Jesus: Full of Grace and Truth.
As I think about what to write this week, I’d really like for us to be reminded of something important in the character and identity of Jesus. When John, one of Jesus’ best friends, would write his account of Jesus’ life and teaching, he made a unique observation in his introductory thoughts: “The Word [Jesus] 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” (John 1:14).
I want to encourage you to take a few moments to marinate on those words. “Full of grace and truth.” I think this is truly unique about Jesus because we all tend to be either one or the other. I’m a “grace” person. Conflict makes my stomach churn a little bit, and I’m much more comfortable “letting bygones be bygones” than calling people to the carpet. But others of us are “truth” people. We’re all about making sure that things are right. We have strong convictions and we aren’t afraid to hold people accountable to standards. There’s nothing inherently right or wrong about either truth or grace. The problem is when we choose one at the expense of another. A world without truth lacks conviction. But a world with no grace lacks any opportunity for dialogue or compassion.
Jesus was full of both truth and grace. We see it time and time again in the Scriptures as Jesus interacted with people in his culture on a regular basis who were judged to be sinful. They were the outcasts; people whose lives and choices would seemingly preclude them from ever having a relationship with God. But instead of coming down with harsh judgment, Jesus chose to love them. Forgive them. Have dinner with them. Die for them. But all the while, Jesus would never compromise on truth. He would frequently ask people who had just experienced his grace in a meaningful way to leave a life of sin. He didn’t marginalize sin or act like it didn’t exist. While being incredibly gracious toward all he encountered, Jesus was also incredibly honest about our sin, our brokenness, and the effect it has on our world.
Jesus has set an example for us to follow. Where do you live? Grace? Or truth? It’s my prayer that wherever you naturally fall on this continuum, that we all might follow Jesus’ example. Let’s strive to uphold grace and truth as fully as humanly possible, even (or especially) when it feels like they come into tension with one another. If it was something defining of Jesus, I believe it needs to be defining of us as we follow him.
I love you guys. I’m thankful we get to head on this “grace and truth” journey together.
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