“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
Grace and truth. That is Jesus. Filled with truth. Filled with grace. How often do we present Jesus to others without both of those? How often do we present a Jesus full of truth without grace? Or vice versa? Jesus is both those things and his entire ministry was both truth-filled and gracious. Certainly Jesus was full of truth when He called others to follow Him. He didn’t hide anything. He told them up front what was to be expected. They would be hated, persecuted, ridiculed, and even killed (Mt 10:22, Mk 13:13, Lk 21:17). Martyrdom should not have come as a surprise to any of them. Jesus also didn’t soften the truth when He called individuals to give up everything to follow Him. Would the rich young ruler say that Jesus wasn’t truthful (Mt 19:16-22, Mk 10:17-27)? He told his disciples that they would have to be willing to leave family, friends, children, and possessions to follow Him (Lk 14:26). Did He hide anything from us to soften the demands of discipleship? Absolutely not. He was full of truth.
But Jesus was also full of grace. He knew that the demands He was making were completely outside of our human capability to meet (Mt 19:26). He knew that we were far to weak to make it on our own. He knew that, without help, we would all die in our sins and perish. So, along with these demands, He graciously offers to meet them for us. In Matthew 19:26, after speaking to the rich young ruler, Peter asks what hope His followers have if this man couldn’t receive eternal life. What does Jesus say? He tells Peter that although this is impossible for man to do, God can do the impossible. In other words, Jesus knows we can’t save ourselves, but God will do what we cannot do. In another passage He graciously offers rest to those who are burdened by the weight of sin and guilt that they cannot remove from themselves (Mt 11:28). And ultimately Jesus will display pure grace when He steps into the place of sinners and is sacrificed on a cross to do for us what we could not do for ourselves.
So when we tell others about Jesus, let us remember to share the whole story. Share both truth and grace. Don’t stop with just truth and leave people wallowing in the impossibility of human righteousness. Also offer them the grace that is a gift of God to rescue them in their utter weakness. But also, don’t offer a grace that doesn’t show them the truth of their situation and the truth of their sin. Both were found in Jesus and both we must share with the world.