John 1:14 And the Word became 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.
For the past five Sunday’s it has been my distinct privilege to be preaching through the first Chapter of John’s gospel. Early in the journey we defined vs. 14 as a key verse in the prologue as the only begotten is said to be full of grace and truth. Grace and Truth are a divine couplet with immense and profound implications for us. At one point in defining grace I chose a definition that grace is “what God does in us, without us.” There is also an older more familiar definition of grace which is an Acronym from the word G-R-A-C-E (God’s riches at Christ’s Expense). Grace is a key concept in our understanding every dimension of the gospel and only God offers grace perfectly and flawlessly. At times I have struggled with some of the un-graces I have witnessed and over the years encountered broadly within the church. I am not completely sure whether I have seen more grace or what I characterize as un-grace in church. I can most certainly say that in society at large—and increasingly so—there seems to be a boat load more un-grace than grace on display.
God has literally inspired the writing of the book on grace. What are some of the images of grace that should inspire God’s people? Probably the most known is the thief on the cross next to Jesus—where Jesus said “Today you will see me in paradise.” The grace of God coaxed Adam and Eve out of the bushes, and murderous Moses out of the desert. God, who made a restorative place for David, though David made an immoral move on Bathsheba. God did not give up on Elijah, even though Elijah gave up on himself and God. All of these heard the voice of grace in one form or another.
And so did a waffling Peter hear grace after the rooster crowed,
And so did the storm tossed disciples hear grace after the wind ceased,
And so did the adulterous woman hear grace after the men with stones left,
And so did the five time married Samaritan woman hear grace at the well,
And so did the hard-hearted persecutor Saul hear grace after the blinding light struck,
And so did the paralytic who was lowered through the roof by his friends hear grace,
And so did the blind man when Jesus found him desperately living on the streets,
And so did the disciples hear from Jesus on the beach early one post resurrection morn.
If you want to discover grace in all its fullness, read the number one selling book in world history. Discover that History is so often about “His Story”—and that story is one of grace extended—a grace that is unexpected and undeserved. No wonder we call it “Amazing Grace” how else can it be rightly described. My friends, I, like you, stand in stark need of grace on a daily basis—and I hope that God will not be alone in extending it to me. I dream of pastoral ministry in a church where God’s people seek (though never fully achievable) to emulate the grace of our Lord to one another. What a wonderful and glorious ministry we have been given. A ministry full of grace and truth. Both are so very needed in life today. And both are found in the Word made Flesh.
He told me to tell you!
Pastor Robert Zimmerman