John 1:16-20
John 1:16 (KJB)
And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace.
Fulness - That which makes something complete or abundance
Verse 16 carries with it the stream from verse 14 concerning the fullness of grace and truth in Christ. That fulness has been given to every believer through salvation and then through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. (Eph 1:3 KJV) Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: Eph. 1:3 states that we have been blessed with all spiritual blessings in Christ and that not one spiritual blessing has been withheld from us. As John 1:16 states, we have received grace for grace, that is, grace completely pervades the life of every true believer. We go from grace to grace in every situation in life. This is why the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ is so complete because it makes complete every aspect of the life of the believer. A believer may lack understanding and grace covers it or a believer may lack wisdom and grace will cover it. Grace is the overall definition of the believer’s life.
John 1:17 (KJB)
For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.
Here John is making a quick comparison between the Law and Grace. Although the Lord Jesus Christ was the great I Am of Sinai, He sent forth the law through Moses but when it came to grace and truth, the Lord Jesus Christ Himself was the one who came to earth and through His own sacrifice, gave them to His children. Now this is not to say that the law is not truth but this verse is telling us that the law was different from grace because under the law, no one could become saved. The law revealed sin in the lives of every person. It was not designed to bring a person to salvation but to the revelation of sin. The second half of this verse speaks of grace and truth. Salvation comes only by grace through the Lord Jesus Christ who is the truth. Moses brought the truth of the law but Christ is the truth behind salvation. No one can be saved apart from Christ. All of the past types such as the animal sacrifices, the tabernacle, the temple, and even the many foreshadows of Christ such as Joseph or Moses, were representing the truth who was to come and that truth is the Lord Jesus Christ, the great anti-type. Remember when Christ stood before Pilate and Pilate asked one of the great questions of all time, “ what is truth?” Truth was standing right before him and because he was unsaved, he could not realize who it was that was standing there. It is the same today that all unbelievers do not know who Christ is, they may admire Him for being kind, for healing, or even being a good teacher but these things were only emanations from who He was, Truth personified.
John 1:18 (KJB)
No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.
Hath seen - Look upon or behold
Declared - Told or explained
This is a very important verse for any believer. Whenever a solid case is made in court, the base of the case is an eyewitness. This verse teaches us that Jesus came from the Father and declared Him to all His children. The world does not understand who God is because unbelievers do not possess the Son and the Holy Spirit. (1 John 2:23 KJV) Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father: (but) he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also. The world looks at God and accuses Christianity of being a slaughterhouse religion or God is accused of not being good any time there is some type of tragedy. What this verse is telling the Christian, is that Jesus was in the bosom of the Father, which means, He has, not had, notice the wording, the most intimate relationship with His Father and part of the ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ is to reveal truth about the Father. The world sees God in a wrong way and many world religions make up their own ideas about God, and many of the false religions replace the true God with idols such as in Hinduism or Buddhism.
John also tells us that no man has ever seen God at any time. This is important to know because God is being merciful. If anyone would see Him in all His glory, they would be consumed in a second. In the book of Revelation, John meets Jesus, whom he walked with on earth, and an amazing thing happened. (Rev 1:17 KJV) And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last: John fell at the feet of Jesus as if he was dead. If that is the response of seeing Jesus in all His heavenly glory, can you imagine what would happen if one saw God or Jesus without being qualified to do so? Man is very biased and he would not be able to describe or even tell of the attributes of God and that is why the Lord Jesus Christ, who has the most intimate knowledge, is the most qualified to declare to His children the real Father and not one that is fabricated by a false religion or biased teacher. This is why John 1:18 is one of the most important truths for the believer because it lays the foundation for a true understanding of the Father. This is why on the Mount of Transfiguration God the Father commanded Peter, James, and John to hear only Jesus. (Mat 17:5 KJV) While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him. We hear Him because truth comes from Christ and He gives that truth to us.
John 1:19 (KJB)
And this is the record of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, Who art thou?
Record - Witness
Whenever a true work of God begins, one of the first events to follow is the investigation of it by false religions. When John the Baptist began his ministry in the Jordan river, the Jewish leaders had heard about it and immediately dispatched Priests and Levites to find out what was going on. This was the first prophet since the time of Malachi which was about 470 years ago. They wanted to know if another prophet had arisen in the land. Even though they were steeped in false religion, they still knew that a messiah was coming and they had hoped it would have been one like Joshua to throw off the yoke of Rome. The first question that John was faced with was “who art thou?” They wanted to know if he was just another false prophet or false preacher or if something was beginning to develop.
John 1:20 (KJB)
And he confessed, and denied not; but confessed, I am not the Christ.
Confessed - Acknowledge, professed, or admitted
No doubt, the first question on the mind of the emissaries was could this man be the promised Messiah? So that would have been posed to John immediately. So John, to emphasize his point, twice confessed to them that he was not the Christ. He also did not deny something. He did not deny that he was the forerunner for the Christ. In fact, he may have been cognizant to the fact that he was the fulfillment of Malachi 4:5. (Mal 4:5 KJV) Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD: He denied being the Christ but did not deny his own ministry.