“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” (Prov 9:10)
This has been my experience in the past few days. My perception of God has recently changed – widened and deepened – in a way that I think many of us might need. I needed to stop seeing my Lord as the earthly Jesus in robes and long hair, even though of course he was that – but he is SO much more!!
The Father and the Son
My relationship and who I “see” as God in my thoughts when I worship and pray and think of the Lord has for all my life been Jesus.
I do honour, worship, trust and pray to the Father but (because my own father was distant, stern and cold and we didn’t have a relationship) I’ve found it harder to relate to God the Father, and easier to have a relationship with the Lord God incarnate, the Son of God, Jesus.
Well, a few weeks ago I began thinking – as much as a human being can – of God the Father and his immense power. I can’t go into details in words because it was very much an internal thought process and awakening to His greatness and glory.
I meditated on God the Creator, and his immense and unknowable majesty, his power, his omniscience…all of that… and I realised, as I said above, that although I had an awe of the Father I didn’t have a “close relationship” with him as I did with Jesus the Son.
That bothered me.
It’s impossible mentally to grasp the Trinity anyway, but we know in our heads that there is ONE GOD expressed as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. So I felt ashamed that I was making some kind of division between my faith in the Son and my faith in the Father (and I have to leave the Holy Spirit out of this for the time being, because that will make explaining things even MORE complicated!!)
I think I’ve always felt too much in awe of the Father, too overwhelmed by his magnificence and righteousness and power. I don’t know, but it held me back a bit from close intimate fellowship.
(Also, as human beings, it’s easier for us to visualise another human-like being rather than a unformed Divinity “who alone has immortality, who dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see”.)
No One Has Ever Seen The Father
- John 1:18: No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.
- John 6:46: “Not that any man hath seen the Father, save he which is of God, he hath seen the Father.”
- John 5:37: “And the Father himself, which hath sent me, hath borne witness of me. Ye have neither heard his voice at any time, nor seen his shape.”
Jesus and the Father are One
- John 14:9: “Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father?”
- John 10:30: “I and my Father are one.”
BUT, the light dawned when I realised something that is so vital but so obvious. God the Father and Jesus the Son are ONE, just as he said to his disciples: he who has seen ME has seen the Father. (John 10:30; John 14:9)
There is no difference in character or being because Jesus is the express image of God, the embodiment of God, God manifested in the flesh.
Jesus is the Image of God the Father
In human terms we might think of an image as a photo, even better a video or hologram, and if we saw that image it would be a representation of the person pictured. Well Jesus is the perfect image of the invisible God. (Colossians 1:15-17) Jesus is the “the brightness of [God’s] glory, and the express image of his person”. (Hebrews 1:3)
That word “express” in Greek means an EXACT likeness. It means a precise reproduction in every respect, i.e., a facsimile. See Here: [https://www.quotescosmos.com/bible/bible-concordance/G5481.html]
So how could I see Jesus as warmer, more loving, more forgiving, more accessible, or in anything different to the Father? They are the same!
His Humanity is not His Glory
I moved on in my thinking, and then I realised that I was “seeing” the Jesus of the New Testament in my mind (and because of all the paintings and movies of him) still in his humanity, and that’s the way the evangelical church presents Jesus to us and to the world.
Yet Jesus is risen from the dead, he is glorified in Heaven, he is no longer in a human body, and we must not see Jesus as being ‘stuck’ in that phase of his life and work – as Paul says – “Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer” 2 Cor 5:16.
Yes, Jesus became a man, and related to us as people, on earth, for a short time. BUT, that is like a small blip compared to his eternal nature. For Jesus ever-existed! As he testified, “before Abraham was, I AM”.
The gospel of John says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” Futhermore, the Saviour that we know, since the year 1AD, as Jesus (or more properly Yeshua) was in fact the agent of creation, for nothing created was made without him.
Col 1:15-17 “The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in Him all things were created, things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities. All things were created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.” [Berean Study Bible]
- SEE ARTICLE: Why Is Jesus Called The Word?
Why did John call Jesus “the Word”? The answer is that the term “the Word” [the Logos] was significant to the culture of the time and in fact, made John’s point about who Jesus was all the more clear. John’s world knew that the “logos” was a perfect expression and revealing of God and not in a passive but an active way.
God the Father expressed his Son from his invisible and inaccessible form for the very purpose of relating to the creation, and in particular mankind. God became accessible, and then he went further and became incarnate too, all for the purpose of reaching out to us! How astounding is that?
God Appeared to Man
After shifting my perception from earth to heaven, as we all should, something else was revealed to me. The same Lord who was eventually made incarnate, and born as a human man, is the Lord God who appeared to men in the Old Testament!
He is Creator
In Genesis chapter one, we read of God speaking all things into existence. Psalm 33:6 states, “By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, and by the breath of His mouth all their host.” Creation was brought about through the Word of God, just as John observed of the Word, “All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being,” (John 1:3)
God created all things with and in and by his Son (not as two distinct gods but as ONE GOD) – even in plurality, for the Hebrew word used for the Lord in that passage is “elohim“. Although there is dispute about this, it has been pointed out that the word elohim is plural, meaning a godhead of more than one person. [See Here]
- Genesis 1:26 Then GOD (Elohim: Father, Son and Holy Spirit) said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness…”
But it doesn’t stop there. Having been the agent of creation itself, Jesus then initiated a relationship with mankind, as we see from his appearance in the Garden of Eden. God walked and talked with mankind there, and we know from scripture that “no man has seen the Father at any time…”
Interpretations differ greatly. Some emphasize the fact that God the Father is invisible and cannot be seen by humans. So according to this view, God did not appear in the flesh; rather, He took on a symbolic, incorporeal appearance, such as a cloud. But others suggest that the idea of God “walking” refers to a theophany — an appearance of God in a tangible, human form. Theologians who hold this view point to a parallel in Genesis 18, where God appears as one of three (seemingly human) visitors to Abraham. [Source]
Jesus is Yahweh, the I AM
I have come to see that my understanding and mental perception of Jesus has been so limited. If we confine him to a few short years in the first century AD, we really miss the glory and power and true nature of God!
Jesus on a few occasions used the term “I AM” which was certainly understood by those around him as a reference to the YahWeh of the Old Testament, witnessed by the fact they took up stones to stone him for blasphemy.
In John 8:58, speaking to the religious leaders, said, “Truly, Truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.” This was a clear reference to Exodus 3:14, where God revealed His name to Moses as “I AM.” The reason the religious leaders wanted to kill Him was because Jesus claimed to be God.
- See Article: Seven Times Jesus said I AM
On another occasion, in the Garden of Gethsemane, when the troops came to arrest Jesus, he asked them who they sought. When they replied “Jesus of Nazareth,” Jesus said, “I am [He].” And … when Jesus said, “I am He,” they drew back and fell to the ground. (John 18:6)
In the original Greek of that verse, Jesus said I AM (Ego eimi). This was what the Jews understood of the name/descriptive title of God, as the Lord explained in the burning bush when Moses asked his name!! (Actually it’s not the name of God, but the Lord replied “I am that I am” more of a description and statement of being than a name. Nobody knows the Name of God!)
- See here for an explanation: The Meaning of I Am
Jesus, the God of the Old Testament
I realise it will be controversial to say that the LORD who was seen, known and heard throughout the Old Testament is actually the Son of God who was later incarnated as Jesus (Yeshua). But I don’t know why it should be disputed, because Jesus himself seemed to confirm it (plus, he said no man has seen the Father!).
Not only did Jesus several times claim the title I AM for himself, but after his resurrection he went out of his way to show his disciples that he was not a mere man confined to their era, but “beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, He explained to them what was written in all the Scriptures about Himself.” [Luke 24:27]
So Jesus showed his followers that in ALL the scripture – the Old Testament as we call it – Jesus was known and written about, not just in a prophetic sense, but in reality – for Moses and many others throughout the Old Testament saw, spoke to and had encounters with God the SON.
He also said in John 5:39, “You [Jewish people] diligently study the Scriptures …. These are the Scriptures that testify about me.”
- SEE ARTICLE HERE: Jesus In The Old Testament
Jesus is GOD from the Beginning
So to recap from the start, I felt that I had made an artificial division between the Father and the Son, for the purposes of relating in a closer and more accessible way to God. But by doing so, I was actually limiting God and not grasping his might and power, his ability, his greatness – and somehow dividing Jesus off from the activities I read about in the Old Testament.
As soon as it dawned on me that there IS no difference, no division, that God is ONE, and the attributes and power and glory of the Father are exactly the same as those of Jesus the Son, it opened my eyes and strengthened my faith immensely.
I stopped limiting Jesus (I had not fully realised that I was doing that) and I began to see HIM as the God who spoke to Moses and Abraham and Isaac, the one who was seen with the faithful Jews in the furnace (Daniel 3:91-92), the Lord who revealed himself to Samuel at Shiloh (1 Samuel 3:21) and to Jacob (Genesis 35:9) as he testified in Genesis 48:3 that “God Almighty appeared to me at Luz in the land of Canaan and blessed me“… and so on. [Source]
Jesus in Glory, God over All
I could go on and on, but there’s no point. I have seen the truth and my eyes have been opened. I no longer limit God in my mind, nor feel awkward in going to God the Father. It was indeed the FEAR (awe) of the holy Father that led me to see the grace, mercy and lovingkindness of God, as represented in the Saviour in his humanity but ALSO throughout history.
Now I know that I am praying to an almighty God who can speak creation into existence, part the seas, deliver Israel, send and stop a plague, bring down fire from heaven, and do any kind of miracle on behalf on his people (of which I am one, praise God.)
That has reinforced and strengthened my faith. I pray it will do the same for you.