Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Who do you say God is?

Who is God?

What is God like?

There are lots of ways we describe God.  The Bible has lots of names for God and lots of images to describe who God is – Father, Shepherd, Creator, Redeemer, Lord of Host, Almighty God, Ancient of Days, Alpha and Omega.  Some of our favorite ways to think of God center around God’s power and majesty.  After all, we’re talking about the One who created the universe out of nothing.  We’re talking about the great I AM – the One who rescued the Israelites from Pharaoh with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm.

Then there’s the “omni’s.”  You know:  omnipotence (all powerful), omniscience (all knowing), and omnipresence (ever present).  All in all, when we think of God we often think of power and might.

Any maybe that’s why the cross – in fact the whole idea of incarnation, that God would deign to become one of us, be born as a helpless baby, live among us and die just like us – throws us for such a loop.  It really messes with our image of God to see vulnerability.

So we try to separate God from Jesus, somehow limiting how much “God” was in Jesus while he was on earth. 

Jesus didn't make that kind of distinction.  In fact, Jesus taught when we looked at him, we could see the Father:    
                           Jesus says in John 10:30, “The Father and I are one.” 
                           In John 10:38 and in 14:10-11, he says, “The Father is in me and I am in the Father.”
                In Luke 10:22, Jesus says, “And no one knows who the Son is except the Father, 
                         or who the Father is except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him."

Jesus reveals the Father.  We get important clues about who God is by looking at who Jesus is, how he acted, what he taught – everything about his life.  And his death – and that includes the cross.

“Because what you see in Jesus is what you get in God – I like that! – you need to rethink all the talk about God’s attributes in light of what actually happens to Jesus. And once Luther did that he realized that the God we see in Jesus is quite different from that God-of-attributes he’d imagined. Luther says that this God – the one revealed in Jesus on the cross – is vulnerable rather than powerful, approachable rather than distant, and is someone you can count on receiving mercy and grace from rather than judgment. Ultimately, Luther observes, this God is the one who understands everything we go through because, in Jesus, God went through it all too, even death.” (Page 20, “Making Sense of the Cross”)

When you think of God, what picture comes to mind?  What words do you use to describe who God is and what God is like?

What are the words and images you use to describe Jesus?

How do these words and images differ?  How are they the same?

Does it change the way you look at God to remember that what you see in Jesus – including the cross and resurrection – is what you see in God?

“What difference does it make to remember that God, in Jesus, knows what it’s like to be human?”

No comments:

Post a Comment