Grace and truth were realized through Jesus. John 1:15-18.

 “In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.” (John 1:4-5 NASB)

Some need to know information.

As I pointed out in a previous post, when you begin reading the gospel of John, you need to keep it straight in your mind who the passage is referring to. In verse four above, John is speaking about Jesus, but we only know that because of the definitions John gives us. In verse 15 below, John, the baptizer, tells people about Him. The Him, in this instance, is Jesus.

If you were to watch the series “The Chosen,” you would notice that it takes liberties with what we understand about Jesus; they have to as they merge several months of Jesus’ three-year ministry into a show that lasts a little over an hour each week.

When Mary came to Elizabeth, John the Baptizer was a four-month-old fetus, and he leaped in her womb. We were told that John received the Holy Spirit at this point, but there is nothing to substantiate that assertion.

“When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. And she cried out with a loud voice and said, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! “And how has it happened to me that the mother of my Lord would come to me? “For behold, when the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby leaped in my womb for joy.”
(Luke 1:41-44 NASB)

So John is only a few months older than his step-cousin Jesus, and yet John eventually makes this extraordinary declaration about Jesus.

“John told people about him. He said loudly, “This is the one I was talking about when I said, ‘The one who is coming after me is greater than I am because he was living before I was even born.’”
John 1:15 ERV)

The NASB used the word “testified” to indicate how John spoke to those who came to hear him. Testify is the Greek word marturéō, meaning to bear witness to the truth of what one has seen, heard, or knows. The series “The Chosen” portrayed John as being rather direct and outspoken. For someone of this character to be loud would not surprise me.

“But when he (John the Baptist) saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming for baptism, he said to them, “You brood of vipers, who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?”
Matthew 3:7 NASB)

If these religious rulers were coming to John, submitting to the baptism that he was performing, then they apparently did not see him as a joke or some animated but entertaining radical.

Doesn’t it make you wonder what this baptism represented to them?

It should be because Jesus submitted to John’s baptism, and the oddity of Jesus indicating that he was fulfilling the law. In all my years of warming a seat in church, I never heard of or saw baptisms in the Old Testament.

Then Jesus *arrived from Galilee at the Jordan coming to John, to be baptized by him. But John tried to prevent Him, saying, “I have need to be baptized by You, and do You come to me?” But Jesus answering said to him, “Permit it at this time; for in this way it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he *permitted Him.”
Matthew 3:13-15 NASB)

So, what was Jesus talking about?

It might be best to back up to an explanation of why John was baptizing.

John also was baptizing in Aenon near Salim, because there was much water there; and people were coming and were being baptized–for John had not yet been thrown into prison. Therefore there arose a discussion on the part of John’s disciples with a Jew about purification.” (John 3:23-25 NASB)

The passage tells us that John was baptizing. This is the Greek word baptizo and means to immerse, submerge, or saturate. The first two options tend to indicate that there was a complete submersion. The general idea was that submersion was a rite of purification, a cleansing of the heart from sin. A huge clue comes from John 3:25, where John’s disciples were having a “discussion with a Jew about purification. Why would Luke bring this up, adding this conversation into the context, unless it carries some weight in the discussion?

Purification is the Greek word katharismós, and “it actually refers to the process of purificationthe sacrifice of purification.” (WSD)

Interesting how our life in Christ is based upon faith in Jesus Christ alone. Everything beyond that could potentially fall into the category of works. If I were to try to understand the statement “the process of purification,” I might do well to perceive this as part of the sanctification process. I am always reminded of the thief on the cross. He was afforded no water immersion, nor did he go through some over-embellished sanctification class, and yet what did Jesus reply to the man? This day you will be with me in paradise. Jesus, in those moments, sanctified the man because of the depth of his conversation, which most of us miss.

With the knowledge that Jesus was sinless (He was NOT born of tainted human blood, this is why God had to make a fertilized egg and have a virgin girl carry that egg as a surrogate.) There should have been no reason for Jesus to cleanse himself; He had no sin. (Scripture tells us this;) But, we can see that few understood or believed that He was God, God’s son, so He had to in order to quell the voices of tradition.

Baptism would have to have been pulled from the Torah and, therefore, might be a reference to Ezekiel 36:25. I include verses 24 and 26 as they create a time frame and a context, which I think applies to the Spirit of God.

For I will take you from the nations, gather you from all the lands and bring you into your own land. “Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. “Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.”
(Ezekiel 36:24-26 NASB)

Leviticus gives us several references, but they all pertain to blood, and it is a broad-spectrum cleansing. One in particular, Leviticus 14:5-7, conveys that they were to sprinkle the blood on the “one who is to be cleansed from the leprosy and shall pronounce him clean.” I would not say that this represents why Jesus came to John.

The book of Numbers might provide the reasons Jesus got baptized.

Take the Levites from among the sons of Israel and cleanse them. “Thus you shall do to them, for their cleansing: sprinkle purifying water on them, and let them use a razor over their whole body and wash their clothes, and they will be clean.”
(Numbers 8:6-7 NASB)

In church, we rarely hear that Jesus was of the lineage of Levi, but Luke’s gospel traces Jesus backward and, therefore, shows Him to be a descendant of Levi, one of Aaron’s relatives.

When He began His ministry, Jesus Himself was about thirty years of age, being, as was supposed, the son of Joseph, the son of Eli, the son of Matthat, the son of Levi, the son of Melchi, the son of Jannai, the son of Joseph,”
(Luke 3:23-24 NASB)

The writer of Hebrews tells us that Jesus is our high priest. A few examples of this priesthood.

Hebrews 2:17 “Therefore, He had to be made like His brethren in all things so that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.”

Hebrews 3:1 “Therefore, holy brethren, partakers of a heavenly calling, consider Jesus, the Apostle and High Priest of our confession;.”

Hebrews 4:14,15 “Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 15)For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.”

Hebrews 5:10 “…being designated by God as a high priest according to the order of Melchizedek.”

Numbers 19:13 tells us that anyone who touches a corpse.

“… and does not purify himself, defiles the tabernacle of the LORD; and that person shall be cut off from Israel. Because the water for impurity was not sprinkled on him.

So far, I do not see a direct relationship between water baptism and a release from sin, but let’s try one more.

Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity And cleanse me from my sin. For I know my transgressions, And my sin is ever before me. Against You, You only, I have sinned And done what is evil in Your sight, So that You are justified when You speak And blameless when You judge. Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, And in sin my mother conceived me. Behold, You desire truth in the innermost being, And in the hidden part You will make me know wisdom. Purify me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.”
(Psalms 51:2-7 NASB)

Psalms 51:2-7, written by David, helps to make that connection, so it may have been an Old Testament understanding that immersion with water is part of the cleansing of sins. Again, Jesus had NO sin, but the humans He had to deal with did not know that.

A few more verses that pertain to cleansing by water. Leviticus 11:32; Leviticus 12:7-8; Leviticus 13:6.

Moving on with our study of John’s gospel.

John 1:16 GNB)  “Out of the fullness of his grace he has blessed us all, giving us one blessing after another.”

The NASB reads: “For of His fullness we have all received, and grace upon grace.” This makes no sense to me.

Pastor John MacArthur says that John 1:16 “…emphasizes the superabundance of grace that has been displayed by God toward mankind…”

“For the Law was given through Moses; grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ.” John 1:17 NASB 

  • Consider the phrase, “grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ.

History tells us that John wrote this gospel between 80 and 90 A.D. That would mean that John’s memories were only 50 to 60 years old. Compare this with “the writings of Plato” (born 428, died 347 BCE) that were written over a thousand years after his death. 

  • “The ‘Clarke Plato’, the oldest manuscript (discounting papyrus fragments) for about half the dialogues of Plato, was written by John the Calligrapher in 895 CE for Arethas the deacon, originally a native of Patras, who later became archbishop of Caesarea in Cappadocia.”

Realized is the Greek word ginomai. The King James concordance indicates 456 occurrences of ginomai; 88 were translated as came, and 63 were translated as done.

Would applying the word came to John 1:17, where it says realized, make sense?

Let’s see. “grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.” It works, especially if you consider all that Jesus did for you. The cross stands out as monumental when you think about Jesus. The word done is not as effective.

If I look up the word ginomai in the Word Study Dictionary, there is an extensive listing. 

  • To come into existence;

  • to be created, to be born,

  • producedgrow, to arise, come on,

  • occur, as the phenomena of nature,

  • to be appointedconstitutedestablished,

  • to come to oneself, to recover from a trance or surprise.

The first entry in this list stands out to me, not because there was no grace in the Old Testament, but because it certainly wasn’t as notable. Paul’s writings on grace were the game changer, but you have to remember that Paul only had the Old Testament – and that was by what he retained in the synagogue and a direct revelation from Jesus that came to him on the road to Damascus or the years that he spent at the base of Mount Sinai.

grace and truth came into existence through Jesus Christ.”

I could take this literally and say there was NO grace until the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Let’s finish this dive into John’s gospel with verse 18.

No one has ever seen God; but the one and only God, in the Father’s embrace, has made Him known.” (John 1:18 TLV)

The God’s Word translation says it this way.

No one has ever seen God. God’s only Son, the one who is closest to the Father’s heart, has made him known.”

Known or explained, as the NASB conveys, is the Greek word exēgéomaiMounce Concise Greek-English Dictionary tells us that it means to be a leader; to detail, to set forth in language; to tell, narrate, recountLuk_24:35Act_10:8to make known, revealJoh_1:18Act_15:12Act_15:14Act_21:19.

The substitutionary word or phrase that best fits in John 1:18 as it tells us that Jesus has revealed the Father to us is to make known.

but the one and only God, in the Father’s embrace, has made Him known.”

Jesus said, when you have seen me, you have seen the Father. Having been raised to believe that God was an angry God, just waiting to punish me severely for my sins. Thank you, Jesus, for taking all our sins to the cross with Him, and I want to thank the producers of the Chosen as they have shown us a Jesus that can laugh, dance, and cry; because of this, I have been able to see the Father as one that can, at least, laugh and cry.

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