Listen closely to the scripture for today - it is a good one! John 1 :14 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. 15 (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.’”) 16 Out of his fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given. 17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known.
This week we have been considering the whole idea of living a "contrast life" and being a "contrast community" as followers of Jesus. I think the church is often seen as being in "contrast" with the world but unfortunately the contrast is often in terms of being " too judgmental, boring, irrelevant, condescending etc." This is not the kind of contrast we aspire to and I think this verse helps us get to the right kind of contrast. John says Jesus came "full of grace and truth!"
With grace we get "unmerited favor" from God and therefore what we are supposed to get from God's people. With truth we get "ultimate and absolute reality" concerning God, humanity and how it all is suppose to work. I like that it says "full of grace and truth". Jesus was always full of grace and at the same time full of truth - it is not that He balanced them (like you have to say nice things about someone before you tell them what they did wrong) it says He was "full" of both grace and truth.
This is key to living a "contrast life" and being a "contrast community"! As we live out in our world we must never compromise on the truth of God's message (no matter what the topic) and we must always keep loving people and showing them favor. It is a big struggle and we will not do it perfectly but it is definitely the way to go.
It's like it in my own home. My daughter needed to talk to me about something recently that I was doing that was hurting her. We had the conversation about this "truth" that I needed to hear. It stung a little to hear but I know my daughter loves me and has a history of giving me "undeserved favor" therefore I could digest the truth better without getting defensive. It takes more grace to be able to handle more truth. As one friend told me, "tell me what you know I need to hear but love me while you're telling me!"
The world needs to here the truth of God's presence, power and will - but we must love them while we are telling them!
Thanks for listening,