John continues his witnessing by making a very strong statement. John says that this man is the One he has been talking about in his witness. The One who shall come after Him is the One he has been preaching about in his ministry. Jesus is the one who is preferred before and existed before him. Before Abraham was, He is.
The law was given to Moses, but grace and truth has come through Jesus Christ. Nobody has seen the Father. God the Father has been manifested in the Son. Jesus was the express image of the Father. Jesus is found in the bosom of the Father. God has declared Him.
Here we gain more insight into John the Baptist’s background. He is among one of the most important persons in the New Testament. He is mentioned eighty-nine times there. We now see that John has the responsibility of introducing Jesus to the nation of Israel. Jesus came unto His own–the Jews and they did not receive Him. John 1:11. John called them to repent and prove their repentance by being baptized. They were to live changed lives after this. When they walked in their new life, they would be ready to receive Jesus. Note that the ones who repented and baptized were those who were society rejects. The harlots, those who were the low lives of that time. John called the Pharisees and Sadducees individual who were vipers. In other words, snakes. They walked in deceitfulness. They were deceptive “religionists.” Their words were sharp and biting. They had venom in their mouths. Their hearts were hardened. They did not possess the humility needed for a repented heart. Note Matthew 3:7-8. They were a “generation of vipers.” They were the offspring of poisonous snakes. John did not bite his tongue for anybody. He served God not man!
John summarizes what he just said. (John 1:15-18). Jesus is eternal John 1:15. It is noted in scripture that John was born six months ahead of Jesus. (Luke 1:36) John is presenting the pre-existence of Jesus Christ. He always is and always was from the beginning of all things. In fact, He was before all things. This is covered in the Colossians Connection. This was published earlier on this blog.
Jesus is the fullness of grace and truth (John 1:16-17). What then is grace? It is God’s favor and kindness, which is bestowed on those who do not deserve it. It cannot be earned by anybody. If God dealt with humanity according to truth alone, none of us would be accepted. We would not even survive. We are dealt with based on grace and truth. The death, burial and resurrection satisfied all the Law of Moses. God is now free to share fullness of grace with those who trust in Jesus Christ. Grace with no truth would be deceitful. Truth without grace would be condemning.
Note John 1:17. John did not suggest that there was no grace under the Law of Moses. When a person did wrong, whether it be through disobedience, faithlessness, or ignorance of the law, the penalty for sin was paid in full. This means they had to give offerings and sacrifices. These offerings and sacrifices were expressions of the grace of God. The wrongdoing done did not mean death of the individual. Instead, the law found its result in the animal sacrifices and offerings. That fullness is now found in Jesus Christ. We are not only saved by grace (Ephesians 2:8-9), but we live by grace (I Corinthians 15:20). We also depend upon God’s grace in all we do. God gives more grace. (James 4:6) What is hinted here is the fact that an entire new order came into existence. It would replace the Mosaic system.
Jesus was and is the revelation of God the Father. (John 1:18) God is invisible, and His essence is seen in Jesus Christ. (I Timothy 1:17; Hebrews 11:27. God is also revealed in nature (Psalm 19:1-6 and Romans 1:20).