“John testifies concerning him. He cries out, saying, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’ “From the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only, who is at the Father’s side, has made him known” (John 1:15-18).
Again, I say, “Amen”. As wonderful as our love may be within our own abilities, his love surpasses it, as He came before us. He is eternal in His love. He rises above history. He rises above pain, injury and loss because he was “before”. He saw us praying in that old Valiant, walking on the beach, me forgetting your birthday, our babies being born, joys and sorrows, triumphs and defeats, giving and stealing… and said, “I have surpassed all this because I was before…”
As I think of my poor ability to trust in Him I also think of his faithfulness. Although our relationship has been often marked by the shadows of self-centeredness and blame, He has always been loyal. He has been devoted and trustworthy even when we have not. Truly from the fullness and abundance of His mercy and grace we have received one blessing upon another. What is it but His grace and our response of faith that has kept us “in love”? What is it but His mercy that calls us to rise up and love again following hurt and disappointment? What kind of favor is it that would enable us to touch each other in the deepest places of human affection? “Nothing but the blood…”
Oh that our union would be an ever greater testimony of the “truth” revealed in the love we have found in Jesus our Christ; that we would never be trapped by the rigidity of the “old man” but that His favor would be our every breath, our every heartbeat, our every word. It will be in this communion with the Christ where we will be graced to behold God and see Him in greater clarity.
“Very soon the shadow will give way to Reality. The partial will pass into the Perfect. The foretaste will lead to the Banquet. The troubled path will end in Paradise. A hundred candle-lit evenings will come to their consummation in the marriage supper of the Lamb. And this momentary marriage will be swallowed up by Life. Christ will be all and in all. And the purpose of marriage will be complete.” John Piper
Jesus, you are greater than all our sin, especially our sin of seeking greater things within our own abilities. You have taken our times of weakness and turned them into strength. May we together be reminded that You have surpassed us and that we indeed are second. “Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen” (Ephesians 3:20-21).