John 1:17

We’re going through the New Testament looking for clues to the doctrine of the Trinity.  We’ve been going through the book of John and we’re in the prologue right now. We’ve been spending a day on each verse aside from John 1:1 on which we spent three days. We’re almost to the end as after this one, we have only one more verse to go. Tonight, we are going to be looking at John 1:17.

For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.

The Law of Moses. Those words if uttered to a Jew would immediately bring about reverence. If there was one thing they all agreed on, it was that the Law of Moses had authority. One contrast that will also be seen in the book of John is not just Jesus in comparison with John the Baptist, but Jesus in comparison with Moses.

The Law was the decree of God. It was the way of salvation. It was what had to be followed if Israel did not want to go into exile again. It was their righteousness. They showed that they belonged to the covenant of YHWH by following the Law. It was revealed divinely by God. Tablets were written by the very finger of God. It had been handed down and passed down from generation to generation. It was certainly not taken lightly.

John gives it an inferior position already here.

We discussed this some when we talked about the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus gives the speech and the obvious reply to his setting aside the Law would have been “Who do you think you are? God?”

Well, just maybe he did.

Of course, the Hebrews writer will tell us that when something is set aside, it is because it is replaced with a greater. What is the greater? In this case, it is what came through Jesus Christ. That greater is grace and truth.

The Law could tell our condition before God, but it could not rectify that condition. Sacrifices were never capable of removing sins. It could tell us a way to live holy lives. It could not make us holy in itself. It was a pointer to what was to come, and that was Christ. We must remember that while the Law was meant to lead us to Christ, we should not denigrate the Law. The Law is holy and good and it still gives us moral commands that we are to follow today.

Christ offers something different. He offers grace. He tells us how it is that we can be saved and he forgives us. His sacrifice is capable of removing the stain of sin in our lives. He not only shows us where we are wrong. He corrects it. He does for us what we could never do for ourselves and never will be able to do for ourselves.

Truth also comes. Christ gives us the truth. He tells us who we are and he tells us who we are to be. That is only found by coming through him who is the truth, a concept we will look at later when we get to the fourteenth chapter. 

Truth is essential to everything. Truth is a major concept that we will find all throughout this gospel. It is what sets us free. It is what we are to know. It is one of the ways that Jesus uses to identify himself. Definitely nothing to take lightly.

Tomorrow, we shall wrap up the prologue of John.

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