"And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory..."
Recall the tabernacle during the wilderness wanderings of the Israelites after their exodus from Egypt. Then, the tabernacle was the vessel for God's glory as He dwelt among the Israelites during their journey. The tabernacle was made from various materials, each having their symbolism as well as purpose. But here, here is no longer symbolism, there is no more analogy. This is the reality of those former shadows (Heb 10:1).
There is in our culture, the idea that flesh is evil, and not good. Yet, the glory of God was beheld in the form of flesh. What is glory? Even more specifically, what is His glory? There is always the idea of brightness, weight, presence. Glory. Some might think it to be about fame or credit, as we are prone to say, "He takes all the glory for himself". But that is but one aspect of the idea of glory. For throughout the old testament, glory seemed to be consistently used to represent the presence of individuals that are great, that have done great things, that are distinct in their otherness compared to us. And glory is mostly used to refer to rulers, like kings and their glory. It is also applied to men and their glory. Their presence, their legacy. It is intimately tied to their being. Where the life within them is so influential, it spills out as glory. And in contradiction to our thoughts about the evil flesh, the flesh of the Word was the vessel for His glory. How wonderful this revelation, this release, that our flesh too then, the same flesh as for the Word, has the possibility to contain or be the medium through which His glory can be known.
"...begotten of the Father..."
The Son of God. The very product of Father. One is not the Father without offspring. He would only be a being. Yet, now we have a revelation. He is the Father. First to the Word, and we will learn later, to us all who believe and have been adopted. This means that in the Word, is the essence of the Father. In the Word, the Father is seen, because His essence is at work. If God has an offspring, a true one, would that offspring not also be God? Although we are created by God, we are not true offsprings. But if one were to stem from God, He would be God as well. Not another one, but the same One. For there cannot be more than one God. By definition, there can be only One God. This is the mystery and must be deeply considered.
"...full of grace and truth."
Grace and truth! Consider the state of interpersonal values and situations that we experience. If we were to arrive at a plain summary, we might find that if there are many problems in these relationships, from the lowest to highest levels, from person-to-person, one-to-many, many-to-many, group-to-group, if there are any problems, they are due to a lack of grace and truth. Because we do not trust others, and they do not trust us, at least not completely. Because we do not show grace to others, nor are they gracious to us, again, at least not completly. But here, John states, that the Word is full of grace and truth. This cannot be repeated enough. If we are searching for truth, because of the various voices that speak in our world, we will find it in the Word. If we are looking for grace, because of the unforgiving, methodical, procedural operations of the world, we will find it in the Word. Again, contrast this to the Law. Law versus Word. The Law of Moses was written on stone, with words. Yet, here is the Word, but instead of the rigid, prescriptive tone seen in the Law, we see life, light, grace and truth. How can this be? Are they inconsistent? No. For, as it is said, all the Law and the Prophets are summed up in one commandment: love your neighbor as yourself (Rom 13:9). But we digress, in a good way.
Consider truth. What is it? It seems that John here is speaking of an absolute truth. A truth, or Truth, that everyone can regard as such. Truth that does not depend on anything. What is this? We are not given anymore detail from this verse, other than that it can be found in the Word. But we know that truth as we use the term means something that is real, that is reliable, that would apply in every situation. The concept of truth by definition would mean that whatever it is, it always is. The minute one thinks that a truth is at one time, but is not at another, it would contradict the strict meaning of truth. Truth should always be. It is as eternal as God is, as previously mentioned. And as such, might we think that then, the only real truth, is the truth of Himself. His being? Stark constrast to the current subjective truth ideas. Is truth an emergent property of collective consciousness? No. Because that would mean it depends on the collective. Is the idea of truth a product of collective consciousness? Maybe. But then who can show that it is not itself a true concept. Yet, think of the Word, and John's claim. The Word was, and is, full of truth. John simply states it with no reference to any collective idea. We must pause and consider this deeply. Is he stating an idea from the collective consciousness simply as one of the partakers? Yet, he had evidence, for all the ideas in John, John saw those ideas fulfilled in the Word. When collective ideas are fulfilled, it is a scary thing...a scary thing to the beholder, the one who realizes the fulfillment, and to those who would realize it because of the testimony of the one who witnesses.
Consider grace. What is it? As we know it, grace speaks of acceptance, approachability, beauty, fluidity. Someone defined grace as getting that which we do not deserve. In our interactions, do we not see the lack of such qualities? We are constantly trying to define ourselves in term of boundaries, personality, distinguishing ourselves from others in a struggle to be known. We are constantly wanting to get what we think we deserve, and not giving others what we think they do not. Yet the Word is full of grace. Is this not the ultimate expression of one's being, to acknowledge the being of others in the fullest possible way, that is, to consider them higher than the self. To serve them. To give to them. To accept them. And in so doing, we express ourselves in relationship to them. For if we only consider ourselves, what do we have to verify our own being with? And that relationship with others, it cannot be one of selfishness and self-obsession, the opposite of grace. For if so, we would annhilate the other, and end up with only ourselves. Which would be an unreasonable state. But of course, grace is more than this negative perspective.
Grace is positive. Just as truth is positive. Just as light is positive. There is creative power, propagation, influence, revelation, release, transformation, growth, and all these are tied to His glory. So there are two things here. Truth. Independent of everything else, having its own being. And grace. The fullest expression of that being in relation to others.