16 For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. 17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.
“Grace upon grace.” Isn’t it list upon list?
For years, Advent meant list-making—lists of gift ideas, lists of household chores, lists of recipes, list of groceries, lists of crafts & decorating supplies… help!
Advent came to mean the time of year when I took on what felt like a part time job for which I did not apply, was not qualified and did not get paid—in fact, I was PAYING to do it! Merry Christmas!
“Grace upon grace.” The Amplified Version of the Bible says, “…we have all received grace upon grace [spiritual blessing upon spiritual blessing, favor upon favor, and gift heaped upon gift.] For the Law was given through Moses, but grace [the unearned, undeserved favor of God] and truth came through Jesus Christ.
Rather than being overwhelmed by lists of things to add to an already full schedule, I am being offered a heap of gifts! In God’s grace, He gave lists of things to do and to avoid doing, in part, to show the same hopeless reality of a list-driven Advent—WE CAN’T DO IT ALL PERFECTLY!
And then came Jesus. “Look! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” shouted John the Baptist upon finally seeing the One to whom he had been pointing. The unearned, undeserved favor of God came to earth as Jesus, who lived a perfect life and died a brutal death so that even people-pleasing list makers like me might be heaped with gifts—true peace, hope, joy, belonging and more.
Father, thank you for breaking into this harried season with your grace. When we’re tempted to make this time about our perfect completion of lists, help us see and enjoy the heap of better gifts you offer. In Jesus’s name we pray. Amen.
15 (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.’”) 16 For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. 17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known.
19 And this is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, “Who are you?” 20 He confessed, and did not deny, but confessed, “I am not the Christ.” 21 And they asked him, “What then? Are you Elijah?” He said, “I am not.” “Are you the Prophet?” And he answered, “No.” 22 So they said to him, “Who are you? We need to give an answer to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?” 23 He said, “I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness, ‘Make straightthe way of the Lord,’ as the prophet Isaiah said.”
24 (Now they had been sent from the Pharisees.) 25 They asked him, “Then why are you baptizing, if you are neither the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?” 26 John answered them, “I baptize with water, but among you stands one you do not know, 27 even he who comes after me, the strap of whose sandal I am not worthy to untie.” 28 These things took place in Bethany across the Jordan, where John was baptizing.
29 The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!