The law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. John 1:17
The fact that this man had been suffering for 38 years would surely have brought to mind for any thinking Jewish readers, and for anyone familiar with the Old Testament, another story about languishing in frustration for 38 years.
Moses led God’s people to the edge of the Promised Land. They sent out spies who came back with a report that there were giants in the land but it was flowing with milk and honey. Caleb and Joshua made the case that God was with his people, and that he would give them the ability to possess the land, but the majority felt that God’s people were not strong enough to take the land.
So the people turned back and wandered in the desert, without strength, without hope, and without faith. How long did that go on? “And the time from our leaving Kadesh-barnea until we crossed the brook Zered was thirty-eight years…” (Dt. 2:14).
The wandering and frustration lasted 38 years! And they never got in. Moses got a glimpse of the Promised Land, but even he died in the desert. The law gives you a view of the blessed life that God calls you to lead. But only Jesus can bring you into that life. That is what he came into the world to do.
Here is the difference between Jesus and the law: The law tells you what to do, but it can’t give you the power to do it. Jesus tells you what to do, and he gives you the power to do it. That is where strength, hope, and faith begin. It begins because the Son of God has come. It does not begin in us. It begins in him.
Which one do you think is better—law or grace? Why?