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Summary: A sermon relating the uniqueness of John’s Gospel and his contribution to the doctrine of the Holy Trinity

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The Holy Trinity, June 3, 2007 “Series C”

Grace be unto you and peace, from God our Father and from our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

Let us pray: Gracious God, whom we have come to know as Father, Son and Holy Spirit, speak your word of truth to us. Keep speaking to us through the words of Scripture. Keep showing us your love and glory as revealed through the life, death and resurrection of your Son, Jesus the Christ. Keep prodding us to open our hearts and minds to your will and truth for life through the power of your Spirit, that we might grow in faith and live as your redeemed disciples. This we ask in Christ’s holy name. Amen.

Our Gospel lesson for this morning is the shortest Gospel text for the whole year. But in order to understand this brief lesson, and its significance for Trinity Sunday, I believe we need to return to the beginning of John’s Gospel, where the author states the purpose for his book.

John writes: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God… And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth; we have beheld his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father… For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God; the only Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, he has made him known.” [John 1: 1, 14, 17-18]

There are two points about this introduction to John’s Gospel that I would like us to focus on. First, through these words, John tells us right at the beginning of his Gospel, that Jesus is God’s incarnate Word to us. As Richard P. Carlson points out in his commentary on our lesson, “John’s entire Gospel revolves around Jesus as the eternal and ultimate self- revelation of God. Who God is and what God is about is revealed in and by Jesus.” End quote. [1]

In other words, unlike the Synoptic Gospels, which attempt to give us a chronological account of the events in the life of Jesus, John’s Gospel is designed to help us understand the significance of these events. John wants us to see that in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus, God is revealing his glory, his grace and his truth – to us.

Think of these statements from John’s Gospel. “No one has ever seen God; the only Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, he has made him known.” In Jesus’ own words, as John records, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life,” through whom we come to God, and to know God.

And then, at the end of his Gospel, John sums up by telling us, “Although Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in his name.” Clearly the intent of John’s Gospel is to proclaim God’s revelation of himself to us in Jesus the Christ.

The second thing that I would like to focus on in the introduction to John’s Gospel, is the phrase “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth.” In the research that I did in seminary, I came to understand that what we translate into English from the original Greek language of John’s Gospel as “grace and truth,” has the same meaning of what would be translated from the Hebrew language of the Old Testament as “steadfast love and faithfulness.”


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