15 John testified about him, crying out, “This is the one of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me is greater than me because he existed before me.’”
16 From his fullness we have all received grace upon grace;
17 as the Law was given through Moses,
so grace and truth came into being through Jesus Christ.
Christians believe that the origin of all goodness, the origin of all grace and truth and love, is in God. This only makes sense, because God created everything to begin with.
And the writer of John makes it clear: when he is talking about God, he is talking about Jesus, too. To this gospel writer, you cannot talk about the Father without talking about the Son. And so for John, it only makes sense to say that it’s from the fullness of Christ that we all receive “grace upon grace.”
Grace is a gift – never deserved, never earned, but bestowed as a blessing. Grace in the New Testament functions as a catch-all term that can cover a million different things – joy, kindness, mercy, favor, forgiveness, peace, love, even the capacity to serve – but it always points to a gift of God.
These gifts come from the fullness of Christ – who never runs out of gifts to give. In fact, that word we translate “upon” above might more literally be translated “in place of.” In other words, we receive grace in place of grace, or grace on grace on grace, or grace after grace after grace. The gifts just keep piling up around us, one upon another, given from the fullness of all Christ is in our lives: Savior, Guide, Redeemer, Friend…
Jesus never runs out of gifts for us, because the source is in God, the origin of every good thing – grace, and truth, and love.
By Joe Monahan
For Pondering & Prayer
Take a few minutes to make a list of five blessings you received at difficult times in your life. How were these things expressions of Christ’s grace toward you?
Prayer: Holy God, how can we ever thank you for all your gifts to us? Help us today to see how your blessings stack one upon another, until we are surrounded by your grace. Amen.