How do we know who God is and what God is like? Are those things knowable? Major religions throughout history have tried to answer those questions. Here’s what the current largest religions say:
- Hinduism: Infinite number of gods and everyone can have their own that they define.
- New age: their is a higher consciousness within themselves. Each person is developing as a spiritual deity.
- Buddhism: there is no god only infinite rebirths and pursuit of perfection.
- Islam: Allah as almighty but not personal. He is both strict and harsh, only showing mercy based on good works and he is ultimately unknowable.
How about for Christians? Is Yahweh knowable? Is he a personable God? Does He want to be known? All of those questions can be answered in the person of Jesus.
He is the image of the invisible God… For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell…Colossians 1:15a&19a ESV
I and the Father are one.John 10:30 ESV
He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power…Hebrews 1:3a ESV
In those passages, Jesus is described as being the image of God, the fullness of God, the radiance of God, that He and God are one, and the exact imprint of God. Is God knowable? Yes. He reveals Himself in many different ways: a burning bush, a pillar of smoke and fire, blinding light, and a voice on the wind. But nowhere does He reveal Himself better than in the person of Jesus. How did Jesus show us Who God is? I just want to propose four aspects of God that we can know based on the life of Jesus.
#1 He Pursued People – All of His disciples He sought out. He found them where they were, when they least expected it, and He invited them to follow Him. He traveled from town to town to share God’s love and message. He intersected with specific people at specific times in their life. The woman at the well is a prime example. Or how about the man who had been lame since childhood and spent his days at the pool of Bethesda. And then there was Paul. Whether in desperation or on the wrong path, Jesus pursued people. Then He invited them into something greater than themselves. I am witness to the unfailing pursuit of God.
#2 He Demonstrated Grace – Everyone Jesus chose to spend time with was an act of grace. The very fact that Jesus came to earth to tabernacled among us is an act of grace. But He also showed immense grace to individuals all of the time. Look at the woman caught in adultery, or Mary of Magdalene. Paul proclaimed that he was chief among sinners yet look how he used him. Peter denied Christ three times, yet Jesus took Him aside to encourage and build him up. All of the disciples abandoned Him when he was arrested yet He never abandoned them or shamed them. Forgiveness and mercy are the centerpiece of Jesus’ message. He displayed it in His treatment of those during his life, He displayed it in His death, and He displayed it in His resurrection.
But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.Ephesians 2:4-5 NIV
#3 He Gave Extraordinarily – Jesus devoted His life in an all-consuming manor. He taught. He gave His wisdom so that we wouldn’t wander aimlessly in the dark. He cares that we knew truth. He wanted us to see it demonstrated and to understand the heart behind the law. He wanted to breakdown hypocrisy and destroy heartless worship and loveless rule keeping. He served. He served in every capacity. He fed people, he prayed for them, and listened to people, and He washed their feet. He showed that the greatest king is one who serves his followers and that nothing is below a servant with a pure heart. He healed. He healed people physically and emotionally. Any time and in any way we are made whole, it is a gift of grace. It’s an extraordinary act of love by the author of love. He gave His life. The ultimate act of giving was at the cost of His own life.
Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.James 1:17 NIV
#4 He Showed A Desire For Connection – One thing Jesus did a lot of was praying. He prayed so much that his disciples ask Him to teach them how. On multiple occasions, Jesus sought isolation to be in that connection. He prayed for hours at a time, sometimes all night long. He prayed to give thanks, he prayed to heal, he prayed in the good moments and in the desperate. Jesus showed us what it meant to pray without ceasing. That shows us something incredible about God’s character. He wants to be connected to you and me. He wants the intimacy that any great relationship requires. God is not distant. Even though He is Holy other, He still wants to have Holy Communion with us. God wants a relationship that is constant and connected.
In Matthew 11, Jesus says come to me. In Revelation 3, He says that He stands at the door at knocks. In John 15, Jesus says to abide in Him. In John 17, Jesus prays for that same connection for us that He has with God.
In all of these things, Jesus showed us the immense love of God. A love that pursues us. A love that constantly shows grace. A love that gives extraordinarily. And and A love that wants an intimate connection with us.
The original Greek word for Christian is “Christianos” which comes from the two Greek words “Christ and tian.” The word Christ means “anointed” and tian means “little.” So the word “Christian” literally means “little anointed ones.” If Jesus was anointed to display the character of God, so are we.
Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to GodEphesians 5:1-2 ESV
Peace in Christ brothers and sisters.