Saturday, December 7, 2013

A Christmas Verse

Have you come across a familiar scripture or heard someone speak on a verse that punched you in the gut?  I heard a sermon on John 1:14 a few months ago that hit me like a Stone Cold Stunner.  
It hit me again this Christmas season in this verse from the Christmas classic, Joy to the World.

He rules the world with truth and grace 
And makes the nations prove
The glories of his righteousness
And wonders of His love 
And wonders of His love
And wonders of His love

The wonder of His love is that in all of the stories found in scripture of Jesus interacting with people, He fully expresses truth and grace.  The woman at the well, calling the Pharisees and Lawyers "You brood of vipers", all of his conversations with Peter.....
 I've always been pretty good with the truth part, but struggled with showing others the grace that Christ has shown to me.  Just this morning while reading the paper I came across this article...

My initial reactions were: She should have made a better choice of a mate before she started making babies, She should get a job, Oh great, one more welfare case has moved to Texas.....Then I remembered He rules the world with truth AND grace.  The message of Christmas should bring joy to her world too.  Yes, most of those things I was thinking were true, but if I am to be a Christ follower I should confront those truths with grace rather than bitterness.
Now just as much as I struggle with lots of truth and not enough grace, there are lots of folks who go heavy on the grace and neglect the truth.  As a result we get a culture that says anything goes like in the book of Judges where "In those days Israel had no king; all the people did whatever seemed right in their own eyes."
We can rejoice this Christmas that a King has come and that He has come full of truth and grace.  
St. John's gospel doesn't begin with a Nativity, but it does proclaim Joy to the World.

The Gospel of John Chapter 1

1In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2He was with God in the beginning. 3Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. 5The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcomea it.
6There was a man sent from God whose name was John. 7He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all might believe. 8He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light.
9The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. 10He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. 11He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. 12Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— 13children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.
14The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
15(John testified concerning him. He cried out, saying, “This is the one I spoke about when I said, ‘He who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’ ”) 16Out of his fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given. 17For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ18No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God andb is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known.
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