Grace Embodied

If you were to think about the most gracious person you know, a smile may come across your face as you scan the recesses of your memory to consider favour that you have received. Next, if you were to search your mind for the ways that God has bestowed grace on you, you will find that the grace from mankind is only a strand of light compared to the blazing illumination of God’s grace. The foundation of grace toward mankind from eternity is the grace embodied in the Lord Jesus. We can observe this by parachuting into recorded instances of the life of the Lord Jesus.

Incarnation of Grace (John 1:14,16-18)

There are only a handful of references to grace specifically in the gospels, the majority clustering at the end of John’s prologue to his gospel. These verses help us to observe that this grace of God was embodied in the person of Jesus Christ at incarnation. John says, “we beheld his glory …  full of grace and truth.” As John pens his gospel, he may be thinking about how the glory that was seen in the person and life of Christ was asked to be viewed by Moses: “Shew me thy glory.” The LORD replied, “I will make all my goodness pass before thee … and will be gracious to whom I will be gracious” (Exo 33:18-19 KJV). The back of the One that Moses saw that day was Jesus Christ pre-incarnate. Yet we are able to view grace embodied, and grace upon grace – inexhaustible grace, in the face of the Lord Jesus as we view the truth that the eternal God has become a man. “Though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor” (2Co 8:9 KJV).

Words of Grace (Luke 4:18-27)

The Lord Jesus is the perfect example of what it means to “let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt” (Col 4:6 NET). He spoke gracious words to the thief on the cross, to Zacchaeus, and to many others. Yet perhaps His most gracious words were spoken in one of His first public messages in the synagogue He grew up attending. He unrolled the scroll of Isaiah to what is our 61st chapter and began to read, “The Spirit of the LORD is upon me” (Luk 4:18). He followed up by announcing, “This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears” (v21). Luke records that “all bare him witness, and wondered at the gracious words which proceeded out of his mouth” (v22 KJV).

They were gracious words because He was announcing to the people His Messiahship. They were words being spoken, not in Jerusalem but in Galilee of the Gentiles. They were words from Isaiah, which He ended abruptly mid-sentence, just before “and the day of vengeance of our God.” The Lord’s favourable year had come but the day of vengeance of God was still pending. The Lord Jesus spoke many gracious words while on earth, fulfilling Psalm 45:2, but the truth of these words in Luke 4 may be the most gracious of the Gospels: instead of humanity receiving a just recompense for their deeds, Christ had come to graciously give a spiritual release to all who were in bondage, if they would receive it. We can say, as John wrote, “And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace” (Joh 1:16 KJV).

Feet of Grace (John 4)

The Lord Jesus moved around Galilee, Judaea and the site of John’s ministry in trans-Jordan. Being the embodiment of grace, wherever the Lord went so did grace. An extraordinarily gracious stop is recorded in John 4 when the Lord Jesus stopped at Jacob’s well at Sychar in Samaria, mid-trip from Judaea into Galilee. The Lord stopped even though Samaritan worship was misguided and the Scriptures they read were purposely incomplete. There were cultural and ethnic divisions that ran deeply between Samaritans and Jews. The disciples marveled that He talked with the woman. Yet this One who told her that “salvation is of the Jews” (Joh 4:22) caused many more to proclaim, “We have heard him ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the world” (v42 KJV). Former worshippers of what they did not know at Mt. Gerizim became worshippers of the Father in spirit and truth by the movements of Grace Incarnate.

Touch of Grace (Luke 8:43-48)

Whoever the Lord Jesus touched while here on earth was touched by grace. Even those that touched Him felt this grace. This was evident in Gennesaret when many sick folks sought to touch the fringe of His garment and be healed. Yet the one who was touched by grace to the greatest degree was the woman with the discharge of blood who touched the hem of the Lord’s coat. She was unclean according to the Law because of her illness.[1] She could not be touched, but the Lord let her touch Him and thus He touched her in an irreversible way. She had no money, but the Lord freely healed her. This woman, who was untouchable by the Law which came by Moses, touched the Lord’s garment and was healed by the One who embodies grace.

Heart of Grace (2 Corinthians 8:9)

The Lord performed exceptionally gracious works while upon earth. Whether it was revealing His glory to the eye of faith by turning water into wine in Cana or any other miracle, every work of the Lord was gracious. Yet examining grace embodied in the life of Christ would be incomplete without considering the work and person of the cross. There is a sense that in taking upon Himself humanity, the Lord Jesus became poor for our sakes, yet without the poverty He experienced in dark hours at Calvary, we would never have become rich. Through the man who is the embodiment of grace upon the cross we have received eternal blessings of salvation, sonship, family relationship, reconciliation, and much more. As the psalmist said, and as we can attest, “He raises the poor from the dirt, and lifts up the needy from the garbage pile, that he might seat him with princes, with the princes of his people” (Psa 113:7-8 NET).  In the future day of eternity when we look into the face of the embodiment of grace and review the grace that He has shown and continues to show us, it will effortlessly cause us to marvel and worship Him.

[1] See Leviticus 15:19-27.