as it is an emotion. I saw that my parents loved each other, and us children, even when their emotions were in turmoil. I entered marriage at 20 with the understanding that marriage was going to be the biggest job of my life, but it would carry the greatest rewards. In a very real sense I decided to love my wife, meeting her (as I remember, at any rate) in November, having our first date in February, getting engaged 11 days later, and getting married in May. That was 49 years ago! As romantic as that might sound, it doesn’t hold a candle to what John is talking about here. God’s love is so overwhelming, absolutely everything else pales in comparison. My task, and the task of every believer, is to welcome that love so as to be a conduit of it to those around me, so that they too may “Taste and see that the Lord is good.” (Psalm 34:8)

Father, words fail me to express my gratitude for Your love. Help me live it out, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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