December 3, 2019
And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen His glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. ... No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father's side, He has made Him known. (John 1:14, 18)
"Show us the Father," said one of Jesus' disciples on the night before He died. "That will be enough for us" (John 14:8). Leaving aside the jaw-dropping audacity of this—I mean, you don't ask for much, do you, Philip? Still, I can sympathize with what he asked. It's not that easy living with an invisible God. Sometimes I yearn to just "see" Him—to get rid of the confusion and fumbling that marks my faith life—to know Him the way He knows me.
To this request, Jesus has the perfect answer. "Whoever has seen Me has seen the Father... Believe Me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me!" (John 14:9b, 11a) Paul echoes this: "He is the image of the invisible God" (Colossians 1:15a).
That means that one of the reasons Jesus was born among us is so that we can see God—so that, as human beings, we can touch and see and handle and know what God is, in the context of our own lives (see 1 John 1:1-3). Do you want to know what God is like, and what He thinks of you? Look at the baby of Bethlehem. There is God in the flesh, come down to you. There He is—not in power or unreachable glory, but lying helpless in a manger made for animals.
But look further. There He is as a grown man, patiently teaching and healing and answering questions. There He is, providing wine for a couple's wedding, weeping for a friend who has died, talking to a woman with a bad reputation as if she were His equal. There He is—beaten, tortured, mocked, dying. And there He is—risen from the dead, and promising that same everlasting life to you for free—if only you will take it.
Here is God, up close and personal. Now we can know Him.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, thank You for making Yourself known to us! Amen.
Advent devotions are from Lutheran Hour Ministries.