Discovering God in the face of Jesus

Chapter 14

Good Monday Morning to this week 15 of 2020

Jesus is the one mediator between God and man. He is thus the hermeneutic principle for every word from God. Thus the prime question to put to every text in the Bible is about how it testifies to Jesus. Graeme Goldsworthy

Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.”
Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip,
even after I have been among you such a long time?
Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father.
How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?” John 14:8–9

As I dig into another Chapter of Greg Boyed’s book I’m coming to some key chapters
of his work: The dark side of the Bible. We might get to that later on in my blog, a few weeks down the road,  when we can look back to Covid-19 and have more time for these very hard questions.

Yet, let’s get to the significance of Jesus, the Christ, even while reading the Old Testament.

When God no longer confined himself to speaking through men but made himself the human utterance of revelation, he obviously introduced the final revelation.

Yes, just having experienced Easter, this makes so much sense. Yes, Jesus introduced God to us in a new way, God introduced himself through Jesus to us, and together they introduced a next chapter in the story of God and the story of man.

A Hebrew view:  The Son alone is the radiance of God’s glory as well as the one and only exact representation of God’s very essence.

Jesus the flawless expression of God’s nature!

In the Son alone, however, do we capture the full brilliance and full truth of God’s glorious character, for he is the exact representation of God’s eternal nature.

C.S. Lewis: Jesus is what the Father has to say to us! Jesus is the total content of the Father’s revelation to us, wherever and whenever this revelation comes to us.

O.T. Balthasar comments: All that God has to say to man he has spoken once and for all in Jesus, so that each of us must individually acknowledge and make his own all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge hidden in Christ.

Jesus is not only the perfect expression of God’s essence, he is also the perfect expression of God’s purpose for creation. He is the ultimate reason for everything. Along similar lines, Paul states that Jesus is the embodiment of all of God’s wisdom

Another O.T. Balthasar quote:
The central Word which God speaks and which comprises, as their unity and end, all the manifold words of God, is Jesus Christ, the incarnate God.

David Dockery similarly concludes: For Jesus, the key to understanding the Old Testament was located in his own life and work, for everything pointed to himself.”

N.T. Wright:  Jesus was teaching that the story of the Bible as a whole, had been rushing forward toward the events of his own death and resurrection. His death and resurrection are to be seen as fulfillment, not simply as a shocking turn of events.”

Regardless of how “diligently” we may study the Old Testament, we can never say we have arrived at the full, complete interpretation of any passage until we have disclosed how it bears witness to Christ and, more specifically, to Christ’s death and resurrection.

N. T. Wright argues that for NT authors as well as for us, the very fact that God was present in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus means that the very meaning of the word “God” has to be “again and again rethought around the actual history of Jesus himself.”

Karl Barth who perhaps best captures the absolute nature of the revelation of God in Christ when he says that the meaning of “God” cannot be gathered from any notion of supreme, absolute, non-worldly being. It can be learned only from what took place in Christ, who the one true God is, we have to discover, from His becoming man, from His incarnation and from what He has done and suffered in the flesh.

Jesus makes the astounding claim that “all things have been committed to me by my Father” and that “no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him” (Matt 11:27).

Whatever value ancient “God-breathed” writings have in showing us the way to God, revealing the truth about God, and bringing us the life of God, it is only because they point toward, agree with, and participate in the One who is himself the way, the truth, and the life. Immediately after making this astonishing claim, Jesus said, “If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him” (John 14:7).

Jesus as the “Word” and “light” of God is reflected in Paul’s remarkable declaration that Christ is “the mystery of God” and that in Christ “are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge”  If all the “treasures of wisdom and knowledge” are in fact in Christ, to the point that Christ can be identified with God’s wisdom, then we surely cannot consider Christ to be a source of wisdom alongside of whatever other wisdom we might find in the OT or anywhere else. To the contrary, all the treasures’ obviously includes all the truths of all the verses of Scripture. All of them are hidden in Christ.” G Boyd.

I conclude with a passage from T. J. Gorringe “God is not inscrutable, there is nothing beyond or behind what we see in Christ. We are taught to keep our spiritual eyes fixed on Jesus. For we can only behold “the light of the knowledge of God’s glory” by seeing it “displayed in the face of Christ”, and it is only as we “behold the glory of the Lord as though reflected in a mirror, with our “unveiled minds,  that we are “transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another”.

In short, our knowledge of God, our salvation, and our spiritual growth all depend on our keeping our eyes fixed singularly on Jesus Christ.

Wishing you a very blessed Week as you keep your eyes fixed on Jesus.

Philemon

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