I have had a lot of conversations lately where people who love God have expressed a phenomenon that I’ve often seen in my own faith journey. For whatever reason, they, and I, experience seasons where the God we have experienced as both personal and knowable, seems so distant and unknowable. We weren’t able to articulate what brings this about but we were able to talk through a simple practice to help get us back on track.
What helped give us handles in these moments is an elementary truth that we can see in these verses:
- Colossians 2:9: For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form.
- John 14:9: Anyone who has seen [Jesus] has seen the Father.
- Hebrews 1:3: The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of His being.
- John 1:18: No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is Himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made Him known
That elementary truth that I referred to is the fact that Jesus was fully God, and represented God to humanity.
In practical terms, this means we can look at the stories of Jesus in the Gospels and know that when we observe Jesus speaking or acting, we are witnessing what God chose to do in a situation. We are getting insight into who He is.
The idea of God may be so vague in our minds sometimes, can now be seen exhibiting actions, making choices, and sharing His heart.
Jesus has “made Him known”!
Reading through the gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) with this practice has been really beneficial and challenged me to think about who God is. Let me give you an example…
John 11 is the famous story where Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead. What amazes me in this story (besides the obvious death to life feat!) is that we read that Jesus was “deeply moved in spirit” and that He “wept” when He saw the family and friends mourning.
So why is this amazing, and how does it help us know what God is like? Because Jesus knew that Lazarus would be raised from the dead minutes later, and yet, He chose to be present and empathise with people who were hurting. This is what God is like!
Honestly, I sometimes struggle to empathise with my two kids when I know they will be fine later for what they’re crying about then. And yet here, we see that the God of the universe, comes down to our level by choice. Jesus revealed to me in that story that God has deep concern for all of His people.
He has made Him known. And it turns out that what we can know about God is really, really good.