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Jesus gave us a clear picture of God’s grace

May 7, 2024

Daily Scripture

John 1:16-18

16 From his fullness we have all received grace upon grace;
17     as the Law was given through Moses,
    so grace and truth came into being through Jesus Christ.
18 No one has ever seen God.
    God the only Son,
        who is at the Father’s side,
        has made God known.

Daily Reflection & Prayer

“Like fine wine poured into a jug of water, Jesus’ wondrous message of grace gets diluted in the vessel of the church. ‘For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ,’ wrote the apostle John…. every church defends its particular version [of truth]. But what about grace? How rare to find a church competing to ‘out-grace’ its rivals.” *

John’s gospel crystallized the first Christians’ belief about Jesus. Hebrews, likely written before John’s gospel, began, “In the past, God spoke through the prophets to our ancestors in many times and many ways. In these final days, though, he spoke to us through a Son…. The Son is the light of God’s glory and the imprint of God’s being. He maintains everything with his powerful message” (Hebrews 1:1-3). And the heart of John’s message was that “we have all received grace upon grace.”

  • The first three gospels hardly used the word “grace.” Yet grace infused what Jesus did. Scholar Richard Bauckham said Jesus “saw the kingdom arriving in the sorts of things he was doing: bringing God’s healing and forgiveness into the lives of people he met, reaching out to those who were pushed to the margins… gathering a community in which service replaced status. These are the sorts of things that happen when God rules.” ** How did Jesus act out grace rather than just saying it?
  • Yancey noted “a striking pattern: the more unsavory the characters, the more at ease they seemed to feel around Jesus. People like these found Jesus appealing: a Samaritan social outcast, a military officer of the tyrant Herod, a quisling tax collector, a recent hostess to seven demons.” He then asked, “What has happened to reverse the pattern of Jesus’ day? Why don’t sinners like being around us?” *** How can you, and your church, create the gracious tone Jesus did?


God, you have always wanted your human children not just to know about you, but to know you. Thank you for coming in Jesus to give me the clearest picture of your loving, forgiving heart. Amen.

GPS Insights

Picture of Denise Mersmann

Denise Mersmann

Denise Mersmann serves as the Care Coordination Director for the churchwide Care Central department at Church of the Resurrection.

Some people just seem to draw other people to them. We can think of them as “human Magnets.”

You know the ones; everyone wants to spend time with them, you feel good when you are with them, and that feeling seems to stay with you even after you are apart.

The interesting thing, however, is that the positive feelings that happen when we are around Magnets aren’t just because you are doing cool things or hanging out in fun places. Magnets have a special way of making us feel good even during tough times. So, what makes Magnets so special? Why do we seek them out? What is that magic they have that makes us all feel so good?

Thinking back to the Magnets I have known through the years, there are several similarities that come to mind.

Magnets don’t seem to identify with one group or “type” of people – they legitimately seem to enjoy being around everyone they come in contact with. Because Magnets spend time with lots of different people, they have a tendency to bring people together. A party at a Magnet’s house will include an amazingly wide range of people!

Magnets are welcoming. There is always room at their table and if there isn’t room, they scooch to make you a spot. In fact, Magnets are normally the first people to make eye contact and approach people to say “hi”. You will never be left sitting alone if there is a Magnet around.

Magnets are “real”. Their focus isn’t on impressing you or saying what you want to hear. They are honest with their feelings and push you to be open and candid as well. If a tough conversation needs to be had, a Magnet will speak hard truth to you. Because of their openness, you feel comfortable being vulnerable.

Magnets are sincerely interested in other people. They aren’t friendly because they feel obligated, but because they want to get to know you. Magnets are good listeners and when you are talking with them, you feel like what you are saying really matters.

Magnets don’t judge. Regardless of your background, beliefs, success (or lack thereof), Magnets are there for you. If you make a mistake, they are the first to forgive and move on. Magnets are always willing to give you another chance.

As I think of the qualities of a human Magnet, I find myself wondering what would happen if each of us were a little more “Magnetic”. What if we were all genuinely interested in other people, wanting to hear their stories, welcoming everyone, and making space for those who might normally be left out? What would happen if each of us focused on getting to know more people who are less like us? What if we stopped judging and started loving people who have made some bad choices? What if we were all a little more real, thinking less about impressing people and more about helping them feel good about themselves?

Can you even imagine what a world filled with Magnets would be like? In my mind, I can’t envision a more perfect place. No one would feel unloved, no one would be left out, we would all have our best selves celebrated and cherished, our worst forgiven and forgotten. It sounds exactly like a world filled with grace.

This magnetic grace-filled world is possible, but it takes each and every one of us. We each need to see and move toward the person standing alone. We must focus on other people and truly listen to their stories. We need to expand our circles, go to new places, try new things. We have to open our hearts, our minds, and our arms to embrace people – especially those we don’t know and who don’t look, talk, or think like we do.

It takes thirty days to create a habit if we consistently engage in that behavior. Let’s do it. For the next thirty days, let’s seek out strangers, hear their stories, try to understand their perspective, forgive their mistakes, and celebrate their highlights. Let us be people crammed together at a too-small table. Let us show the kind of love and grace that we can only hope others will show us. Let us all be truly magnetic people.

© 2024 Resurrection: A United Methodist Church. All Rights Reserved.
Scripture quotations are taken from The Common English Bible ©2011. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

* Yancey, Philip. What’s So Amazing About Grace? Revised and Updated (p. 39). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.
** Bauckham, Richard, Jesus: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) (p. 38). OUP Oxford. Kindle Edition.
*** Yancey, Philip, The Jesus I Never Knew (p. 147). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.