As a journalist, it is not often I find myself at a loss for adequate words.
Examining the portrait of Jesus painted by John in the first chapter of his gospel, though, leaves me in just that place.
I mean, on the best of days, I look in the mirror and realize how little I have to offer the Creator of the universe. When I look at the mess inside me in the light of who He is, the Word made flesh, often I just want to shrink from Him. There are days when I feel little more than just a pile of rancid rags before Him.
John tells us about a divine King who became a human being, who came to his people, knowing he would be rejected, but came to love them anyway.
When acknowledging Jesus to the crowds, John the Baptist said, “among you stands one you do not know, even he who comes after me, the strap of whose sandal I am not worthy to untie.” (John 1:26b-27)
I can relate to that thought. Even as I try to write this, in my frailty I feel so unqualified to try to put into words who Jesus is, and what His love means. But maybe, just maybe, this is exactly the point of the whole chapter, and the picture John is trying to paint.
His grace has absolutely nothing to do with who we are, and everything to do with who He is. And this is the sheer beauty of it. Despite our frailties and our messes, His heart longs for us, and His love is extended to us.
“For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ,” John tells us in verses 16 and 17.
In other words, His love made a way for us to the Father, when we had no way or claim to Him on our own, because His love held absolutely nothing back in His pursuit of us.
John shows us a picture of a Creator King who gave up His throne to become a servant and a sacrifice for a rebellious and fallen world, all to restore and return our wayward hearts back to our Father.
In His Holiness, He willingly paid the price that I, in my mess, never could. The thought brings me to my knees, and drives me to tears.
“But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.” (John 1:11-12)
He gave up his rightful place, suffered and died, just so I could once again be called His child. It’s a love, in human terms, I cannot even imagine.
This truth of Jesus, this immaculate portrait, is at the same time simple and profound, one my words could never do justice.
So go to the source. Let His word paint the portrait for you, and just let it wash over you.
The picture of the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world.
Daniel Kiewel is a reporter with the Great Bend Tribune. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.