walk in the word
Close your eyes for a few seconds and think about God. What does He look like? What image do you have stored in your mind’s eye? Do you see a wise old man peering over the balcony of heaven, full of love and goodness? Or do you see a six-hundred-foot giant sitting on a throne, with thousands of fierce angels flying around and lightning bolts ripping through the sky? Whatever image you might have in your mind, replace it with this one: a newborn baby lying in a feeding-trough. And not just any baby, but one named Jesus.
The Bible clearly teaches that we cannot see God the Father. He is spirit (John 4:24); He is invisible (Colossians 1:15; 1 Timothy 1:17); and He lives in unapproachable light (1 Timothy 6:16). John says, “No one has seen God at any time” (John 1:18), and God himself told Moses, “No man can see Me and live!” (Exodus 33:20). Although images of God will occasionally flash through our minds, we must realize that they are totally inadequate representations of who He really is.
The only perfect representation of God the Father is God the Son. The Apostle Paul says that Jesus is “the image of the invisible God” (Colossians 1:15). That word image means statue or likeness. It is where we get our English term icon. Occasionally we meet a person who looks like someone we know, and we say, “Larry, you look like so-and-so.” The resemblance between Jesus and the Father, however, is far more than coincidental, physical similarity. Jesus himself said, “He who has seen Me has seen the Father” (John 14:9). What he means is this: “Do you want to see the Father? You’re looking at Him. Anything you need to know about that Father you can know by looking at Me.” As the writer of Hebrews puts it, Jesus is “the radiance of [God’s] glory and the exact representation of His nature” (Hebrews 1:3). Jesus is the Icon, He is the Image, He is the Exact Replica of the Father. He shows us what God is like.
Now notice that Jesus is the image, not an image, of God. There is no other Son; there is no other plan; there is no other way. Only Jesus. That’s why we should put Him first in everything. We live in a world where many people respect Jesus, but they respect Him as a man or a good moral teacher. That doesn’t cut it. Jesus Christ is God. We put Him first because He shows us the Father.
If you find yourself in this Christmas season wondering, Is God really forgiving? Look at Jesus. At times we doubt, Is God really loving and compassionate? Look at Jesus. We might become confused and think, Is the Father really capable of righteous anger and judgment? Could the Father really be righteous? Look at Jesus. We long to know, Is God sensitive to my needs? Does God care about my specific burdens? Look at the life of Jesus Christ, for He is the very Image of God.
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