Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Grace and Truth Realized—Jesus is that Realization (John 1:14-18)

“And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth. John testified about Him and cried out, saying, “This was He of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me has a higher rank than I, for He existed before me.’ ” For of His fullness we have all received, and grace upon grace. For the Law was given through Moses; grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ. No one has seen God at any time; the only begotten God who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him.” (John 1:14–18, NASB95)

Here we have the personal words of one who was with Jesus from John the disciple, and personal friend of Jesus. He was called by Jesus along with his brother James, who together must have been quite a team as our Lord gave them the name “Sons of Thunder” (Mark 3:17). After the resurrection of Christ, Mary Magdeline ran to John to tell him about what she had seen, and in this passage we read John’s own description of himself, “the one who Jesus loved” (John 20:2). John had the first-hand credentials to speak to the humanity of Jesus. He was there through everything from the point of His calling to Jesus ascending to heaven to remain until He comes again. And it was also John who was selected to be given the revelation of the things to come.

And it was John who wrote the Word (God the Son, Jesus the Christ) became flesh. Jesus took on the form of man and then He dwelt with them. He built relationships. He walked with them, ate with them, slept with them. He was fully with them, and He revealed Himself to them, and John was there at every step.

John was there along with his brother James and Peter when Jesus went up on the mountain to pray. Luke wrote about this event, “Some eight days after these sayings [Jesus speaking about His death and His call for them to take up their cross and follow Him], He took along Peter and John and James, and went up on the mountain to pray. And while He was praying, the appearance of His face became different, and His clothing became white and gleaming. And behold, two men were talking with Him; and they were Moses and Elijah, who, appearing in glory, were speaking of His departure which He was about to accomplish at Jerusalem. Now Peter and his companions had been overcome with sleep; but when they were fully awake, they saw His glory and the two men standing with Him. And as these were leaving Him, Peter said to Jesus, “Master, it is good for us to be here; let us make three tabernacles: one for You, and one for Moses, and one for Elijah”—not realizing what he was saying. While he was saying this, a cloud formed and began to overshadow them; and they were afraid as they entered the cloud. Then a voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is My Son, My Chosen One; listen to Him!” And when the voice had spoken, Jesus was found alone. And they kept silent, and reported to no one in those days any of the things which they had seen.” (Luke 9:28–36, NASB95)

John truly had seen the glory of the Lord and He heard to voice of the Father saying, “This is My Son, My Chosen One, listen to Him!” John was also there in Acts 1 when Jesus was lifted up in a cloud and taken away from their sight, followed by, “And as they were gazing intently into the sky while He was going, behold, two men in white clothing stood beside them. They also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven.”” (Acts 1:10–11, NASB95)

John was a trustworthy eyewitness. He was a witness to both the grace of Christ shown to man and of the truth that He spoke. And as a witness he could verify the truthfulness of the words of the other John—John the Baptist. Together they were united in proclaiming that Jesus Christ truly was the Son of God sent to save man from His sins. This is a salvation that none of us deserve, but is something that has been given to us freely at the expense of the Son. Jesus, because of His great love, paid the great price for our rebellion and freely gave us the gift of salvation. Not only did He give us salvation, but in doing so He gave to us new life—life that would never end and which would result in eternally abiding with Him and the Father.

God gave the Law through Moses, and man promptly proved that he could not keep it. But through Jesus God gave forgiveness for our transgressions of that Law. Jesus did not come to eliminate the Law, but to fulfill the Law. He met it in every way, and through Him we have been declared righteous with Jesus’ own righteousness. And as John the disciple, John the Baptist, and others physically saw Jesus, so have we been enabled to see Jesus, and through Him see God by the words recorded for us in Scripture. Paul wrote of Jesus, “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.” (Colossians 1:15, NASB95)

And as people saved by faith in the grace of God according to the truth of the Word, we have been given the privilege and responsibility of being the present and visible testimony of God’s grace and truth though our own lives. John later wrote, “Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has seen God at any time; if we love one another, God abides in us, and His love is perfected in us.” (1 John 4:11–12, NASB95)

And Jesus said, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:34–35, NASB95)

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