20th February 2011

Identity In Christ

“And the Father who sent me had himself testified concerning me. You have never heard his voice nor seen his form….”
John 5:36 (NIV UK)

Anyone who’s over 50 years of age will remember Nikita Khrushchev. He was the colourful, blustery character who, as leader of the former Soviet Union, banged his shoe on the table while speaking to the General Assembly of the United Nations. He was also known for declaring that the first man in space, the Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin, “flew into space, but didn’t see any God there!”

As for Gagarin himself, there is no record that he ever made such a statement. But Khrushchev was certainly right, although not for the reasons he had in mind. That’s because the Bible itself tells us that no human being has seen God at any time, except for one man, God’s own Son, Jesus: “No-one has ever seen God—but God the only [Son], who is at the Father’s side, has made him known” (John 1:18).

Unlike Matthew, Mark and Luke, who wrote about Jesus’ human birth, the apostle John begins with Jesus’ divinity, and tells us that Jesus was God from the beginning. He would be “God with us” the prophecies foretold. John declared that the Son of God became human and dwelt among us as one of us. And when Jesus died and was raised to life, to the right hand of the Father, he remained human, the glorified human, fully God and fully human.

Jesus himself, the Bible teaches us, is the highest communion of God with humanity.

Entirely out of his love, God freely chose to create humanity in his image and to make his home with us. It is the mystery of the gospel that God cares so deeply about humanity and that he loves the whole world, and that includes you and me and everyone we know and love.

The ultimate explanation of the mystery is that God demonstrates his love for humanity by meeting humanity, by meeting each and every one of us, in the person of Jesus Christ. John quotes Jesus as saying: “You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life” (John 5:39).

The Bible is there to lead us to Jesus, to show us that in Jesus, God has bound himself to us by his love so strongly that he will never let us go. In the gospel God says to us: “Jesus is one with humanity and one with the Father, which means that humanity shares in the Father’s love for Jesus and Jesus’ love for the Father. So the gospel tells you that because God loves you so completely and irreversibly, and because Jesus Christ has already done everything for you that you could not do for yourself, you can joyfully repent and believe in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour, renounce yourself and take up your cross and follow him.

The gospel is not a call to get an angry God off your back; it’s a call to embrace and enjoy the unfailing love of the Father, Son and Spirit who have loved you unconditionally every moment of your life and will never cease to love you forever. We won’t physically see God in space any more than we’ll physically see him on Earth. It is through the eyes of faith that the loving God reveals himself to us, faith in Jesus Christ.

Holy Father, thank you for revealing yourself to us through Jesus Christ. The world doesn’t know you, because it rejected Christ, his Gospel and his revelation of you. A human being might well get angry at being rejected, but not you, Righteous Father. For your love is the key, and your love for us is too deep, too all-encompassing, to be lost in anger. We may never fathom it, but we are thankful that it is so.

Study by Joseph Tkach 

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