It is very possible that in the next couple of weeks you will be sitting with family, probably either preparing to eat or after having consumed a great meal. As you sit and talk, if there are young children running and playing, enjoying every minute of being with cousins and siblings, it may will be that someone will offer the comment about a young boy or girl, “They are sure full of themselves.” Usually, we mean that are active, alive and running full throttle. We aren’t surprised for a child to be full of themselves. As a matter of fact it seems to go with being a two or three years old. It is when one reaches adulthood and is still full of themselves that we become concerned. It might be worth considering in every life, “What are you full of?”
In John 1:14-18 the apostle John offered his account of Jesus coming into the world. Matthew and Luke had given versions of the birth of Christ in Bethlehem. But John, who was writing about thirty years later offered a totally different approach. “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 is 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. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has seen God: the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known.” John had started his gospel account back in verse one by saying, “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God.” He is speaking of Jesus, the Christ who came into this world as deity, sharing the same divine nature as God the Father. But, he became “FLESH” and dwelt among us. It is interesting that John, describing Jesus becoming a human, didn’t choose words like, “Man” or “human” but chose the word “flesh”. As God he was Spirit. But he took on human flesh and became a man with all the desires and challenges that go with being flesh and blood. He felt pain, hurts, fears and loneliness like other people living in flesh. The reality that he was sinless demands that flesh not be seen as having sin in its nature. He was flesh but sinless.
But it is in that flesh, that humanity, that John says that we see his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father. Instead of his flesh hiding his glory, John said, it was there that we were able to look at it and be drawn to his glory. But what was it that demonstrated this glory tied to the divine nature of Jesus? John points to two things that so characterized Jesus that he could easily be described as FULL of these two virtues. His glory stood out because it was easy to see his grace and truth, even in the flesh and blood body that he was living in now. John said we receive from his fullness grace upon grace. Notice again the point of fullness. Grace and truth so permeated the heart and nature of Jesus that it was obvious he was full of these things. When one looks back on Moses the great man of faith in the Old Testament one remembers that he gave us the Law of God centered around the ten commandments. But when you look closer at Jesus in his flesh and blood body, you see that grace so fills him that it comes out his every pore.
It seems to me that John has now laid out the theme for this book and what he hopes all of us see in Jesus right here at the beginning and from this point through the rest of the his gospel account he will give story after story and lesson after lesson from Jesus that continues to demonstrate this whole theme. When he is preparing to bring his book to a close he will say, “Many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, that are not written in this book, but these are written that you might believe that Jesus is the Christ and believing you might have life in his name.”
From this beginning in chapter one, you could just about open to any part of John’s gospel account and see grace and truth standing out in the relationships Jesus developed. In chapter two, he, along with his mother and a few of the early disciples were invited to a wedding feast. When the host ran out of wine, it seemed natural to his mother to ask Jesus to do something about it. I have no idea what she expected him to do, but he solved the problem by turning water into wine. You get the feeling in reading the story that most of the guest had no idea that the host had ever run out of wine or if he did what happened to solve the problem. His grace saved a young bridegroom and his family from ridicule. His truth was then presented as he went to the temple and saw that they had turned the house of God into a den of thieves and he took it on himself to cleanse the temple of these money changers and sellers inside the temple courts. He helped a leader among the Pharisees to understand better how one becomes right with God by means of a new birth. In chapter four he led a Samaritan woman with a spotted background to true worship of the Father. It led to most of the Samaritan village being brought to faith. Whether it was a man born blind, an invalid laying beside the pool longing to get in or raising Lazarus from the dead, the stories go on to show his grace and truth for all to recognize. When John reaches the end of the book he takes lots of space to tell about the last days of his life on earth and his ultimate death on the cross. He pictured the last supper with the disciples, but instead of focusing on the Lord’s Supper being instituted he pointed to Jesus washing the dirty feet of his disciples. He declared that even with all their failures and one of them about to betray him for thirty pieces of silver, “Having loved his own who were in the world, beloved them to the very end.” He challenged them of love each other as he had loved them. That challenged still stands for every disciple of Jesus. Even as he foretold their failures to stand by him in the end, he told them not to be troubled but to believe in him.
His grace and truth stand out as he prays the longest recorded prayer from Jesus in John 17. He prayed for God to keep them, to not take them out of the world but to protect them from the evil one. He prayed that they would stay in the right way and for every disciple who ultimately followed the teaches of these apostles that they all might be one as he and the Father are one, so the world might believe that God had sent him. He even prayed that all the disciples might ultimately be with him in heaven. Grace and truth shined in all aspects of his life and in his death.
Think about it. What if someone wanted to tell the essence of your life, what would they declare that you were full of?