February 8th 2009

The Eyes Of Faith

“No-one has ever seen God, but God the One and only, who is at the Father’s side, has made him known.”
John 1:18 (NIV)

Anyone who is over 50 years old will remember Nikita Khrushchev. He was the colourful, blustery character who, as the leader of the former Soviet Union, banged his shoe on the table while speaking to the General Assembly of the United Nations. He was also known for declaring that the first man in space, the Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin, “flew into space, but didn’t see any God there.” There is no record that Gagarin ever made such a statement but Khrushchev was certainly right, although not for the reasons he had in mind.

That’s because the Bible itself tells us that no human has seen God at any time, except for one man, God’s own Son, as we read above.

Unlike Matthew, Mark and Luke, who wrote about Jesus’ human birth, the apostle John begins with Jesus’ divinity, and tells us that Jesus was God from the beginning. John declared that the Son of God became human and dwelt among us as one of us. And when Jesus died and was raised to life, to the right hand of the Father, he remained human, the glorified human, fully God and fully human.

It is the mystery of the gospel that God cares so deeply about humanity and that he loves the whole world – and that includes you and me and everyone we know and love. God demonstrates his love for humanity by meeting humanity, by meeting each and every one of us, in the person of Jesus Christ. In John 5:39-40 John quotes Jesus as saying: “You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life” (NIV). The Bible is there to lead us to Jesus, to show us that, in Jesus, God has bound himself to us by his love so strongly that he will never let us go.

In his gospel, John quotes Jesus as saying, “Then you will know that I am one with the Father. You will know that you are one with me, and I am one with you” (John 14:20 CEV). Jesus is one with humanity and one with the Father, which means that humanity shares in the Father’s love for Jesus and in Jesus’ love for the Father. So the gospel is telling us that because God loves us so completely and irreversibly, and because Jesus Christ has already done everything for us that we could not do for ourselves, we can joyfully repent and believe in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Saviour, renounce ourselves, and take up our cross and follow him.

The gospel is not a call to get an angry God off our back; it’s a call to embrace and enjoy the unfailing, unconditional love of the Father, Son and Spirit; a love that has been and is, there every moment of our lives, and that will last forever. We won’t physically see God in space any more than we physically see him on Earth. It is through the eyes of faith that the loving God reveals himself to us–faith in Jesus Christ.

Our loving Father, help us to see that we are one with you in and through Jesus. Help us to see one another through the eyes of faith as you reveal yourself to us.

Study by Joseph Tkach

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