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Claim This!

Claim This! – What God looks like… (John 1:18)

Today’s Reading: John 1-3

Today’s Reflection: John 1:18

No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him. (NKJV)

In one of the most beautiful and evocative passages in the Gospels–in all scripture actually–the apostle John describes the eternal nature of Jesus, His identity as the Son of God and part of the Holy Trinity, and the earthly impact of His incarnation.  In all of this, John tells us that Jesus has made the invisible God visible to man.

There is considerable controversy about God.  Even if you get beyond the atheist / theist divide, and settle on the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob over the other options (Brahma, Buddha, Allah, etc.) there are vastly differing pictures of who this God actually is.  Some look at all of the judgment meted out in the Old Testament (the flood, the destruction of Sodom and Gommorah, the threatened destruction of Nineveh, etc.) and say God is a vengeful, bloodthirsty tyrant just waiting for us to make a mistake so He can destroy us.  Some look at the tragedies He allowed to befall the righteous Job and say God is an absentee landlord, essentially an uncaring and disinterested deity willing to allow His faithful followers to become a prey of the enemy.  Some look at the test Adam and Eve faced in the Garden of Eden and say God is unfair, that He set mankind up to fail then punished us for a mistake we couldn’t help but make.  Some even say that given the freedom He has given Satan to wreak havoc on this world that they must be working together somehow.  But today’s text tells us there is one true revelation of who God the Father actually is, and that is through His son Jesus Christ.

Through Jesus we know that God loves us with an all encompassing and sacrificial love:

John 3:16 – “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

That God doesn’t want to condemn us, but to save us:

John 3:17 – For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.

That even after we sin, God is always ready to forgive and restore:

John 8:10-11 – 10) Jesus stood up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” 11) She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.”

That God’s law isn’t a bunch of arbitrary do’s and don’ts, but a roadmap to loving relationships with Him and with each other:

Matthew 22:36-40 – 36) “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37) And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38) This is the great and first commandment. 39) And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40) On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”

That we don’t have to be perfect to be worthy of God’s love; that even when we hated God, He loved us:

Romans 5:8, 10 – 8) but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.  10) For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life.

That God desires to destroy the works of the devil:

1 John 3:8 – Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil.

That God wants to share His kingdom with us:

Luke 12:32 – “Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.

That God is preparing a place so He can be with us for eternity:

John 14:2-3 – 2) In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? 3) And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.

That God wants us to experience joy, here and now:

John 15:11 – These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.

And this is just a small sampling of the thousands of ways the life and ministry of Jesus Christ reveals the identity and character of God to us.  If ever you feel uncertain about God, who He really is, what He really wants for you or from you, and what His desires towards you really are, you need look no further than Jesus Christ Himself, through whom we can see who God the Father truly is.

John 14:8-9 – 8) Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.” 9) Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?

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