Friday, July 2, 2010

John's Gospel - 6


The witness of John the Baptist: the pre-existence of the Word-made-flesh. Though the Word ‘became’ flesh, He is still the Word. It’s good to bump up against some mystery every once in a while. This raises the question: ‘How much did John the Baptist know?’ Surely, he did not know about the Trinity. Did he perceive that Jesus was the Word? How does this fit with his subsequent doubt?

‘Out of His fullness’
Jesus was full of grace and truth, and because of Jesus’ own experience of the favor of the Father we are blessed. John’s expression ‘grace upon grace’ points to/tries to get at the abundance of God’s favor toward us. Our God deals with us in terms of heartfelt affection and commitment to our good. While aspects of life may be dark, behind all of that is the Father’s smile. He deeply loves us and is deeply pleased with us. (I fear that few Christians believe the second part of that last sentence – but it is the truth, and one worth pondering – and embracing!) The whole of our relationship with Him is defined by His grace. There is no part of our relationship with Him that is otherwise defined. Because of Jesus, we enjoy grace followed by more grace. The Father is so for us. So, how can we not rejoice? We may need to do that with tears as we struggle with sin, both within and without, and the evil that accompanies it, but there can still be that substratum of joy because of the grace of God for us. Because of Jesus, the Father is thoroughly on our side and He will not stop His efforts on our behalf until He sees us flourishing and happy. And all of this despite that fact that we still sin, even grievously. But our sin does not thwart His grace. It cannot. His grace trumps our sin – always.

It seems to me that the theme of grace – the grace of the Gospel that is deep and real and strong and unstoppable – is one that needs to be rediscovered in our churches today. To be sure, God hates sin and that with a passion. We should not compromise that fact in the least. But we need to hold just as strongly the fact that He also promises to flood our lives with His grace and to do that with at least as much passion.

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