1st October 2020

Just What is God Like?

“Since many have undertaken to set down an orderly account of the events that have been fulfilled among us, just as they were handed on to us by those who from the beginning were eye witnesses and servants of the word, I too decided, after investigating everything carefully from the very first, to write an orderly account for you…”
Luke 1:1-3 (NRSVA)

Just what is God like? This question occurred to me recently after conducting an internet search for information. With a little bit of trial and error, I eventually got what I wanted. It was a fascinating experience, as it felt like I was in a market place where all of the stallholders were trying to get my attention. A multitude of voices appeared to be offering their views on God, his role in the world and whether He had any connection to the recent Covid-19 crisis. There were very different views of God on offer. Some shouted that he is very angry; others suggested that he is compassionate. This then led to very different positions on what God is doing in this world today. Some scary, others encouraging. All very confusing.

Just what is God like? Which of the ‘voices’ can I trust, especially given that they have such opposing views? This is where Luke, the author of one of the Gospels comes in. Luke wanted his readers to “know the truth concerning the things about which you have been instructed” (Luke 1:4). We know very little about Luke, because he felt that knowledge to be irrelevant. Instead his focus was on Jesus. He takes us through Jesus’ birth and life, recording many of his works and teachings. Without Luke, we wouldn’t have a record of the Parable of the Good Samaritan or the Parable of the Prodigal Son. It is also through Luke that we learn of Cleopas’ wonderful encounter with Jesus on the road to Emmaus.

If you want to know what God is like, then Luke’s gospel is a great place to start. For we see God in action, in the very life of Jesus Christ. Everything about him tells us something about God. We see what God is like in Jesus’ teachings and actions. We see what God is like in Jesus’ interactions with others. And above all we see what God is like in Jesus’ death and resurrection.

Many scholars believe that Luke wrote in a time when the church saw a surge in Gentile converts. They had little connection to Jesus’ original disciples. This prompted Luke to provide “an historically accurate and theologically significant Gospel to instruct Gentile Christians.” Luke wanted there to be no confusion. If you want to know what God is like, then pay close attention to Jesus. For Jesus is the only one who truly reveals God’s heart.

Prayer
Father, open our eyes to see the truth of what you are like. Focus our eyes on Jesus, the only one who truly reveals your character and your loving nature. And thank you for the Gospel of Luke, through which we learn so much about you. In Christ’s name we pray.
Amen

Study by Ian Woodley

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About the Author:
Ian Woodley is an Elder and Pastoral Council member of the Edinburgh Congregation of Grace Communion International, UK.

Local Congregation:
GCI, Edinburgh
Gilmerton New Church
Ravenscroft Street
EDINBURGH
EH17 8QJ

Meeting time:
Saturday 11:00am

Local Congregational Contact:
Peter Mill
Email: edinburgh@gracecom.church