The Power of the Combo
15(John bore witness about him, and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.’ ”) 16And from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. 17For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known. 19And this is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, “Who are you?” 20He confessed, and did not deny, but confessed, “I am not the Christ.” 21And they asked him, “What then? Are you Elijah?” He said, “I am not.” “Are you the Prophet?” And he answered, “No.”
What John the Baptist wanted to make clear is (because remember, he is the guy who makes the way for Jesus): Just because I came before Him, I’m not saying I have seniority. I understand how things work. I know my calling and place, and I’m good with it.
How many people understand that? That’s just the way things are. John the Baptist is saying, Look, I got here first, but this is the Second Person of the Trinity, Jesus Christ, the Son of God. I have no special standing. In John 1:15, John the Baptist demonstrates he knows the meaning of John 1:1, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” To which John the apostle adds his own testimony: “And from His fullness we have all received grace upon grace” (v.16). That last phrase actually means continued waves of grace constantly crashing upon the shores of our lives. That’s grace.
John 1:17,“For the law was given through Moses.” The law was Do this or else! And it showed us failure—nothing more. Galatians 3:24 says, “The law was our schoolmaster to bring us to Christ.” That’s the program we were on—until “grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.” Do you see those two—grace and truth? Just like in John 1:14. The power of grace and truth is in the combination. Together, grace and truth make it all possible.
For example, do you like steak? I hope you do. But do you understand that although a bite of steak is good, it’s not nearly as good as a bite of steak with some mashed potatoes on it? Right? And a bite of steak with potatoes and a little bit of that creamy horseradish—get out of here! Taste buds are having a party!
The power is in the combo. You don’t understand anything about eating if you don’t get that the power is in the combo. It’s the flavors going together! Now that is a tasty way of saying the power in Jesus Christ is not just the grace; the power is not just the truth. The power is in the combination of the two. And how weak are we when we’re just grace? And how hard are we when we are just truth? God help us to get the power in the combination of grace and truth! —James MacDonald
· In what situation in my life right now do I need God’s help to exercise a better combination of grace and truth?
Father, Your Son seemed to effortlessly combine grace and truth in dealing with people, always knowing which needed emphasis without ever losing sight of the other. I find myself so inept and inadequate for the task. I realize grace and truth will flow in my life only to the extent I allow You to make those real qualities in me. Lord, keep doing Your good work in me that others may benefit from Your grace and truth in my life. In Jesus’ name, Amen.