“The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us. We have seen His glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. John testifies concerning Him. He cries out, saying, “This was He of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me has surpassed me because He was before me.’ ” From the fullness of His grace we have all received one blessing after another. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.” John 1:14-17
Jesus brought grace and Truth to us. A grace and a Truth that were a vivid manifestation of how deeply He loved us. When we study the word truth and its roots in this passage, we find that it means a truth that reveals that which even might have been formerly hidden for whatever reason, including unwitting ignorance.
Jesus came to us as the Truth that would reveal itself in love. His was not a hurtful Truth, but a liberating one.
Perhaps Peter felt at a loss when a Carpenter taught him how to better fish, or when a Master told him that he would betray Him three times. But that momentary sadness would give way to a life-changing revelation. These Truths were a vivid manifestation of how deeply Jesus loved Peter, and it changed Peter’s life.
The word grace means, “especially, God’s influence upon our hearts and His reflection in our lives.” The grace of God, embodied in Christ Jesus, is not like any grace we will ever know. It is a life-changing grace.
Grace and Truth.
Witness a woman caught in the act of adultery, and brought to be stoned:
And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst… John 8:3 (KJV)
Those about to stone had set her “in the midst” and were preparing to kill her when Jesus approached. Most of us know the rest of the story, with Jesus saying to them, “You who are without sin cast the first stone,” but it is the end of the story that is most stirring.
When all her accusers have dropped their stones and left, God’s Word gives us an amazing revelation of grace through Jesus.
And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst. John 8:9
This woman who was set “in the midst” of all these accusers was left standing alone with Jesus and yet God’s Word says that she was “in the midst.” In the midst of what? The next two verses tell us.
When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee? She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more. John 8:10-11
“Neither do I condemn thee.” Grace.
“Go and sin no more.”Truth.
This woman, just as we have so many times and will so many times again, stood in the midst of grace and Truth, a grace and a Truth that were a vivid manifestation of how deeply He loves us.
Truth and Grace.
We all have been sorely in need of that kind of grace and Truth over the course of our lives. We needed it before we became His disciples and we’ve needed it afterward, as well.
We’ve needed the kind of grace and Truth that our Lord Jesus Christ afforded this woman, and that which He gave to Peter, too.
Peter, having already received from Jesus the saddening Truth that he would betray Him three times, now finds himself standing before a resurrected Christ in John 21.
How Peter must have felt. He loved Jesus so much. Jesus had changed his life. He was so sure he wouldn’t betray Him, and yet – when it was all said and done – he had betrayed Him just as Jesus said he would. One wonders if he could have even looked Jesus in the eye. Peter stood spiritually naked, helpless and ashamed before the Truth.
But, because of Jesus’ deep love for Peter, that’s the moment when Truth’s partner, Grace, showed up.
Jesus asked Peter, “Do you love Me, Peter?,” to which he replied, “You know I do, Lord.” Three times Peter denied Jesus.
Three times Jesus asked him, “Do you love me, Peter?” Three times Peter said, “You know I do, Lord.” Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. 1 Peter 4:8
Jesus has brought grace and Truth to us because He loves us so deeply. It’s the kind of love and grace and Truth that will change your life.
Today, it can change your life again.
The writer is a bishop in The International Church Network, a network of 400-500 churches in North America, Africa, Asia, and the Pacific.