Summary: The Light of the World The Glory and Grace of the Incarnation
The Light of the World
The Glory and Grace of the Incarnation
December 22, 2013
Christmas is three days away and we are drawing our attention to the significance of the incarnation, the light coming into the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it. This is the last week in our series, “The Light of the World” looking at the first eighteen verses of the the gospel of John, chapter one. If you remember, we started out with seeing that Jesus is the light that triumphs over evil, sin, and unbelief. Then we saw that God loves to use human witnesses to the light. Last week we saw the “The Power of the Light to Create Life.” The light is the living light that makes dead people alive! This week we are looking at “The Glory and Grace of the Incarnation.”
Big Idea – The word becoming flesh incarnation is glorious and gracious because the light is the means of grace and truth.
The Incarnation is Glorious (vs. 14-15)
The incarnation is glorious because God became man, the word became flesh. He took on the limitations of a human being to save undeserving sinners like you and me. Some of us have heard this so many times it does not shock us but it was shocking to Jews in John's day. The wholly other and transcendent God becoming one of us one of us to rescue us was unthinkable. John goes on to say that he dwelt among us, literally, he tabernacled among us. John wants to bring our thoughts to the Old Testament where God dwelled with his people first, in the tabernacle in the wilderness, and then in the temple. It was there that God manifested his presence as a pointer to his presence coming in a person, Jesus Christ. John is saying that God's presence in the tabernacle and temple pointed and is fulfilled in Christ. God's presence is no longer found in a place but in a person.
“We have seen his glory, glory as the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.” The 'we' are those who have experienced the gracious work of God's Spirit. We are hard wired to resist God and are naturally blinded to his glory. It takes the work of the Spirit of God so that we can see the glory of Jesus by faith. Even after becoming a Christ follower we need the continual work of God's Spirit to see new and fresh glories of Jesus. This glory also points us back to the manifest presence of God and his glory in the tabernacle and the temple. Not only is God's presence no longer limited to a certain place but God's glory also is no longer limited to the temple but found in a person. The whole Old Testament, God's dealings with Israel, pointed to their fulfillment in Christ. The incarnation is glorious because Jesus is the only and unique Son. He is God the Son, wholly God himself, yet distinct from the Father.
Then the incarnation is also glorious because the light, God in the flesh, is full of grace and truth. He is the culmination or climax of grace and truth in redemptive history. This leads us to my second point, the incarnation is gracious.
The Incarnation is Gracious (vs. 16-18)
“For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.” John is explaining in more detail what he mean by grace and truth. 'For, what I mean by full of grace and truth, is that from his fullness we have all received a superior grace, as the fulfillment of grace found in Christ, instead of temporary or provisional grace in found in the Law of Moses. What John means by grace instead of grace is that the law was given through Moses in a provisional and temporary way but ultimate grace and truth came through Jesus Christ as the fulfillment of the law. He is contrasting the grace that came through the law God gave to Moses as temporary and provisional until Christ came, who is the superior or ultimate expression of grace to God's people. Grace then, is the presence and power of Christ to save us and transform us, neither of which the law was able to do. The law could not convert nor change anyone; it pointed to Christ. Then John goes on to explain what he means by superior or ultimate truth. No one has ever seen God under the old covenant but the one and only God, the word, the living light, who is at the Father's side has revealed him. God the Son who stepped down from heaven into the gutter of the world to save us has revealed the Father to us as the ultimate expression of truth. If we have seen Christ we have seen the Father. Jesus Christ, the word becoming flesh is the superior grace and truth that perfectly represents God the Father to us.