Posted by: Omar C. Garcia | November 16, 2008

Jesus in Two Words

Several years ago, I had the good fortune to hear Jim Herrington speak at a men’s breakfast meeting. Now, I don’t normally get excited about men’s breakfast speakers. Honestly, I have found the soggy scrambled eggs on my plate far more interesting than most of the speakers I’ve heard at these early morning bleary-eyed gatherings. But, Jim was different. He immediately commanded my attention when he challenged us to think about two words that describe Jesus — only two words! Fifty words came to mind in an instant. How could I narrow it down to only two? And, out of all of the worthy words at my disposal, what would qualify only two to stand apart from all of the others?

Jim settled the matter by directing us to the first chapter of The Gospel of John. “Out of all of the words John could have chosen to describe Jesus,” Jim said, “he chose only two.” And then he read the fourteenth verse — “And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.” I stared at the words “grace and truth” in my Bible. John had not only chosen the two words that best describe Jesus, he had put them in the correct sequence — grace and then truth. As Jim helped us to look through these twin lenses, the life of Jesus and the gospels came into sharper focus for me.

The religious leaders of Jesus’ day were undoubtedly full of truth. Their attitudes were so starched in truth that they avoided the wrinkles that result from contact with sinful humanity. Truth kept them a measured and safe distance away from publicans, prostitutes, and the hoi polloi — the masses who were distressed and downcast like sheep without a shepherd. The religious leaders could quote chapter and verse to tell you what you were doing wrong while thanking God that they were not like you (Luke 18:11). Truth never looked so ugly.

Jesus was different from the religious leaders of His day. Because He was full of grace, He stopped at a well to converse with a woman who dragged her sinful past with her every time she went to fetch water. As a result, He had the opportunity to share truth with her (John 4:1-38). Grace ushered Jesus into the home of a tax-collector named Zaccheus and gave Him the opportunity to share truth with this sinful citizen of Jericho (Luke 19:1-10). Grace rescued a woman caught in adultery and consequently made her receptive to truth (John 8:1-11). Grace allowed Jesus to interact with sinful humanity in a way the religious leaders did not understand. Truth transformed that sinful humanity in a way the religious leaders could not comprehend.

Grace and truth must work together if the world is to be open to the gospel of Jesus Christ. So, as you begin each day, determine to be like Jesus — full of grace and truth. Dare to be known as “a friend of tax-gatherers and sinners” (Matthew 11:19). Don’t let truth to keep you isolated in the holy place. Instead, allow grace to take you by the hand and introduce you to hurting people in the market-place. Determine to allow grace to make you receptive to others so that others will be receptive to the truth of the gospel.

• • • • •

PS | Take a moment to check out Jim Herrington’s Faithwalking blog.


  1. That is so awesome!

    I was approached (cornered) one day at work and asked the question in front of many about homosexuality. The question was “are they going to hell?” I guess they expected me to answer them in a way that would damn the many and also make my beliefs look poor. I thank God for what you spoke of, “Grace and Truth”. My answer was His. I told them 3 things:

    1. God loves us all the same.

    2. 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 states who shall not inherit the kingdom….and allthough I am not homosexual; I have been a liar, thief, and adulterer…..but it is by Gods grace that i am saved.

    3. Only God knows man’s heart and it is not for me to judge anyone to say who has been saved or not.

    With that I told them there was only ONE unforgiveable sin…..”Denial of Christ!” It was the coolest thing. I got to share Gods grace and truth with so many in a way that was loving…just as Jesus would.

    Seeds? I hope so. Truth? Gauranteed!!

    Thanks O

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