This is a follow-up to The Difference Jesus Makes, posted April 13th. That post was really about the difference Jesus makes in us.
What is God like to you? At the mention of God, all of us conjure up some image in the mind’s eye. Some imagine God to be like Zeus on Mount Olympus, tossing thunderbolts at the earth. Others have a misty, ethereal, floaty idea of a disembodied God on a cloud somewhere. Perhaps God is an old man, sitting like a grandfather in a rocking chair, just watching over everything. Deism is the concept that God is like a clockmaker, who put the universe in motion eons ago and is not actually involved in its working. Jesus is the incarnation of God, and should shape our view of who/what God is.
God is unapproachable. When the Hebrews reached Mount Sinai, the mountain shook and smoked. When God spoke, they begged him not to speak to them again. Only Moses went up on the mountain to meet with God. Only the High Priest went into the holy of holies in the tabernacle, and only then once a year. His garment had to be perfectly spotless, and he was first cleansed and purified. God is holy, and only the perfectly holy and righteous can come into his presence. Jesus invites us to approach. “Come all who are heavy ladened, I will give you rest.” “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in…” “Where 2 or 3 are gathered together in my name, there I will be also.” Jesus tells the disciples to allow the children to come to him. He uses a small child as an illustration, and says that this is what the kingdom of Heaven will be like. Hebrews 12:18-24 compares the old covenant of the unapproachable God to the new covenant, where Jesus goes between ourselves and God and invites us to come in.
God is not tempted to sin. James 1 tells us that God is not tempted with evil, and he himself does not tempt anyone. Jesus was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. In the flesh, Jesus was subject to all the same things common to all people. He became hungry, thirsty, tired, and frustrated. At times he was angry. When pierced, he bleed and died. And he was tempted to do evil. Whatever we face in life’s journey, Jesus can relate. He was despised, rejected and scorned. You cannot endure something with which Jesus cannot relate. He makes God near and personal, having shared in the human experience.
Jesus is the revelation of God to humankind. He tells us that “I and the Father are one. If you’ve seen me, you’ve seen the Father.” Our careful study of Jesus, his words and deeds, teaches us what God is like. When Moses asked to see God’s glory, he was told that no man could look on him and live. But God, wrapped in flesh and taking on mortality, came to earth to be “God with us.” If someone is looking for God, they need to look no farther than Jesus. He is our contact to the invisible, unapproachable God. He intercedes for us, going into the presence of Holy God for he himself is holy. Colossians 1 calls him “the image of the invisible God.” Knowing Jesus changes what we know about God.