Last time we started exploring one of life’s greatest questions ‘What is God like?’ by looking at John’s Gospel. This month we continue considering this same question as we look at the extraordinary statement of how God has made Himself known.
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:14)
Previously we saw how the Word is both God and with God. We considered how this means that God is in His very being relational – we weren’t created to serve a needy God, but to share in the life of the all-sufficient and fully satisfied God. But who is this God that we are invited to draw near to?
We’re told here in John’s Gospel that this very same God became flesh, meaning He became a human being and lived among us – it is what we celebrate at Christmas. As we look at Jesus we see what God is really like, in Jesus the invisible God is made visible.
In the Bible to ‘see someone’s glory’ is to see what they are really like. John declares that he and the first disciples saw Jesus’ glory, they were eyewitness who spent over three years with Jesus: hearing His words; seeing what He did; seeing how He acted; seeing Him die and seeing Him risen. Having firsthand knowledge, John summarises what Jesus is like, what God is like, by saying He is ‘full of grace and truth’ – words meaning a devoted love that goes above and beyond what is required, and faithfulness (fully reliable). These is not just some small character traits of God, we’re told it is what God is ‘full of’. If the infinite God is ‘full’ of devoted love and faithfulness then it means His love and faithfulness is beyond measure.
Perhaps that isn’t the image of God that you have in your mind, perhaps that hasn’t been your experience. Maybe you were dragged to church when you were younger, or you had religion forced down your throat and threw off those shackles long ago. Perhaps you still attend church but it’s more out of duty than delight, to ‘keep Him upstairs happy’ as some might say. If that’s the case let me encourage you to look afresh at Jesus. Many of our views of God have been built on our experiences or the misguided teachings of others, but there’s only one who has fully known and fully made known what God is like and that is Jesus Christ. If our view of God is built on anything other than a right view of Jesus then it is going to be wonky.
Next time we’ll continue to explore this question, as we consider how this unmeasurable devoted love and faithfulness is seen in Jesus’ life and why this is such good news for us. In the meantime, you can continue to discover more by reading through John’s Gospel. If anyone would like a free copy of John’s Gospel please get in contact and I’ll be happy to pass one on.