Friday, August 8, 2014

Christ The Brightness of God's Glory

     Paul called Jesus "the brightness of His (God's) glory, and the express image of His person" Hebrews 1:3.  "Great is the mystery of godliness" he proclaimed, "God was manifest in the flesh" 1 Timothy 3:16.
    Jesus was not kind of like God, or like God in some respects.  He was, in the fullest sense, the exact representation of the divine likeness.  Every attribute of His character revealed the true personage of God.  Every interaction He had with people was a manifestation of the Father's heart.  Every episode of His earthly life proclaimed the thoughts and feelings of the Eternal One whose very nature is love.
     At the time of Christ's incarnation the religious leaders had painted a distorted, ugly picture of God.  It would have been nice if they had kept it to themselves, but they didn't.  With great zeal they held up before the world their custom-crafted image of God.  Because they created an image of God in their own likeness, they were unwitting idolaters.  By their teachings and their dealings with their fellow human beings, they led minds to conceive of God as a dictatorial and cruel judge, slow to forgive and quick to punish.  Generation after generation, as they multiplied impossible rules as obstacles to God's favor and dealt out their condemnations, they repeated their high claim, "we have one Father, even God"  John 8:41.
     Naturally, the people of the world assumed God must be like His professed followers.  But Jesus denied their representation of the divine character.  The picture they presented looked more like the devil than the God of heaven.  "If God were your Father," Jesus said, "ye would love Me: for I  proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of Myself, but He sent Me....Ye are of your father the devil,and the lusts of your father ye will do"  John 8:42,44.  They were truly like their father, but God was not their father as they claimed.
     Jesus came to our world to give the true knowledge of God.  In every act of mercy H was saying, "This is what God is really like." As He healed the sick, as He befriended sinners, as He took time for children, He was longing for the light of divine love to shine into our hearts and persuade us that God is good.  This was His appointed mission.
     Yet so few understood.  The religious leaders said he was a drunk and a glutton because he sought to love those they hated.  Even His own disciples struggled to match up their concept of God with what they encountered in Him.   Peter tried to shoo away mothers and children, only to be astonished by the Savior's priority interest in giving them undivided attention.  James and John suggested that He burn up a whole city, apparently assuming that He would approve of their plan.  To their utter surprise, He identified their spirit as from the evil one and not from God.  Over and over, throughout His earthly life, Jesus sought to erase the distorted pictures of God people held in their hearts and repaint the image of divinity with the bright and beautiful colors of selfless love.  Every act of His life proclaimed,"This is what God is really like."

     (Are you getting a better picture of God?  I am, and I am so thankful someone like Ty is willing to portray God like He truly is.  It has helped me so very much and I hope it is helping each of you.  Grandma Joan)

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