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4 - The Word's Grace

"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.’”) For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father's side, he has made him known."

In the beginning, the Word was God. By the end, the Word is both God and man. He who was in the beginning with God did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, something to be lauded – He chose instead to take on flesh. St. Athanasius, in his work On the Incarnation, said it this way: “For He was made man that we might be deified; and He manifested Himself by a body that we might receive the idea of the unseen Father; and He endured the insolence of men that we might inherit immortality.” The Word comes to us as we are so that we might put on Christlikeness and take a new place in the family of God.

Growing up as an only child, I had a very strong relationship with my mom and dad. They were basically the only people with whom I spent any time at all! We were often identified as “the Three Musketeers” because of our closeness and similarity. My stories often revealed to the outside world the fun things that went on in our household (and, as all parents are well aware, that often included the embarrassing stories too). In particular, what often surprised people was the stories of my dad. To most of the world, he’s the most silent human being one would ever encounter, but I never knew my dad in that way. To me, he was the jokester, the man with a big heart who did everything to take care of the ones he loved. My stories of my dad to my friends would often elicit the reaction, “Your dad said that?!” No one ever saw that side of him except for me and my mom.

When Christ comes to us in flesh, He comes directly from the house of His Father and reveals something that no prophet could ever show us. Prophets were a lot like God’s co-workers; although they knew God in a certain setting, they didn’t know much beyond the workplace. Christ, on the other hand, knew what it was to live in the Father’s house. He had seen the tears shed in the Kingdom of Heaven. He had seen the joys the Father expressed at seeing His children walk in righteousness. It was not simply that Christ showed up to act like one more prophet – it was that He had seen the Father as only a Son could, and He was excited to share the stories He had with us. He could introduce us to the Father as no one else was capable of doing.

Father, what a gift it is to know You – and I have this privilege because of the work of Your Son. Thank You for the stories He shared with us, for the kindness and mercy which He demonstrated toward us, and for the love which He modeled. Part of my time walking with You is about preparing my heart, mind, and soul for conformity to Christ’s own image, and I pray that You would guide my feet in His own footsteps every single day. I love you – but I only know what it is to love because You first showed love to me.


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