Grace and Truth

The Gospel of John begins by introducing key themes that are expanded in the body of the book - LifeLightWitnessTruth, and Grace. Jesus is the Light of the world, the source of Grace and Truth, the True Tabernacle, the only born Son of God, and the only one who has seen the Father. The introduction concludes by declaring that he is the only one who is qualified to interpret the unseen God since he alone has seen Him.

As incomprehensible as this is to the “wisdom of this age,” the lowly man from Nazareth who died utterly alone on a Roman cross is, in fact, the “way, the truth, and the life. No comes to the Father except through him!” There is no life or knowledge of the one true God apart from Jesus - (John 14:6).

Lighthouse Sunrise - Photo by Paulius Dragunas on Unsplash
[Lighthouse Photo by Paulius Dragunas on Unsplash]

The introduction concludes with a significant contrast – Rather than Moses, 
JESUS IS THE ONLY ONE WHO INTERPRETS THE FATHER. John’s purpose is to present him as the one who reveals God and makes Him known to men (“He is in the bosom of the Father, he declared him”).

  • (John 1:14-18) – “And the Word became flesh and pitched his tent among us, and we gazed upon his glory, glory as an only-born from his Father, full of grace and truth… Because from his fullness we all received, even grace over against grace. Because the law was given through Moses, GRACE AND TRUTH THROUGH JESUS CHRIST CAME TO BE. No one has seen God at any time. The only born, the One who is in the bosom of the Father, He has interpreted…


In contrast to Moses, “grace and truth came to be through Jesus.” This declaration challenged beliefs about the Law held by many Jews in the first century. The “loving-kindness of Yahweh” is found in Jesus, not the Torah.

The term rendered “interpreted” translates the Greek verb exégeomai, which means to “lead out, explain, interpret.” Here, it has no direct object in the Greek clause. There is no “him” after the verb “interpreted.” Therefore, the clause remains open-ended. Jesus is the interpreter of all things and words related to his Father.

The clause, “only born Son,” expands on verse 14 - “We beheld his glory, a glory as of an ONLY BORN from a father, full of grace and truth.” “Jesus Christ” is the one who unveils and provides “GRACE AND TRUTH” to humanity.

Moreover, throughout the Gospel of John, he is the one who “interprets” and reveals the “unseen God” to any man who responds to him in faith - (John 6:46, 8:38, 14:7-9, 15:24).

He is not just another in a long line of prophets. Jesus the Nazarene is the ultimate expression of God, His “word made flesh.” The Father can be seen and understood ONLY IN AND THROUGH HIM.

The Gospel of John does not present a Messiah who is identical to the Father, but one who knows and reveals the Living and True God. Therefore, anyone who has “seen” Jesus has “seen” the Father and received “Grace and Truth.”

John’s Gospel contrasts this “only born Son” with the Mosaic legislation. All things were made according to the “Word,” the Logos, and not according to the Torah.

The Mosaic Law certainly had its place in God’s redemptive plan, but it is superseded by the “Word made flesh.” Light and life are found only in Jesus. In him, God’s “glory” is being revealed to His children.

In the Book of Exodus, Moses was only permitted to see the “backside,” the afterglow of God’s glory while Yahweh covered him with His “hand” in the hollow of a rock as He passed by - “You cannot see my face, for no son of earth can see me and live” – (Exodus 33:17-22, 34:6-7).

In contrast to Moses, Jesus dwells in God’s very “bosom.” He has seen the Father face to face, therefore, he is the only one who can “declare” and represent the invisible God to the world - (Exodus 33:17-22).

The “Word made flesh” is the True Tabernacle in which the presence of God now dwells. Moses certainly gave the Law, but “Grace and Truth” have been unveiled in all their splendor in the man from Nazareth.

The purpose of the Gospel of John is not to denigrate Moses or the Torah, but instead, to highlight the full and final revelation of God that now and forevermore is found in Jesus Christ. In him alone, especially in his death and resurrection, is the loving-kindness of the God of Israel manifested in a most concrete way.



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