May 14 2017
It’s uncanny. You used to know a person years ago who has since died. Now you meet that person’s son or daughter and you could swear that there has been a resurrection from the dead in that the person you are now looking at is so much like the parent used to look like at the same age. If someone who did not know the parent asks what he or she looked like you only have to tell them to look at so-and-so, the son or daughter, and they will know exactly what the parent looked like. If someone wants to know what God is like, we tell them to look at Jesus. They can’t literally look at Jesus but they can get the picture if they read the New Testament, especially the Gospels. Like the disciple Philip in John 14:8, people say, “Show us the Father.” Then we remember what Jesus said to him, “Whoever has seen me has seen the Father.” If you know what Jesus is like you know what God is like. Then comes a shock. The mental image that most people have when the word God is mentioned doesn’t look like that. Their God is all pomp and power. Far way. Manipulating strings, but uninvolved in the ordinary confusion of daily life. The Father that Jesus reflected is characterised by costly love, very much involved in the rough and tumble of human life. Where else would you find God reflected in the grizzly event of a crucifixion? The revelation that comes through Jesus’ death and resurrection is unique. But the remarkable thing is that this down-to-earth God turns out to be more powerful than all the dictatorial Gods that people believe in. The costly love that we see in Jesus is a reflection of the love that creates the universe and every universe that there is. The Creator creates out of costly love so self-giving love defines the way that we are called to live.
- Who can you think of that looks very much like their parents?
- What is distinctive about God as revealed by Jesus?
- Philip asked Jesus to make God visible, saying that’s all we need (John 14:8), yet he didn’t see God in Jesus. Why do you think he was unable to see the Father in the Son?
- What (in Acts 7:55) does it mean for Jesus to be standing at the right hand of God?