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"The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us. We have seen His glory, the glory of the one and only Son who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
"(John testified concerning him. He cried out, saying, "This is the one I spoke about when I said, 'He who comes after me has surpassed me because He was before me.'")
"Out of His fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given. For the Law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.
"No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is Himself God and is the closest in relationship with the Father, has made Him known." John 1:14-18 (NIV).
Don't you love John's positive declaration? No beating about the bush! In the most magnificent poetic language he could think of, he declared, no kidding, that Jesus is God! He didn't even tell us how it happened. It happened -- God, in the person of His Son, came to us -- a man, yet so much more than a man, the God man, God in human flesh.
God the Father clothed His living Word, the Son, in a human body and sent Him to earth to live among His people in order to show them, through the life of a flesh-and-blood person, exactly what He is like because, ever since He met Moses at the burning bush in Arabia and called His people into covenant with Him at Mount Sinai, they just didn't get it.
They wanted a god they could see and touch, so they made their own and worshipped what they had created out of their own imagination. And the gods they made were pretty awful!
And so God said, 'If you want a god you can see, I'll send you one -- just like me -- so that you can get a feel of the real thing!' And when He came, they were so out of touch with the real God that they didn't recognise Him. They were so used to their distorted, out-of-shape God who was a stickler for keeping impossible and unrealistic laws, and was thirsty for blood and punished people who sinned that they were uncomfortable with the One He came to reveal. He was too nice, too kind and too full of mercy -- so they killed Him!
How can you be comfortable with someone who is full of grace and truth when you are full of laws and rituals and sacrifices and being so "holy" that you despise everyone who isn't, especially despicable people like tax collectors and prostitutes? But, in spite of all that, He just kept on being kind to everyone and telling them the truth whether they believed it or not.
Moses...Jesus...the Law...grace and truth? Are they really opposites? How can they be when the instructions given at Mount Sinai on the best way to live, came from God. It's just that the people didn't really understand what it was all about. They were introduced to a life that would show all the nations around them what their God was really like based on the fact that there was a Lamb, already slain from before the foundation of the world, who had taken away their sin and healed the breach between them and their God.
The lambs they had to slaughter were just a reminder to them that all was well between them and God and that they were free to love one another...and the people who were not part of them because God loved them. They were spiritual babies and needed a daily reminder of God's mercy, but they thought that their God wanted blood -- a blood-thirsty God. They didn't realise that the shedding of blood was for their benefit so that they would know they were forgiven.
When Jesus came, He showed them the real God, a God who wanted mercy, not sacrifice; a God who wanted them to be kind to one another, not judge and criticise one another for doing something good on the Sabbath or reaping a little bit of grain to eat when they were hungry. He showed them a God who forgave and didn't hold grudges and most of all, a God who was real, through and through, and didn't pretend to be one thing and do something else.
Jesus is qualified to show us the Father because He has always been with the Father and has the same nature as the Father. He is a "chip off the old block" as the saying goes. He is a perfect mirror image of the Father. When we look at Him, we see the Father because He is like God and He is God. That's what John wanted us to know.
We can trust the Father because we can see Him in everything that Jesus said and everything He did.
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