John 1:16 - Celebrating Thanksgiving at the Source
From the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another.John 1:16
Maybe you've been to "The Source." It's an electronics store with a good name, because everyone knows if you really want to find something, and you need the guarantee of good quality, you have to go back to the source.
That's a core idea in John 1:16. What's the origin of every blessing we have? The food and drink, the opportunities for employment and leisure, the family and friends, the gospel and salvation itself – where has it all come from? John tells us plainly, "From the fullness of his grace we have all received." That's "the Source." We go to the God who is full of grace! Grace is his character. So he wants to show us his good will, and he delights in blessing us. And there's nothing lacking about it. Notice how John says two times that God's grace is "full" (vv. 14, 16). He's never a cheapskate when dealing with his people, but our God is a source of blessing that constantly pours forth.
In our verse John says literally: "From his fullness, we have received grace in exchange for grace." It's a picture of God not just heaping up a big pile of blessings, one on top of the next, like pancakes on Saturday morning. That would be good, but this is even better: God giving one blessing, and then giving another blessing to take its place, a fresh one, brand new: "One blessing after another."
Compare it to the waves of the ocean. If you're standing on shore, you see wave after wave rolling in. They rise out of the depths, and they just keep on coming. Yet they never accumulate. There's no pile of waves on the shore, because the waves are always new – one replaces another. So it is with God's grace. The grace keeps coming, but you never run out of room for it, and there's never a pile too high. Because his blessings are always fresh. His mercies are always new. We keep needing and he keeps giving.
There come times in life when we wonder where God's blessings have gone. We seem to hit a dry spell, where his gifts seem few and far between. But then we ought to have our eyes open. His grace might take the form of just a small blessing, but where there's one, there's sure to be another rolling in soon. One blessing from God is a promise that the next isn't far behind! We see it as a proof that God will keep on giving.
Then we remember the reason: it's all because of his Son. Without Christ, "the Source" would never have had its grand opening. But he's thrown wide open the doors of God's grace. Through him we've gone from being the enemies of the LORD, to being his sons and daughters. As John says about Jesus,
To all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.John 1:12
For the sake of the Son, we may now call the Almighty God our heavenly Father!
And what does a gracious Father do but pour out gifts on his beloved? What does a good Father do but show generosity to his children? We've become God's own family members, his little ones gathered in his holy house. So the Father welcomes us, invites us in for a lavish Thanksgiving feast – it's a feast on Christ, eating the Bread of life, drinking the cup of blessing, being filled to overflowing.
Maybe you're in need today or maybe you have plenty, but let's all go to God through the Son. Maybe you're in trouble or maybe you're at peace, but let's all learn to trust the Father with our lives. Let's expect that all good things come from him, and him alone.
Then there's just one question that remains: What do we do with all these good things that the Father has given? If you're thankful to God for the fullness of his grace, it'll show! So has God's grace turned you into a gracious person? Has your thankfulness to God made other people thankful for you? Has your life been a testimony to the life we have in Christ?
Remember, that's what it's all for. Each and every blessing is meant to draw us closer to our Saviour. Each and every blessing is meant to fill us with praise for the Lord. Each and every blessing is meant to equip and sustain us in following Christ. To God be our thanksgiving, now and forever!