Grace and Truth; December 15, 2022

John 1:14 The 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.

John the son of Zebedee was the youngest of the 12 apostles, and there were probably some who really wondered when he was so designated. However, he had a sensitivity and a depth of insight that made him invaluable in many ways. He was the one to whom Jesus entrusted His mother Mary at His crucifixion, (John 19:26-27) and he was the one to whom Christ entrusted the vision that is recorded as the last book of the Bible. Here he encapsulates his experience of walking with Jesus in His earthly ministry, and it is worthy of deep meditation. From the time he heard John the Baptist call Jesus “the Lamb of God,” (John 1:36-37) he was entranced, and quickly became part of Jesus’ inner circle. This verse expresses why he responded that way, because it tells us how he came to see Jesus. He saw Jesus’ power manifested in many different ways, from healing to calming a storm to raising the dead, but what stood out to him most was grace and truth. We only have small glimpses of the interactions among the group that traveled together for three and a half years, so we don’t know all the things, little and perhaps big, that demonstra­ted grace to John and his companions. We do know that Jesus was absolute truth, not simply avoiding lies but also not saying or doing anything that was incorrect. We can only dream of such an existence! These days it’s popular to speak of “my truth” and “your truth,” as though there were no absolute, objective truth. Jesus showed how wrong that is by actually being the Truth, as He Himself said. (John 14:6) If He were just Truth we would have no hope, because we are truly sinful. However. As John says here, He is full of grace as well, so that we may be saved by grace through faith. (Ephesians 2:8-9) This is the glorious reality of Christmas: the Word of God became a human being in order to express God’s grace and truth to us, who need it so desperately.

Of all the people in the Bible, my favorite after Jesus is John. (People tell me I’m more like Paul, but that’s a different matter.) Raised by a father who held absolute honesty as one of his foundational principles, I love to share God’s truth with others. However, it I fail to express grace in the process I am worthless, driving people away from God rather than drawing them to Him. Paul spoke of it in terms of love, in 1 Corinthians 13 and elsewhere. Truth without love and grace is a hammer, smashing people and driving them into the ground. I am to be totally dedicated to God’s truth, but I must flow with His love and grace. The stresses and frictions of life test that constantly, but in the process I am trained and grown. This Christmas, and every day, I am to rejoice to be an instrument of God’s grace and truth, for His glory.

Father, thank You for this reminder. I can forget this as the stresses pile up! Help me recognize what You have for me to do each moment, resting, relaxing, and rejoicing in You, so that those around me may receive Your grace and truth through me, 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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