A word of warning. My blogs tend toward repetitiveness. That’s mostly due to the fact that I’m obsessed with getting to know Jesus and the Way he did life. As such, I spend a lot of time in the Gospels, and this is often reflected in the things I think on and write about. Hopefully though, it’s not so much boring repetition as it is me “getting” something new.
Having said that, I’m making my way through the book of John again. It’s definitely my favourite Gospel. I love the extra material in John that’s not in the other gospels, I love the way he talks about his friendship with Jesus, and Jesus’ relationship with the Father. In short, it’s lovely.
Here’s what’s caught my eye this time around. It starts with the incarnation. “The Word” (which, by the way is always used in relation with Jesus, not the Scriptures – but that’s a whole other bugbear of mine) became flesh and dwelt among us.
So, the Word who was always with God, from forever, and who is and always has been God, the Creator of all things, the one who stretched out the heavens and put the stars in their place. This spiritual being who was without limit in anything He could do…. became flesh. Became human. He voluntarily limited himself by stepping out of eternity (as it were) and into our time, in the form of a little helpless baby. He (God!) chose to grow up on this earth and walk about and get dirty and deal with the broken humanity around him. In this man, Jesus, dwelt the the fullness of God. The God.
I love the way Thomas Merton put it in No Man Is An Island,
“Jesus is the theology of that Father revealed to us.”
How perfect is that!? It’s so true. If we want to get to know the Father, all we have to do is look at the Son. Jesus of course said as much, when he was talking to his disciples recorded for us in John 14,
“I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; and from now on you know Him and have seen Him.”
The first part of this quote is one of the more controversial statements that Jesus made, and is often quoted by his followers as proof perfect as to why what they believe is superior to that of someone with another faith system. It can come across as divisive and arrogant (yuk!).
The thing that’s struck me about this over the last couple days is that it’s not in anyway said in an arrogant manner. I think Jesus was just placing an invitation before those listening, because they didn’t get that he was in fact God. They didn’t understand that He was the Father. That God himself was sitting with them talking, just like he used to do in the Garden with Adam & Eve. God was present. The disciples of the day just couldn’t make that kind of leap of realisation.
Jesus is the only way to the Father because all that he is, and all that he does and all that he says is the heart of God. The Father had been trying to call us back to himself for the previous 6000 (?) years… but we kept running and hiding. Our shame wouldn’t allow us to dare to come before God. So he came to us. Jesus shows us the Father.
That, right there is what fires my heart. God is indeed knowable. God does indeed love us. He isn’t scary and fearful. He’s everything that he always said he was, and Jesus reveals this glory to us in a way that we never got before…
Exodus 34:6 says,
“And Yahweh passed before him and proclaimed, Almighty Yahweh is:
• Merciful (compassion that moves to action)
• Gracious (favour toward us)
• Longsuffering (not touchy or overly sensitive, slow to anger)
• Abounding (lavishing) in goodness (mercy)
• Abounding (lavishing) in truth (trust worthy, faithful)
• Having/Maintaining/extending mercy to thousands
• Forgiving iniquity/wickedness
• Forgiving transgressions/rebellion
• Forgiving sin
That is why Jesus is the Way. The Way to the Father.