Proof: Week 1 – John 1:14,16

The Church is now moving to a series called Proof. You can read about that here: Victory Fort

This weeks study verse for the Victory Group is:

John 1:14, 16

New International Version (NIV)

14 The 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.

16 Out of his fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given.

To begin, let me start by a word of prayer…

Lord thank you for this opportunity to study your word. Please guide me as I prepare for the sharing tonight. Guide me that what I am able to write and share will be your truth. I pray for open mind and a receptive heart. In Jesus name I pray. Amen.

1st part of verse 14 “The Word became flesh” and I’ll stop here for a moment. Let us go back to our Bible and read starting from verse 1 through 18 of Chapter 1 real quick to build on the reference on what was referred to as “The Word” here.

John 1:1-18 (NIV)

If you observed the same, John 1:1-3 seemed to be parallel to Genesis 1:1,26 in a sense of both “repetition” (both begins with In the beginning”) and “context” (God created the heavens and the earth … Let us make mankind in our image || He was with God in the beginning  … Through him all things were made). The words “us” seemed to have complemented to “with” and at the same time, a pattern was building up.

But since our study verse is on 14 and 16, we may have to talk through that observation in another meeting, but the point here as I build on the discussion is that, “The Word“, John referring to was either ‘the promise of fulfillment into the person of Jesusor ‘the God being present in the creation account and transformed into human’, however I may want to look at it fits Jesus especially when John concluded the sentence. Says here “and made his dwelling among us.”

So if I am to build from the statement above, its ‘the promise getting fulfilled’ to the person of Jesus Christ (Genesis 3:15 – offspring; or the seed) and made his living among us. What is also important in this verse is that we’d realize that being with us means that having to endure what mankind endure; in a world where the fallen man is living in. More than that, we are favored; we are favored to know that God have continued on His plan of redemption. We are favored that “dwelling among us” or living with us is Gods’ plan of salvation, Jesus. And John didn’t stop there…

John continued “We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father,” and here, he testifies that what he witness from Jesus is glory like no other, glory that you can only see from the Son of God. At this point, it should not be an argument that ‘we are all sons and daughters of God’ as that is in the spirit, after we have been “made” sons and daughters of God through Jesus, because the sentence continue to say “who came from the Father,”.

Now, as popular as the story is, we know that Jesus was born of a virgin, Mary. Conceived through the Holy Spirit; and this is what John was building on to as he said “the glory we witness from Gods’ only begotten Son“. Let us examine that for a moment, in Genesis 1:26, we reference this earlier, it say’s “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness”, so it was referring to Adam before he had sinned, then we jump to Genesis 5:3 (already after the fall) it wrote here “he (Adam) had a son in his own likeness, in his own image” and all sons and daughters were born with sinful nature. For this reason, mankind was in need of a savior, He who is not born of natural descent, nor in human decision, but the one who is born of God conceived through the Holy Spirit, back to God’s likeness and image, He who do not carry the sinful nature of man, He who is God. Jesus… who chose to be among us at His fathers will.

Last part of verse 14, listen to this, “full of grace and truth”. Again, “FULL of grace AND truth”; and there’s a tension there… I mentioned about it ‘a little bit’ when we were in the ‘Hotspot series’. But to some of us, we are torn between one or the other don’t we. We know what the difference is… Grace says you’re forgiven, while truth says “yeah, but you’re accountable”. Truth will show you’re broken, and grace chimes in and say “you’re fine”. And here, grace will keep saying “I love you, just the way you are” and truth just keeps creeping in saying you’re responsible doesn’t it. That is why some of us are torn – some of us are inclined to favor one over the other. We try to push Jesus into one direction. We like the verse that talks about truth when we lecture people what to do, and then we like the verses that talks about grace when its about us 🙂

But that is not what John is saying… he says he has seen Him live, he has seen his glory, they (the disciples) walked with Jesus, and he described Him full of grace and truth. There is the emphasis. Not a balance of grace and truth, but full.

Then we skipped over verse 16: “16 Out of his fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given.” Out of his fullness – there’s the key, he continued – we have received grace in place of grace already given… And I paused as I think about this for a second as this can only mean we either ‘received grace after grace, after grace’ or this can also talked about a ‘new grace’ in place of ‘grace given’ because if I ponder upon the latter, I would be able to reference “the promise” as God’s mercy when the first of mankind fell is the “grace already given”, and Jesus coming as the embodiment of grace is the “grace we all received” in place of “grace already given”.

To close, this is why “no one can boast”, and “no good works” can ever match what came through Jesus. We are reminded that grace and truth came in the person of Jesus Christ. And it is only through Him we will be save as God’s greatest gift and expression of love to us. That we received it in full, not a balance between grace and truth (by faith).

God bless you!

Bible Rewind: A New Perspective in My Reading of the Scripture

A couple months back, our Bible study group went through a series of 2-hour monthly lectures in hermeneutics. Thank God for using Pastor Vic to mentor us in this journey. Our group truly appreciates his guidance and up to now that he continued teaching us to improve on our Bible reading comprehension.

I do not intend to cover what all I learned from that series, the more so I cannot cover them in one article, but what I intend to do in this post is to give readers a quick look at how this foundational principles are guiding me in my Bible reading today.

One important ingredient is to understand the necessity of Biblical interpretation. As you would with other forms of communication, a gap between the sender and receiver can occur; and that is no different in reading the Bible. A gap occurs in one or combination of History, Culture, Language and World View.

During the course of the lesson, we were eventually made to memorize GHIPA as a guide that expands to the following:

  1. G = Genre: the men who wrote the text as inspired by God used forms of literature that people of those time understood, which is why genre is important in our interpretation. Simply put, interpretation would require more than just words and grammar.

    For instance, one sentence from a literature says this way “Crocodile got away”:

    While you can understand its grammar with subject and verb agreements, if you are not going to consider its literary genre, you could be at lost in trying to determine its real meaning.

    If the sentence is found in children’s story book, it could literally mean the actual animal got away from its holding cell or from being captive. But if this sentence is found in the news paper with highlights on current political issues (you might not relate if you are not a Filipino), it is most likely that this is not pertaining to the actual crocodile.

    If this example doesn’t suit you, let’s take one from the Bible:

    Song of Songs 4
    New International Version (NIV)

    13 Your plants are an orchard of pomegranates
    with choice fruits,
    with henna and nard,
    14     nard and saffron,
    calamus and cinnamon,
    with every kind of incense tree,
    with myrrh and aloes
    and all the finest spices.
    15 You are a garden fountain,
    a well of flowing water
    streaming down from Lebanon.

    Surely you wouldn’t think of the wife to be a literal garden that produces plants.

  2. H = Historical Background: in the 1st example above, History can play a crucial role that eventually how the word “crocodile” can-or-have depicted into a different meaning from either just a wild animal to be a “corrupt individual”.
  3. I = Intention (or Authors Intention): going back to a verse in Songs of Songs 4, if the woman was not aware what the guys intention was in saying the following:

    Your neck is like the tower of David,
    built with courses of stone;

    The statement can possibly be taken as insult more than a praise which is the original intention.

  4. P = Principle (Timeless Principle): more than the unfolding story of our redemption, what would make a great Bible reading is extracting the timeless principle conveyed in one or combination of verses, chapters or a book.

    One topic we discussed in our OT Survey lecture was “The Fall” and it was a great discussion learning that it was not so much about the blame game between Adam, Eve and the serpent but a lesson on responsibility, accountability, obedience and much more.

  5. A = Application (Practical Application): lastly, it makes more sense to capture the message, the timeless principle, and bring it to use in our daily lives. Let’s just say, what would have happened if Adam have been a responsible husband and watch over his wife like God had commanded him to. Or Eve would have been more resistant to temptation and have been obedient to her husband and God.

To close, while above does not give an all descriptive and more detailed discussion for each of the points, I hope it would help you discern better on your next encounter of God’s Word. Of course, top it up with a word of prayer to be guided by the Holy Spirit.

Here is a post that may interest you. Have a great day and God bless!

Hotspot 4: Unlimited

Before I proceed further, just to give readers a background, the Church I go to (Victory) do topical services and in the previous series, it was coined Hotspot – 3 topics were discussed: Source, Sync, and Share and this series was aimed to cover principles about discipleship.

Which I also plan to cover here with a version I worked on for our Small Group (some refer to it as Bible Study Group).

Coming out of that series, it was inspiring to follow on reading from the Book of John (where most part of the scriptures I quoted sharing in our previous study) with the following verses:

12 Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.


John 14:12-14

AND I call it discipleship Unlimited. We’ll see that in a moment 🙂 Now, let’s put the magnifying glass first in the phrases use in verse 12 of the passage:

“I tell you” – if you believe that Jesus himself is God, and, possesses all the qualities of the Father, therefore, He cannot lie. And by these, what He said in the next set of verses mention here must be true.

“Whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing” – there is the use of “will do”: Another quality of God is that He is all knowing, Jesus is Alpha and Omega (the beginning and the end), and in this set of verses, He was predicting the future. Think about that.

To whom is this promise directed to? “Whoever believes in me” He says… to those who has been reconciled by the blood of Christ. You cannot say that you are a believer if you haven’t been reconciled (and I shared about that when we did the “Sync” part of the series, more on this as I blog about that). But to my point, this promise is addressed to every believer of Christ and it will be activated to you if you believe truly.

What promise? “the works I have been doing”. Now, think about this for a second – what kind of work? The saving part? The healing of the sick? Feeding the 5000 with a few loaves of bread and fish? Making the blind see again? Or making the cripple walk? or what about raising people from the dead (Lazarus and a girl who was terribly sick and died). What?

Well, He says “works”? Didn’t that mean all of it? Or just because it didn’t say “all works”, sure, how about some of that then for starters? Do you believe you can do that?

Let us move further in this verse for a moment and circle back – not only we’re promise to do His works, He continued “and they will do even greater things than these” 🙂 what now? first we enumerated His works, and then Jesus said greater than those, (someone would ask, can anyone exceed the work of Christ?) and He closes with, “because I go to the father”. If we have heard the story of Jesus one too many times, we know that later in this gospel He gave His life, take that for a fortune teller, He knew what was going to happen, and certainly, He knows, what is to happen even after His death and resurrection. He said “because I go” not “if I go”, and so, He knew.

Now, let’s take a look at Acts for a moment, at the time of the Pentecost:

38 Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.”

40 With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.” 41 Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.

(Acts 2:38-41)

Wow! 3000 on that Day was saved through the preaching of Peter, that many number was added to the Church in a period of time. When Jesus talked about suffering, death and resurrection, some people who were following them (because of the miracles He was performing) leaves, they couldn’t take it… at one point, Jesus even told the disciples “are you all leaving too?”

greater things than this” He said, couldn’t be more clear… take this, Paul, afterwards built churches, after churches, after churches including Asia. Think about Jesus’ time where the focus was with the Jews, but here, the promise has been fulfilled through Paul — “making disciple of ALL nations”.

Well, what about the miracles? Let me ask you, what is better than ‘healing a sick person’? isn’t getting right with Christ the best kind of healing a person could have? it heals your soul…

What is better than feeding the 5000? Isn’t giving them the knowledge of Christ, which He said one time when He spoke to the Samaritan Woman in the well, “I give water that will not make you thirsty again” a better gift than a meal?

What is better than making the blind see? Isn’t showing them the truth about the Gospel more eye opening?

What is better than making the cripple walk? Isn’t guiding them to walk with God in the faith of being save the best experience a man can have?

What about raising people from the dead? What is better than making known to them the gift of eternal life through Christ, our Lord.

Now let us circle back to the last part of that verse before moving to the next… He said “because I am going to the Father”, and He certainly meant that all these greater things you are able to do, because – “I am going to die for you”, “and I will have paid the debt in full”, “that you, my disciples will become witnesses of my fate” – remember, these was happening during the time that Jesus has already announce that He knew the time is coming.

And then He concluded in verses 13 and 14:

And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.”

Friends, the power of His promises are only activated through prayer, and these prayers needed to be through Jesus.

“I am the way, the truth, and the life.”

“Nothing comes through the Father except through the Son”, which is Jesus.

This is why we say “In Jesus name I (or we) pray. Amen”.

Remember, it doesn’t come if you don’t believe, and by believe, I mean, your life wrapped in the person of Jesus Christ. That you believe in His Lordship and have repented of your sins. You can’t come to God through Jesus and expect a promise to be answered when you’re in Sin… it doesn’t operate that way. The more so ask of anyone to pray for you or pray for anyone, you are wasting your time. “Whoever believes in me” He said “and I will do”. But this can be a separate discussion on itself, so, this is it for now… and I pray, that this make sense to you and may God bless you!