Theology 101 — Jesus: Came to Reveal Godcomment (0)
February 13, 2014
By Jerry Batson
The majestic prologue that opens the Gospel of John by referring to Jesus as the Word reaches its climax by declaring, “No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him” (John 1:18).
Likely you have heard about the children in Sunday School drawing pictures related to the Bible story of the day. Having chosen an object or person from the day’s story, the children began drawing. As the teacher circulated among the class, each child identified the object they had picked to draw. All went well until one child said she was drawing a picture of God. The teacher quietly reminded the child that no one knows what God looks like. Undaunted the child responded, “They will when I get through.”
John 1:18 is quite clear that no one has ever seen God. However, Jesus came to reveal Him. Before Jesus got through with His earthly life, He would declare, “He who has seen Me has seen the Father” (John 14:9).
Jesus accomplished many things during His earthly ministry. Not the least among His accomplishments was that of revealing God. Our verse says simply that Jesus “has declared Him.” The term translated “declared” is the one that gives the English language the word “exegete.” This verb is often used to describe what a person does when explaining or unfolding the meaning of a Scripture passage. Some definitions of exegete include ideas like interpret, expound, give a full account of or give a full and accurate explanation of.
Two divine qualities accompanied Jesus’ work of revealing God. These were grace and truth. That God would desire to make Himself known by sending His Son is a matter of divine grace. No human deserves to know God because all of us have sinned. God did not owe the human race another chance after the first human pair who knew God intimately chose disobedience in place of unbroken fellowship with God. Only God’s grace explains His offer of another chance.
God making Himself known is also a matter of divine truth. God wanted His world to know Him accurately. To that end, God’s goal was to tell the truth about Himself. What better person to bring the truth about God from heaven to earth than the Living Word who was with the Father in the beginning? So John 1:17 puts it simply and straightforwardly, “Grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.”
We need another word by which to round out our thoughts about God being revealed. That word is glory. The Bible often uses the word glory to speak of the manifestation of God to mere mortals. If we then think of glory as the manifest presence of God, we understand that He was manifesting His presence when His glory filled the temple or appeared to Moses on Mount Sinai. Whether by an overshadowing cloud or brilliant light, people of old on occasion saw the glory of God. God’s glory caused Moses’ face to shine. His glory caused Jesus’ garments to glow on the Mount of Transfiguration.
Back to our main idea that Jesus came to reveal God, ponder the depth and wonder of what 2 Corinthians 4:6 says, “God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” Herein is grace and truth giving us the knowledge of God in the manifest presence of Jesus — the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.