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. –John 1:14-18
People are often happy to share with me what they think about God. Usually it’s some truisms about what they think is common-sense goodness. Sometimes it has to do with connection with something transcendent they have found walking on the beach or spending time in the woods in a tree stand. Other times, it’s a patchwork quilt of folksy religion that they have strung together from church experiences, exposure to Eastern mysticism or maybe some brush with the occult they have had.
Here in these five verses of the fourth gospel, John spends some time to spin for us what makes Christianity so different. What none of our attempts to find God in morality, experience or philosophy can do–God makes himself known by coming down in flesh and blood.
A code of how to live came through Moses, John 1:17 tells us, but grace and truth from God come to us through Jesus Christ. He is the visible revelation–complete manifestation of God–he has made the invisible God known!
So drop the ladder by which you’re trying to climb up to find God, and come gaze with me this Advent at manger in Bethlehem.