If the human race is going to gain any knowledge about who God is and what He wants us to do, it must come from God Himself. Left to themselves, people produce concepts of God based on themselves. Their gods are images of themselves.
John 1:14 – Trinity and Incarnation belong together. The doctrine of the Trinity declares that the man Jesus is truly divine; that of the Incarnation declares that the divine Jesus is truly human. Together they proclaim the full reality of the Savior whom the New Testament sets forth, the Son who came from the Father’s side at the Father’s will to become the sinner’s substitute on the cross. God sent His Son to save us and the fact that His Son is co-eternal and co-equal (see John 1:1-2), not a created being, shows the great length God will run to throw His forgiving arms around you.
John 1:15 – John the Baptist used a riddle, as it were, to get people to think. John's riddle is, "He who came after me actually came before me." People wondered what he meant by that.
I believe the apostle includes this quotation because that is how he first discovered who Jesus was. Here John the Apostle is telling us that he saw for the first time who Jesus was when he heard John the Baptist (whose disciple he was for awhile), say, "This one who came after me is the one who was before me." Putting that all together, John caught on to the fact that this Jesus of Nazareth, this Stranger of Galilee, was a human tent in which was hidden a remarkable glory, a glory full of grace and truth.
John 1:16 – Jesus is full of glory, full of grace, full of truth, full of deity. That means we have available an unending daily supply of grace. Grace is the generosity of love reaching out toward us, giving itself to us. To those who come to Christ, God's promise is that every day we can take a new supply of his love. We can know that we are loved. We know we are cherished, protected, and blessed. We are strengthened, kept, and supported by his love; grace upon grace, day after day. The experience of grace should be continuous and progressive in the life of God’s people.
John 1:17 - Notice the reappearance in Verse 17 of the words "grace and truth," and the contrast which John draws between them and the Law and Moses. The Law makes demands. It is hard, cold, unyielding, without mercy.
John says that the Law was given by Moses. Moses did not originate it, but he gave it. Moses may disappear, but the Law remains -- cold, unyielding, demanding, without mercy.
But, John says, "Grace and truth came through Jesus Christ." Take away Jesus and you take away grace and truth; he is the channel of them. What John is saying in this section is that law is demand, but grace and truth are supply. Grace and truth are given to meet that demand.
Many people think that law and grace are contradictory, that they are opposing principles. But in the sense in which they were originally intended they are not. Law and grace supplement one another. Law makes its demands, rightfully and justly, and no one can meet them, but grace and truth is given in order to meet that demand. In Exodus 20 there is the remarkable account of the giving of the Law on Mt. Sinai; the Law, which came with smoke, thunder, earthquake, fire, fear and trembling. But in the very next section we read the detailed plans for the building of the tabernacle -- God's provision to meet the demands of the Law. That tabernacle is a picture of Jesus, the meeting place where God's demands are fully met in terms of the sacrifice of blood, of a life poured out. Thus John saw in the coming of Jesus the fulfillment of that tabernacle.
John 1:18 – Jesus has revealed, explained (exegeted) God. The only begotten God who dwells at the heart of reality (who lives in the bosom of the Father), has made God known. (The verb is "exegeted" him.) Jesus has explained him and made known that the heart of God is a Father's heart. God is a Father. In John 14:9, Jesus told Philip, “He who has seen Me has seen the Father; how can you say, ‘Show us the Father?’”
When we come to God through Jesus Christ we discover a loving Father; around us are a Father's forgiving arms; a Father's wisdom guides our way; a Father's power protects us and guards us.
Are you living in the fullness of God’s grace and truth today? What is the basis of your knowledge about God? What is the basis of your relationship with God?