And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. John bore witness about him, and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.’”) And from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. (John 1:14-16).
God granted me the grace of watching the testimony of a converted Muslim today, and in it he made quite a profound statement. Roughly it was this, “Can a man become a God? No, he certainly cannot, for how can a weak and finite being take on the almighty and the infinite? But can an almighty, all-powerful God who can do anything become a man? Yes, he certainly can, for he can do all things, and he did so in Jesus Christ.” What this man now knows, by the grace of God, is what the apostle John testifies to in this glorious section of Scripture, namely that the Almighty clothed himself in weakness, the Majestic One arrayed in splendor clothed himself in shame, the One who dwells in the heavenlies became a homeless man, and the King of the Universe took on the form of the lowliest servant. The Lion of the tribe of Judah became the Lamb of Calvary.
When the Word became flesh, when Jesus Christ was born as a human, he did all these things, humbling himself as far as the God of the Universe could humble himself, even submitting to the cursedness of hanging on a tree. Though he did all these things, one thing he could not do was change who he is and ever has been—the Son of God. John proclaims this, that though he took on the flesh of a man, those who saw him beheld him in his glory and his fullness. John the Baptist is a witness to the same, saying, “He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.” Now why would John the Baptist say this knowing that Jesus was born after him? He says it because is following after the reality of the testimony of Christ to the Pharisees, “Before Abraham was, I AM” (John 8:58). Jesus Christ is the “Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End” (Rev. 22:13), and he is “God over all, blessed forever. Amen!” (Rm. 9:5).
And through this outstanding event—through the God of the Universe becoming a part of his creation—we who are in him have received grace upon grace through his fullness. Because he is God, he is also the Judge of all men, and since he has that authority, and justly so through his merits and his blood, we have not only received grace from him, but grace upon grace! He has not merely given us food to eat, roofs over our heads, clothes on our body, air to breath, water to drink, and bread to eat (though he has given us all these things graciously), but he has given us himself—the Living Water and the Bread of Life! He has granted to us pardon and Life Eternal, and he has granted us adoption to the Father and an inheritance that is shared with him! That, my friends, is grace upon grace!
Precious Jesus, how awesome and sweet is your Incarnation! How great it is to have such a Priest and King who knows our sufferings, our longings, our trials, and our wants, and, even more, who through those sufferings and trials has afforded for us grace upon grace. How we long to be in your presence so that might see you face to face, our God, our King, our Lion, our Lamb, who has blessed us so richly. Thank you for showing us your glory. Thank you for becoming our Pardon and our Life. We long to sing your praises forever. Amen.
Categories: Through John