Summary: Christ is God in the flesh, and from His fullness we receive grace and truth.
We’re continuing our study through the Gospel of John and today we’re going to talk about His grace.
And the Word was made flesh,
This is important because it shows us how He can feel our infirmities and die for our sins. Of course, by “flesh” we don’t mean that He’d never before shown Himself as a body, but this is the body of the servant (Phil. 2:5-8).
and dwelt among us,
The Greek says He “pitched a tent” or “settled.” There’s an obvious allusion to the tabernacle in the wilderness. The glory of God was hidden in the innermost place; it was surrounded by a tent. This was the place where Israel worshiped, sacrificed, fellowshipped, etc. This was the only place on earth where a man could find a mediator.
Now the Word comes as Emmanuel (Mt. 1:23); God hidden inside a tabernacle.
(and we beheld his glory,
The glory was hidden behind the veil, but in Christ the glory is apparent! Moses asked to see His glory (Ex. 33:18) but could not see His face.
And after six days Jesus taketh with him Peter, and James, and John, and leadeth them up into an high mountain apart by themselves: and he was transfigured before them. 3And his raiment became shining, exceeding white as snow; so as no fuller on earth can white them. 4And there appeared unto them Elias with Moses: and they were talking with Jesus. 5And Peter answered and said to Jesus, Master, it is good for us to be here: and let us make three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias. 6For he wist not what to say; for they were sore afraid. 7And there was a cloud that overshadowed them: and a voice came out of the cloud, saying, This is my beloved Son: hear him (Mk. 9:2-7).
He laid aside His form of glory to take on the form of a servant. Then He takes His disciples and reveals His former glory to them! Peter also talks about this:
For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty. 17For he received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. 18And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount (II Pet. 1:16-18).
the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,)
The glory they saw was as the only begotten of the Father. The Greek word means “the only of a kind” or “unique.” In one place it means “one and the same.” There isn’t another being like Him. He is unique—being both God and Man. He has the glory of God and the body of a man.
full of grace and truth.
This is leading us up to verse 17 which we’ll get to in a minute.
It’s important to note that this ties to “and dwelt among us” from verse fourteen. Take out the parenthetical statement and see how it fits together: “He dwelt among us full of grace and truth.” Compare this to Romans 5:21: “…as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.”
Here we have grace and truth together. They are inseparable and Christ came full of both!
15John bare witness of him, and cried, saying, This was he of whom I spake,
This is a reference to his conversation with the Pharisees in John 1:27:
He that cometh after me is preferred before me: for he was before me.
John was about six months older than Jesus (Lk. 1:27-28) and he was known before Jesus (Jn. 1:31), but Jesus existed before him. Later, when some of John’s followers seemed a little jealous about Jesus getting more followers than John, John replied, “He must increase, but I must decrease” (Jn. 3:30).
It’s from this point that he says,
16And of his fulness have all we received,
The Greek says “out of the full measure of Him.” What we have received is from His fullness. Every spiritual blessing we have is dependent on Him. He is Light, and so we have light. He is love, and the God of peace, and truth, and righteousness, and faith, and repentance, and life, and so on. Christ is the form of God and in Him the fullness of the Godhead dwells bodily (Col. 2:9). It’s from this fullness that we receive everything, but specifically,
There’s a song that says, “From the fullness of His love we have all received on blessing after another” but that’s not what this verse is saying. This verse isn’t about God’s love; it’s about God’s Son. The Son is full of God. That’s an important point because many believe that God’s love is the basis for justification, but in fact, His love is His motivation for sending His Son. The fullness of the Son is what made Him an acceptable sacrifice to die in our place and to be raised again which secured our justification (Rom. 4:25).