The Father’s Love in Revealing (Part 2)

In the first post on the Father’s love I introduced both the challenge and the importance of seeing God the Father as loving. As we meditate on the biblical truths of the depths of his love and begin resting in that love we will be refreshed with newfound freedom and security to keep drawing near. Therefore, thinking rightly of God our Father is not just a matter of having our theological ducks in a row but it’s a game changer in living the Christian life. We will consider seven NT examples of how God puts his love on display for us, wanting us to know about it and be wrapped up in it.

1) The Father’s love for us is nowhere more clearly seen than in the sending of his only Son—freely, unprompted, undeservedly—to reconcile us back to himself. If you missed this first point you can read it here, otherwise today we’ll jump into our second example.

2) The Father’s love is seen in the incarnation where the Son is sent to reveal the Father to us. Jesus is the revelation of God to us as one of us. “[Jesus] is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature” (Heb. 1:3). He is “the image of the invisible God” (Col. 1:15).This is most clearly stated in John’s prologue (1:1-18), where the Word takes on flesh and dwells among us, but this theme must be seen throughout the gospels. The OT background of the word is “his powerful self-expression in creation, revelation, and salvation.”[1] When an OT prophet received a word from the Lord it was more than just a message. It was God’s revelation of himself to his people.

The clarity and beauty of God’s self-revelations gets ratcheted up when God the Son dwells among us. As the Word, he is the self-expression of God. Jesus is God and reveals God to us. This points back to the Father’s love because it proves he wants to be known in a way that is clear, intimate, and according to truth. Because God is not like us in so many ways and cannot be seen or touched there are moments he seems distant. It might even make him at times seem hard to relate too. But, God doesn’t want things to stay that way so he sends Jesus to show us the Father. Philip said it would be enough if Jesus would show them the Father, and Jesus assures them that the Father is seen and known through his son Jesus (John 14:9). This is what John meant when he wrote, “He [Jesus] has made him [God] known” (John 1:18). God has expressed himself, and he has done so most vividly and visibly in his son Jesus Christ.

In his typical style C. S. Lewis wrote: “He is the self-expression of the Father—what the Father has to say. And there never was a time when He wasn’t saying it.” Jesus takes our vague or slightly distorted notions of God and gives us the real picture of the Father in his fullness of grace and truth. When we think about the beauty, humility, and glory of the incarnation we should also find comfort in the Father’s desire to be clearly and intimately known by us. If the Father seems distant or unapproachable we should look to the incarnation of Jesus to see just how near and inviting the Father has come.

“You don’t need to be in the dark about God. He has gone beyond parchment and paper. He has gone beyond tapes and cassettes. He has gone beyond videos and even beyond live drama. He has actually come and pitched his tent in our backyard and beckoned us to watch him and get to know him in the person of his Son Jesus. When you watch Jesus in action, you watch God in action. When you hear Jesus teach, you hear God teach. When you come to know what Jesus is like, you know what God is like.”[2]

The incarnation is God’s evidence he wants to be in relationship with us but it also the proof that he wants to be known rightly, clearly, and intimately. This is one reason why I try to consistently stay in the NT Gospels. The more I see Jesus in action, hear his teachings, watch his encounters with people, and consider his redemptive works I will see the heart of God the Father behind it all. It should astound us that the infinite, transcendent, and perfect God would make knowing us and being known by us one of his highest priorities. What a joy that God is a Father who doesn’t just show mercy—and that would be wonderful enough—but he wants a real relationship where he know and love him. Our perceptions of God become fuzzy and distorted when we look at earthly figures of fathers or authorities. However, when we look at Jesus the character and compassion of the Father is clearly and accurately put on display.

[1] D. A Carson, The Gospel According to John (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1991), 116.

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