God’s “one and only”
He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God—children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God. 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. (John testified concerning him. He cried out, saying, “This is the one I spoke about when I said, ‘He who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’”) Out of his fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known.
(John 1:10-18 NIV)
Here we see that in coming into the world, Jesus addressed two problems: our inability to recognize God and our inability to receive God. In John 1:1 the apostle John makes it clear that Jesus, “the Word,” is God. Being the Son of the Father, he is the “one and only” (v.18) who for all eternity has lived in a relationship of recognizing and receiving the Triune life.
God wills that all humanity share in the life of loving communion enjoyed by the Son with the Father and the Spirit. Humanity’s fall from trusting God has led to our pervasive blindness and rejection of him. The Father sent the Son in the Spirit to restore our sight so we can receive the life he is and has for us. It’s this coming of God, in Christ, into the world via the Incarnation that we celebrate at Advent-Christmas. By becoming human in the person of Jesus, God the Son has made the Father known.
Jesus Christ is fully God and fully human—God in the flesh. By becoming human, he revealed to us the grace and truth of God, for Jesus is the full revelation of the Father and in him we see that God is grace and truth from start to finish.
This is the truth of who Jesus is and thus who God is—“If you have seen me,” said Jesus, “you have seen the Father.” Only Jesus can show us who his Father is. John leaves no loopholes or ambiguities in his statement that, “No one has ever seen God.” Jesus alone is “in the bosom of the Father” (v, 18 ASV) and therefore, with the Spirit, has a unique, intimate knowledge of him.
The good news of Christmas is that Jesus, through the Spirit, has taken us into his own “bosom” and there restored us to the relationship he has with his Father and ours. As we grow in our trust in Jesus, our eyes continue to see more clearly who God is, and we are able to receive the life he holds out to us. We recognize and receive the glorious truth that the Father has made each and every one of us his beloved children in Jesus.
And that is what we celebrate at Christmas!
Study by Lance McKinnon.
First published on 3 November 2016 in GCI Equipper Sermon summary: God’s “one and only” – GCI Equipper
About the writer
Lance McKinnon is a minister in Grace Communion International and pastor of Dallas, GA, congregation, USA.
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