Divine Service II, Page 158, Lutheran Worship
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.
“The Word” is a common Bible term for Jesus. Jesus is true God. Yet, he also became flesh. He became a real man. He lived among us for 30 years. During that time he lived the perfect life that is required for people to get into heaven. His life ended when he died for our sin. He did not stay in the grave. He rose the third day in victory and with the resurrection his work was complete. Forgiveness and salvation had come to this world by God’s grace.
It has been almost 2,000 years since Jesus finished his work and John wrote these words. And still today, through faith in Jesus, he gives us credit for his perfect life. Right now God sees us as holy and pure! Right now we stand at peace with God because all our sins are forgiven. Wow! John saw Jesus do all of this. He saw the glory of salvation. He said that Jesus is full of grace. Through God’s Word we see the same thing. And that grace is ours and we are full!
After a large meal, I might say that I am full. After putting gas in my car, I might say that the car is full. But after a few hours, I am not full anymore. After a few miles, the car isn’t full anymore. But Jesus is always full of grace and as his people we are filled with his grace.
When Jesus forgave you all of your sins yesterday, he didn’t use up some of his forgiveness so that he has less to give you today. No matter how many times you have sinned or how big your sin is, Jesus is always full of grace. He has enough to cover any and every sin all the time.
Since Jesus is always full of grace, we never have to worry that some sins aren’t forgiven or that we have to wait before we can be forgiven again. Forgiveness is constant. What a joy to be able to tell the children that Jesus loves them and forgives them all the time, no matter what. That’s the most important message we’ll ever hear and that they’ll ever hear.
This year marks the 25th anniversary of the Hubble Space Telescope. Launched in 1990, the Hubble has been in orbit ever since. The Hubble is superior to earth-bound telescopes in this way: it is able to view the heavens through the pristine clarity of space.
What it has discovered about God’s creation is beyond astounding.
For example, some years ago scientists decided to concentrate the Hubble on a tiny segment of space for a long period of time. The segment of space was about the size of a dime if you were to hold a dime up to the night sky. The picture that came back contained about 5,500 points of light. Each point of light, however, was not a star. Each was a galaxy.
Based upon what the Hubble has been able to see so far, some astronomers have developed a theory on the size of the universe. The theory goes something like this. They say that the size of the actual universe may be bigger than the visible universe in the same way that the visible universe is bigger than the atom.
And yet, even the incomprehensible vastness of God’s creation is a mere curiosity in comparison to something far greater. The thing that’s far greater is God’s love for you and me in Jesus Christ.
Think of it. The God who created cascades of galaxies by the power of one command, that same God chose to become one of us. The God who dwarfs the universe he brought into existence, that same God chose to walk among us. And he did it not to humiliate us in our smallness. He did it not to demonstrate our insignificance. Rather, he did it because we needed him. He did it because we needed someone to heal our relationship with him—the relationship that our sins had ruined. He did it because we needed a Savior.
And so he came. The Creator lived a holy life on behalf of his fallen creation. Then the Creator took upon himself all of his creation’s failures and wrongs and paid for them in full on a cross. Then the Creator died. Then the Creator raised himself back to life. Now, through faith in Jesus, our relationship with our Creator is whole once again.
You and I don’t need the Hubble to fill us with humility and awe. God’s love for us in Jesus did that a long time ago.
The cry often goes out, “It’s not fair!” People use that phrase when they see others getting more or better. A co-worker gets a raise and you don’t. A classmate gets an A but cheated. The person ahead of you was going the same speed but the police officer stopped you. It’s not fair!
What about heaven? Is it fair if Jesus welcomes a believer to heaven if that person was a death bed convert? Is it fair if Jesus welcomes a murderer to heaven who has confessed his sin and his faith in Jesus as his Savior? Is it fair if such people are in heaven right alongside those who were believers their whole life?
Such is the point that Jesus is trying to get across: Heaven is heaven – and it’s a gift from the gracious giver. Heaven is not a matter of how long one was a believer but a matter of repentance and faith in Jesus. Each and every one of us deserves the eternal death penalty, but because of God’s grace he grants eternal life to all who believe! Not only does this inspire our thanks and praise but also our rejoicing for every soul who believes! You’re right it’s not fair – it’s grace!