"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 bore witness about him, and cried out, "This was he of whom I said, 'He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.' ") For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace." - John 1:14-16 ESV
What a great statement that gives us insight into the incarnation! John chapter 1 is an amazing chapter.
What caught my eye this morning was the phrase, 'He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.' What an honorable way to think. People who came before us 'rank' before us.
John knows that Jesus is eternal but what about the others that came before us? Do we know more? Are we of a higher rank because we stand on their shoulders? John the Babtist would say that they rank before us also because he was a humble man.
We have a Bible in our hands. Most of the 2,000 years of Christianity did not have this privileged and yet I say we rank lower not higher.
I rank lower than my father and his generation. Does this mean we do what they said without question? No, It means we have honor in our hearts for those that came before and sacrificed so that we can have what we have now.
"Honor your father and mother" (this is the first commandment with a promise)," - Ephesians 6:2 ESV
This commandment has a benefit built into it. It is a promise that reaps a dividend if it is observed. A generation that honors will raise up one that will return to those values also.
Jesus came before me. He came before all of us.
"And if you call on him as Father who judges impartially according to each one's deeds, conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile, knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot. He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was made manifest in the last times for the sake of you" - 1 Peter 1:17-20 ESV
He is older than the world. He is eternal. His age does not tarnish Him. He has glory. Our honor for Him transcends the honor of time and space.
I don't want to be familiar with Him or with you. I don't want to walk around thinking I know more than Him or you. If I have any authority I want it to be His and not mine. Grace words are backed by a kingdom that has been new for a very long time. It was new from the first sunrise and it is new now.
Lord, Fill our hearts with honor. John the Baptist was a great person because he recognized greatness. Make us people that see greatness in those who have come before us and those who stand by our side now. Thank you God for people who have walked by faith long before we ever recognized You. Thank you God.
Our honor speaks loudly to the credibility of what we say. A sober person will hear what is said in honor and receive it as weighty. It is good to remember that if we want to reach people with the truth that has been given to us.