A17 GRACE AND TRUTH
St. John 1.vv.14-18
~ The word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of the father's only son, full of grace and truth. (John testified to him and cried out, "this was he of whom I said, he who comes after me ranks ahead of me because he was before me".). From his fullness we have all received grace upon grace. The law indeed was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God. It is God the only Son who is close to the Father's heart, who has made him known. ~
"The law indeed was given by Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ." (John 1.v17)
It is recorded that a Jewish Rabbi was once present at a banquet in America and seated next to a rather pompous woman who proudly declared, "One of my ancestors was present at the signing of the Declaration of Independence". "Really?", said the Rabbi, "One of my ancestors wrote the Ten Commandments".
It is not only the Jewish people who venerate the memory of Moses, "The Man of God". In many ancient Churches are found lists of the Ten Commandments inscribed in word or stone, such is the importance Christians also attach to them; for they are "The Maker's Instructions". The things that belong to our peace; laws which undergird the very fabric of social and religious life. Jesus as a Jew upheld and honoured the laws, "I am not come to destroy but to fulfil".
St. John in the prologue to his gospel declares that whereas Moses gave the law, through Jesus came grace and truth.
All too often our words are debased in current usage. This applies particularly to some of our most precious words; "love" for instance can be used of the highest and the lowest; love of fish and chips, our pets, our family, of God. The word is used indiscriminately in common speech, but fortunately the lovely word "grace" remains relatively unsullied.
There are two aspects (among others) that we see in grace; first, there is sheer beauty and winsomeness; even his enemies marvelled at the gracious words of Jesus and men, women and children were attracted by the warmth of his personality. Secondly, there is the unconditional, universal, sacrificial love of Christ for the undeserving. None of us merits the love, compassion, restoration and reconciliation which Jesus offers to mankind. All is of "grace".
The word "truth" is used not only about Jesus, but by him when he said, "I am the Way, the Truth and the Life". Pilate asked "What is truth?" for he did not know or care to acknowledge that the one who stood before him on trial was the very personification of truth. Truth is not simply the opposite of lies and untruth. Truth is that which "sets us free", as Jesus declared, truth frees us from self and selfish desires, from the bondage of sin, of greed, of lust and all those things that destroy our peace. As the truth himself, Jesus teaches us the truth about God and about mankind and those things that belong to our peace.