Wednesday, May 30, 2007

More Journey Thoughts



I know most of my recent posts have been Greensburg-centered. That's where my thoughts have been lately. My hope has been that in some small way I can help those who are there, dealing with the reality of it all every day. Please continue to pray, and to give in whatever ways you can.

However, a change of direction today. As I was going over catechism lessons with my youngest son today, we read a section of the Gospel of John. A couple of verses really stuck with me. I'm sure I've read them many times. For some reason, though, they stood out this time.

"For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God; the only Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, he has made him known." (John 1:17, 18 RSV)

The first part is pretty basic: Moses gave the law. Anyone who knows even a little about Scripture knows this part. (Which, to me, flies in the face of those who try to question the authorship of the Pentateuch. But that's not the point of this post.) Moses is known as "the lawgiver". Of course, we realize that the law came from God, to Moses. But Moses was the instrument God used to convey His law to His people.

Similarly, then, Jesus gave truth and grace. The truth and grace came from God, but Jesus was the instrument God used to bring it to His people--to all people. As the end of the second verse says, "...he [Jesus] has made him [God] known."

I don't know about you, but I have had many moments in my life when I viewed God and Jesus as almost opposites. God is the judge, bringing justice into the world. Jesus is the loving Shepherd, bringing us grace. But the fact of it is, Jesus made God known by giving us God's grace and truth. God is both judge and gracious Father. That's hard to grasp. Yet somehow, it truly is who He is!

Grace is defined as "unmerited favor". When we get what we didn't really deserve, that's grace. Grace means that, though my sins are as scarlet, He makes me white as snow. Grace means that even though I blew it once again, He still offers His love and forgiveness. He pours His grace out again and allows me to know the sweetness of communion with Him.

Truth.

Now there's a tough one to deal with, in the world in which we live. If you could talk to 100 different people on the street in your town or city, I'm sure you would get 100 different definitions of what truth really is.

My favorite definition came straight from the One who knows the meaning of the word: "I am the truth." (John 14:6)

What does that mean? It means that whatever Jesus said or did, is truth. There's not a lie to be found in anything He taught or in anything He did. All of it is truth. How could it be that a Man could do that? Because everything He did and everything He said was another way He was making the Father known. The truth-Originator.

(Just to make sure we know that, truly, the Trinity is truth (all of them being God), check out this verse: "And it is the Spirit who bears witness, because the Spirit is truth." (I John 5:6b RSV) )

This world needs grace. This world needs truth. The ruler Pilate once asked Jesus, "What is truth?" (John 18:38) The answer was standing right in front of Pilate. He was staring Truth in the face, and didn't even know it. I think that's the case for many in our lives. How can we show them the Truth?

The more we know Jesus, the more we will know what grace and truth look like. The more we know that, the more we can offer it to this world that is in such desperate shortage of both. Because, hopefully, the more we know it, the more we'll live it.

"And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us an understanding, that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life." (I John 5:20 NKJV)


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