In America, today is the day we call Thanksgiving and on this day because of the name mostly, we will spend a moment or two reflecting on life’s journey… and the blessings we have received. Most often our reflection is momentary with the pronoun being the primary source of our reflection… We are busy, right? Very busy people… rushing here and there, like ants scurrying on a hill… buying this and fixing that, going to work and coming home again, you know. And being the busy people we are, reflection is not generally our strong suit.
In the midst of all the harried activity on this one day, please slow down and breath in this word, God’s blessing and reflect.
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him was not any thing made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him. He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light. The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. He came to His own, and His own people did not receive him. But to all who did receive Him, who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen His glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. 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.'” John 1: 1-15.
In the Old Testament, prophets cried aloud, to show people of their sins…but in the New Testament prophets, like John, the person in this narrative, cried aloud to show people of a Savior (Matthew 3: 3-12). John’s proclamation was a public testimony, so that all manner of persons might take notice of it, for all are concerned to it.
In the fullness of time, another John, the apostle John who was inspired by God to write this passage and explain to us Messiah; God in flesh, Isa al masih, or Jesus the Messiah. John explains that from the beginning of time, when there was yet nothing, “before the mountains were brought forth…” (Psalms 90:2) the Word was, God was, Messiah was. God incarnate, Messiah and the creator of all, was.
As creator, God gives life because He has life in Himself. God is living and the author of life. This was true in the beginning when God created creatures and gave them life, Genesis 1:20; Acts 17:25. All living creatures have their life in Him, derived from Him and supported by Him.
God, Messiah is the Word by which man lives more than by bread, Matthew 4:4. We also receive the light from Him; that life which is the light of men comes from Him. Life in man is something greater and more nobler than in other creatures; man is rational. When man became a living soul, his life was light, his capacities distinguished and dignified him above the beasts. It has been said that the spirit of a man is the candle of the Lord, and it was the eternal Word that lit this candle. The light of reason is derived from Him, and depends upon Him and for this reason it proves that God is fit to undertake our salvation; for life and light, spiritual and eternal are the two great things that sinful man, who lives under the power of death and darkness, has need of (Henry). So from whom better, can we expect the light of divine revelation, than from omniscient, incarnate God, who gave us the light of human reason?
The Word, Messiah, is the true light, which enlightens everyone, came into the world. God put on flesh; to became a man, fully human, fully God; to live with us; walk among us; and to know our sorrows (Isaiah 53:3) but without sin. Why would God do this? Why would holy God leave heaven; leave its perfection to walk the earth and see evil, up close and personal?
Conventional wisdom would say that God would not do this. God is God after all and above such things. Being omniscient, He certainly knows His creation and our propensity towards sin and evil. Case in point, you don’t have to teach young children to do bad things, they innately do them. Conversely, it is goodness, right behavior, and love that must be taught.
The answer to this question is found in the next verse, verse 16. It says, “And from His fullness we have all received, grace upon grace”.
It is from that fullness of God, we have all received. God being full of mercy and grace; a fountain of fullness overflowing is He. We have received favor by reading this word written by John. It is the message of grace and of truth and all those who choose to receive it, receive Him, who believe in His name, He gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. All who believe receive from Messiah’s fullness. “It is grace; the good and perfect will of God towards us, and the good work of God in us. God’s good will works the good work, and then the good work qualifies us for further tokens of His good will” (Henry).
Grace upon grace is the abundance of grace, one blessing heaped upon another. And God gives His fullness, the fullness of grace for the promotion and advancement of grace to all people.
Today, could be a day of true thanksgiving. Will you not receive the fullness of God, God’s gift of grace upon grace, wrapped in human flesh, come for you? The Life and Light is shining out, shining into your darkness, searching for you. There is no darkness that can overcome the Light. The true Light has come. Will you not step into the Light?