The Grace of God

The Lord Jesus, whose birth we remember and celebrate this week, before His birth was very much involved with the creation of the world, as we have seen previously in the first chapter of the gospel according to John. Everything was made through Him; so, He knows everything about the moon and its positions, the flowers and their structure, the body and its veins and arteries; you name it! He made it all! Now He, the Word, the Creator of all things, He came into the world, to become the Saviour of this world! That’s grace! Yes, that’s grace so much, because He knows this world, the troubles of this world; He knows us, inside and out! He knows what went wrong with us when we sinned, what misery and pain came of it; He knows the body, which He made, and sees what’s wrong with it and what it takes to heal it, restore it. He knows the world at large, the relationships in the world, the misery of the world, and He knows exactly what He would have to do to save this world. Yes, even when I die and return to dust, He knows as no other what He has to do to bring that dust together again. He’s done so before! He knows every aspect, gene, DNA, and speck of dust of me!

In the manger, dear listeners, you see your Creator! He knows man, He knows us, better than we know ourselves! There is no better Saviour than He; no one could better recreate us than He who created us! What glorious grace it is, therefore, that He came! Who? God! God, who said, ‘let there be light, and there was light.’ He came: God, who is the light of the world! Who came? God, who is the life of man; who gave life to the plants, the animals, to man. He came, who said, ‘I am the life of the world!’ He came to remove the darkness from the world, which sin had brought upon the world. He came to bring life into the world where death reigned due to the sin in the world! That’s what John tells us in his Christmas account: Jesus Christ came from God as the light, as the life, to restore it! ‘I am the resurrection and the life,’ He said, and ‘I am the bread of life,’ etc. etc. Grace upon grace! Overwhelming! Grace in abundance! Yes, and the fact that John calls Him the Word also highlights His grace: He came to recreate through the Word! He came to speak with the Word! He came into a dark and silent world to speak! I’m sure we all know what feeling that is: a dark and silent world (or else ask a widow or widower, when they come home to an empty house, what that is like). Jesus came as the Word, to speak: “I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.” Jesus came as the Word, urging us, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Jesus came and entered the gathering of the disciples, saying, “Peace be with you! Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”

Jesus came to assure us, “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” He did, for He is life and light, who brings this light and life through the Word! He speaks, to you, to your heart, to give you light and life! That’s grace! 2 Jesus Christ, dear listeners, gave us grace upon grace from the fullness of God. He was God; He came from God; He was with God, as He Himself testified, “I and the Father are one!” “Before Abram was, I am,” He said, and He came from God to save the children of Abraham. He came to give us grace upon grace, Jesus, the baby in the manger: Immanuel, God with us! He is the fulfilment of Isaiah’s prophecies: “Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, everlasting Father, and Prince of peace!” That is Jesus: grace upon grace, bringing the one gift of grace after the other, coming to us from the fullness of God: He is the Creator, He is the light, He is the life, He is the Word, and He is God Himself; and He is coming into the world to manifest to us the fullness of God’s grace! Indeed, for then John says (and that’s the heart of the gospel, as we have seen last week!), then this grace of God came so close, so very close, when the Word became flesh and dwelt among us. Remember, He came into our weak and mortal flesh; He came to dwell among us, assuming our flesh and blood, in the form of a servant, a slave! God, who is Creator, light, life and the Word, did not remain in His exalted height but humbled Himself and came to us, true man! Yes, He dwelt among us; He didn’t just make an appearance, He pitched His tent with us, literally. God with us! In all humbleness and tenderness, He came to us as the babe in the manger! That’s grace! He came to show us His glory: the glory of God shone around the shepherds, and they were terrified, for in the OT people were afraid to see the glory of God, which blinded them (even its radiance as it shone from Moses’ face!). Yet, here, in Jesus you can see the glory of God and not be blinded; yes, with the angel a great company of the heavenly host appeared, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to men on whom His favour rests.” We have seen His glory too, John reports as well: remember – at the wedding at Cana, at the mount of transfiguration, at the grave of Lazarus, and at His resurrection! Time and again: grace upon grace God’s glory shone around Him. It was the glory of the only-begotten Son of God, John adds. He was God, as we have seen already; and yes, He was the Son of God! God sent His Son, His only One, His beloved, as He expressed at the baptism of Jesus. He was in the bosom of the Father, literally (at the Father’s side, denoting how close and intimate He was with the Father). God didn’t just sent the Word to save us, practically speaking, effectively working; no, He sent His Son, the Son of His love, because He so loved the world, and because He wanted to save us in His love!

That’s why John said it already: full of grace and truth! From the fullness of God’s grace He manifested Himself in His whole life as the true grace of God – true grace, i.e. in Him we see God’s grace in all its sincerity, integrity, and honesty! God means it what He says; God means to show His grace, truly! What great a Saviour we have! May this gospel of His love and grace give you a blessed and joyous Christmas! Thank you for listening!

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