And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:14)
The word ‘full’ is on our radar today. There is an ambiguity. Fullness could be predicated here of the Word, the glory or even of ‘his’. There is no ambiguity in the end however as no matter how we resolve the grammatical question it is Jesus who is being described as being full: full of grace and truth.
A Gospel of Fullnes
There are a number of ‘full’ moments in this Gospel. In John 2 water jars are filled to the brim before their contents are changed into wine in Jesus’s first sign. John the Baptist, as witness, declares that his joy is as complete as when the bridegroom’s friend, rejoicing at the hears voice of the bridegroom (Jn 3:29). Further, in John 3, Jesus is described as being the recipient of fullness himself as John says that he has been given the Spirit without measure and can therefore be the revealer of heavenly things (v 34). In turn—presumably out of this fullness—Jesus himself can be the giver of the Spirit to his followers (Jn 7:37-39). In John 6, twelve baskets are filled with leftovers from the feeding of a crowd of 5000. In John 10:10 Jesus promises abundance, an overflow, fullness, of life for his sheep. In John 17:13 Jesus speaks of his having come so that his disciples might have a fullness of joy amongst themselves. And in John 21 a net full of fish is dragged into the boat by the disciples following the Lord’s command and an otherwise fruitless night’s fishing.
There is a fullness, an abundance, an overflow associated with the ministry of Jesus. The revelation he provides of the Father is full and complete. The result of his mission is a fullness, an abundance, an overflow even, of life and joy.
Jesus: Full and Filling
Paul picks up the theme of fullness, most notably in Colossians where Jesus is described as the one in whom the fullness of the deity lives (1:19, 2:9) followed by the assurance to the believing reader that they too have been filled (2:9). In Ephesians, Paul describes the goal of Christian maturity as measured by the fullness of Christ (Eph 4:13) and prays for an apprehension of the love that God has for them in order that they may be filled with the fullness of God (Eph 3:14-19).
In John 1:17 we are reminded that out of his fullness we have all received, grace after grace.
We are reminded that in the incarnation there is the fullness of the revelation of God. As the Gospel goes on it is suggested that the possibility raised by the incarnation is fullness of life and completeness of joy.
Implicitly we are exhorted to look nowhere else for all this and more.
Thanks be to God that the Word became flesh and dwelt amongst us and we beheld his glory, the glory of the unique one from the Father full of grace and truth!
Photos: (Body) Staci Flick, flickr; (Head) pexels.com