How do we know who God is?
As you consider the question, perhaps you’ll list several things. There’s a number of things you might focus on to answer that question, and all of them would probably be true to one extent or another. However, one of the things we often forget when answering this question is this:
We know who God is because Jesus showed us who God is.
“Phillip said, ‘Lord, show us the Father. That is enough for us.’ Jesus replied…’Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father!’” Jn 14:8-9
What we have in the Bible’s picture of Jesus is a picture of God himself! We know about God’s character because of the way Jesus acted. This idea is captured by the apostle John in what happens to be one of my favorite Bible verses about Christmas:
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God…The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” John 1:1,14
The Word, who was God, took on flesh and lived among us. Jesus, the One and Only, who was with the Father from the eternal beginning, put on human likeness and walked bodily in our presence for a time. Webster’s dictionary defines it this way for us:
Incarnation – (1) : the embodiment of a deity or spirit in some earthly form; (2) the union of divinity with humanity in Jesus Christ
Applying the Idea of Christmas
Now, what does this have to do with us this Christmas? The incarnation of Christ, when God the One and Only was revealed to the world through flesh, is normally just something we think about at Christmas, true.
But what if I told you that the incarnation is something that we take part in? What if I told you that you get to take part in this most magnificent Christmas glory?
Here’s how it works:
The Deity of Christ united with human form to show the Father to the world.
Those who are born again and saved through trust in Jesus are being made into his likeness (2 Cor. 3:18), and God the Holy Spirit now dwells in them (1 Cor. 6:19).
Do you see the parallel?
Jesus was God in the flesh, and he came to show the Father to the world.
God the Spirit dwells with our flesh and makes us like Jesus. Why? To show Jesus to the world! Jesus said it this way as he prays:
“As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world.” John 17:18
God’s purpose for sending Jesus into the world is also Christ’s purpose for sending us into the world:
that the world may know the glory and goodness of the God who saves sinners.
Brothers and sisters, just as Jesus was the picture of God for the world to see, you are called to be the picture of Jesus for the world to see. Now, be careful here. That doesn’t apply only to the things you do, or don’t do. Far too often we think that if we just live the right way, that’ll be enough.
If there was anyone who might be able to live a good enough life to bring people to God, it was Jesus. However, you’ll notice that Jesus also talked about God often. Why? Because a necessary aspect of the incarnation was a message.
This is also true for our part. We live incarnationally by living a life the reflects the life of Jesus AND by speaking the message that He spoke. It must be both. Take one away and the incarnation is useless.
So, my friends: during this Christmas season and always, reflect Jesus to the world in the same way that Jesus reflected God to the world.
With joy in Christ,