“And the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us, and we saw his glory, the glory as of the Father’s only Son, full of grace and truth. John testified to him and cried out, ‘The one who is coming after me ranks ahead of me because he existed before me.’ From his fullness we have all received, grace in place of grace, because while the law was given through Moses, grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.” (John 1:14-17)
John uses the term “grace” four times in these few verses. When reading anything, particularly Scripture, and we see a specific word or phrase used multiple times then we are called to take note of it. It signifies that this is important. If you notice, however, John also pairs “grace” with “truth” twice in this passage. He does this intentionally as well.
What is it about grace? Jesus is the epitome of grace because all grace flows from Him. He is “full of grace and truth”. Perhaps the idea of “grace” is so striking because we, as a society, have no tolerance for others anymore. We have no “grace” to give others. We become impatient with those in the checkout line ahead of us. We become annoyed with drivers on the road and we get road rage. We gossip with coworkers about that one specific coworker (or boss) that we think is lazy.
The simple definition of grace is “courteous, goodwill.” That is what Christ offers to us. He desires our goodwill. He longs to pour forth grace upon us so that we will, in turn, be His hands and feet to the world.
We are not called to be exclusively sponges. We are called to be mirrors. We are adopted children of God so, as a result, we should be full of grace and truth. We should be gracious to others because Christ is gracious to us. However, we fall into the trap of wanting to be a sponge. We want to soak up all the grace that Christ rains down from his throne upon us. We do not, however, reflect that grace in our encounter with others. We want to absorb all the love, care, forgiveness, tolerance, patience, and acceptance that Christ pours forth from His throne on us. Yet, we give the very opposite many times to others around us.
We can, indeed, be a sponge and soak up the Lord’s graces that He gives us. On the other hand, we are also called to be a mirror and once that grace is received then we should be reflecting it out onto others. When we begin to pray for the person who cut us off in traffic, rather than mouth agitation and frustration under our breath, then we give that person grace. When we invite others to get in front of us in the checkout line then we are being a mirror of grace for those individuals.
Where is your grace toward others?