Summary: The expose of relationship between grace and truth.
Seeing His Glory
John 1.14 December 10, 2000
And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us,
(and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth
Long ago, and in a faraway galaxy; So begins the movie Star Wars. Many people have never seriously considered Jesus Christ as anything more important than a fairy tale.
It is ironic how the whole world stops near the end of December to buy gifts, decorate trees and houses with lights, and wear themselves out with parties – but when it comes to the Christ of Christmas, they see precious little that is relevant to their daily lives. The thinking is: Hey, the baby in the manger is cute and all, but real life demands a lot from me. Religion has its place, but what does a child born halfway around the world two thousand years ago mean to me?
Consider this answer….
God looked at the mess which this world had made of the perfect creation. When He saw WHAT He saw, and how messed up we were, God knew it had to be fixed. But He also knew we could not understand. So God drew us a picture with His Word, Jesus…something we could understand.
A lady joined her Navy husband on his tour of duty in Japan. To supplement their income, she got a job as a secretary for the Commanding Officer at the base. She was certain her office skills had gotten her the position. A few weeks later, her boss called her into his office and told her she was much too quiet. He said, The reason I hired you was your Texas accent. I’m homesick for someone who can talk right.
God knew the only talk we would understand would be a living, walking, loving picture – so Jesus came. John says he dwelt among us. The word means he pitched his tent here for a while. That’s the story of Christmas – how Jesus came to stay here for a while, and be the picture of the God we didn’t know.
But, back to the original question – what does that mean to me now?
The answer is found in the way you look at the picture. Look at the perspectives John offers in the text…grace, truth and glory.
Some people only see Grace
The Bible says Jesus was full of grace. By definition, grace is the unmerited favor, or undeserved forgiveness of God. One day many years ago I was late to meet my wife for a luncheon date we’d planned that morning. I forgot! When I realized how late I was I raced to the restaurant. The look on Elizabeth’s face made me realize just exactly how late I really was…Then the look softened, and I was forgiven. (Brother THAT’S GRACE!)
I don’t know how a person could be forgiven…and thankless! But that is human nature. Jesus once healed ten lepers; only one came back to say thank you.
The reality is, grace all by itself will degenerate into thanklessness. You see it all the time. God’s hand has been on Billy Graham’s crusades for decades. People respond to the offer of grace – to be saved. When the crusade team leaves town, the follow-up begins by local churches. Many of those who came for the grace won’t ever get involved in consistent worship and service in the kingdom – thanklessness.
It is like a man who professes faith in Christ…receives grace. He breathes a sigh of relief because his name is written in the Lamb’s book of life. He leaves the church meeting, crosses the parking lot to his Mercedes, lights up a cigar, pops open a brew, guns the accelerator, running-over a nearby homeless person in a hurry to get out of there and cruise the streets looking for a prostitute before going home to beat his wife and kids.
What’s wrong with the picture? Grace received – but no subsequent change of life. Grace alone is degenerative, inadequate. Jesus said it was like a seed planted too shallow in the ground – it comes up weak. But there is no root. The weak plant is scorched and wilts away.
If you have received grace, the forgiveness of God in Christ, that’s good – but it’s not all….
Some people only see Truth
Truth is the righteous side of God. Jesus said he came to bring a sword to divide mankind. Figuratively, that means he came to show us the truth – that we are not basically good, with little splotches of mistakes to clean up in our character.
Jesus came as a picture of what good really is – so that there is no question that we cannot attain goodness. He came to show us we are separated from the goodness of God by our sinfulness.