We have over the past several posts sought to gain, in some sense, a better insight into the nature of God, the Creator of the universe and Ruler over it all. But how can mere man in a few words hope to describe the most awesome Being in all existence. How can we as mere time-bound, death-destined, finite beings grasp the significance of the unlimited, immortal, all-wise God?
God has always been aware of the difficulty we face in our attempts to know Him. He has always revealed Himself in various ways to men and in ways that the human race was prepared to receive the knowledge of His infinite nature.
Difficulties still exist so far as we as human beings are concerned. It is not easy to know the One who is incomprehensible. But we can know much more of Him than perhaps we ever thought possible. How? We have a “picture” of Him!
It is the most vivid, high-definition, true-to-the-higher-life “picture” we can imagine. When we wish to know more of God all we have to do is look at Jesus. In Hebrews 1:3 we are told that He is the…
“perfect copy,” (ERV), or…
“the exact imprint” of God’s nature (ESV), who…
“shows exactly what God is like,” (EXB), and is the…
“flawless expression of the nature of God” (PHILLIPS).
Therefore, if one wants to know God he must come to know Jesus.When one looks at Jesus he is looking at God.
Fortunately we have four different versions of His story (the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) told by four different men. His is a story witnessed by hundreds of people while He lived on earth. It is a story they told over and over again – a story they believed with all their hearts – a story they gave their lives to and for. Theirs is the story that is meant to be the basis of our faith. It is the story that is the “good news” of God’s love for man as seen in the person of Jesus of Nazareth.
The people who tell us his story lived with Him. They thoroughly researched the things they wrote, and to assure the accuracy of the story they told, they were guided by the Holy Spirit.
“But,” someone will say, “this is the story of a man!”
That is exactly right. But He was more than just a man. He was God made flesh for the very purpose of revealing God to man so that man might know God in His perfection. He was God who came near to man in order to make it possible that human beings might come near to God.
He did this, not by some awesome, spectacular display of power, but through the lowliest act of submission that anyone has ever experienced. He “humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” (Philippians 2:8).
The picture of Jesus on the cross is a true picture of God. It sums up all that God is and all that He has done.
By demonstrating the love that, more than anything else, characterizes His true essence. “God is love,” John said.
How did Jesus demonstrate the love of God while He walked the earth?
He fed the hungry.
He calmed a storm and walked on water.
He healed the sick, the blind, the lame.
He associated with the people who needed Him most, the sinners, tax collectors and prostitutes.
He went to parties and weddings and rejoiced with those who were rejoicing.
He went to the family of a friend who had died and wept with those who were weeping.
He taught people the truth about God, using parables, object lessons and conversational style as well as discourse.
He showed mercy instead of judgment by not condemning a sinful woman.
He loved people like no one had ever loved before and in this became the example for our own lives.
He forgave people of their sins – even a thief hanging on a cross beside Him.
He died for our sins – yours and mine – so that we might be forgiven of them all.
He rose from the dead proving Himself to be the Son of God and Lord of all.
And all of this was the supreme demonstration of the love and grace of God.
Yes, He did rebuke people. But these were the self-righteous, judgmental, legalistic Pharisees and the liberal, compromising Sadducees who refused to believe in Him.
Yes, He did speak of people being consigned to outer darkness where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. But it was those who had no compassion for their fellow man in his suffering and need. It was for those who were not like Himself – those who were not demonstrating the likeness of God in their lives.
And by doing all these things he was showing what God is like. This was God doing these things.
And in doing all these things He was holding up that picture of Himself so that we in looking at it might become more and more transformed into copies of Himself.
That is why we need to know Jesus. We must know Him in order to know God and we must know Him in order to know what we are supposed to be as human beings.
Co-authored with Bill Van Dyke, Ph.D, Give Me Liberty: Restoring the Spirit of Jubilee examines the mission of Christ as viewed from the fulfillment of Jubilee and how legalism robs the church community of the joy Jubilee brings.
A Better Way is an exploration and critique of the traditional method of determining Bible authority and suggestions for a better approach to understanding the Bible.