Saturday, April 23, 2016
The Son of the Father--by Linden Malki
As we were reading I John recently, we saw that John was adamant that if you didn't know who Jesus truly is, you will not be in the right relationship with God. And who does John say that He is:
He is the Son of God, the risen Savior (I John 4:15)
Whoever has seen Him has seen the Father (John 14:8-11)
Before Abraham was, I AM (John 8:57)
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was present with God in the beginning; through Him everything was made, and apart from Him, nothing came into being. (John 1:1-3)
This is the beginning: God said, Let Us make man in our image, after our likeness. ...God created man in His image, in the divine image He created them. (Genesis 1:26-27)
If we understand that Jesus is the Son of God, with Him since the beginning, and in charge of physical creation, it is obvious that we look like Jesus--which makes sense, as when He did take on a physical body, He looked like us. Even before His Incarnation, when God did deal personally with a human being, every indication is that he had the image of a human being. When we read of appearances of angelic beings, they are described as being different (and scarier) than we are. We read that "no one can see God and live", and He only allowed Moses a glimpse of His back; but there are many narratives of God dealing with His people in a way that was recognizably holy but but not fatal. But even then, people who knew about these appearances did not recognize Jesus when He came to redeem us.
One incident that shows Jesus as He truly is in Luke 4:13-35. Jesus joined two men who where walking from Jerusalem to the nearby village of Emmaus, and spent the afternoon talking with them about the Messiah. We are told that they were prevented from recognizing Him until He broke bread with them . (I found it interesting that in practically every illustration I found of this incident, Jesus is totally recognizable, even though part of the point of the story is that He wasn't.) But He was in teaching mode: "Beginning with Moses and all the prophets, He interpreted for them every passage of Scripture which referred to Him." They needed to know that He was part of God's story from the beginning!
The other time in the New Testament that Jesus made an appearance similar to the Old Testament experiences was Saul/Paul on the Damascus Road. There are other stories in the subsequent history of the church where people had experienced the presence of God in Jesus. We need to know that Jesus did not just drop into history at one point and then drop out again 30 years later. He has always been a physical manifestation of God and His work in creation, and He is the answer to how we know God.