Who are you? If someone really wanted to get to know you and find out what kind of person you truly are, how should they go about doing that? They could talk to people who know you well: your spouse, friends, coworkers, children, or people at church. But, would that reveal the true you? They could find out how you spend your time, what you invest your money in, and what hobbies you have. All of these things would tell them something about you, but even then, would they really know you? What if they took a peek at your computer and checked out your browsing history? I’m sure that would be enlightening.
But, would it tell them everything?
What reveals who you truly are?
I don’t know what it is for me. You could look at my books, read my blog posts, even ask my wife and daughters, but I don’t think any of these things really tells the whole story about who I am.
I don’t know what could.
You’d think it would be even harder for God. After all, he’s God. How could we possibly know even a small fraction of what it means to be God – his glory, majesty, power, grace, goodness, wisdom, love, justice, and more. If I can’t think of a way to show people who I am, surely it must be that much harder for an infinite God.
But, God doesn’t have that problem. He knows exactly how to reveal himself to us. And, he has done just that.
Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. (Jn. 14:9)
What an amazing statement. No hesitation, no uncertainty, no doubt. Philip asks Jesus to show them the Father and without missing a beat, Jesus points to himself—I reveal the Father so perfectly that if you have seen me, you have seen the Father.
Take a moment and think about that.
Some guy—a regular person, a construction worker—tells you that he and God are so tight that if you just look at him, you will see the Father. How would you respond?
And, Paul agrees.
According to him, Jesus is “the image of the invisible God” (Col. 1:15; cf. 2 Cor. 4:4). Although we were all created to be God’s image bearers in the world, revealing God in creation, Paul sees Jesus as the only one who really gets it right. The only hope for the rest of us is to be re-shaped in the image of Jesus so that we can again image God the way we were supposed to (Rom 8:29; 1 Cor. 15:49).
Indeed, Jesus reveals God so perfectly, that the author of Hebrews says that “He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature” (Heb. 1:3).
How can a human being reveal the infinite God? I don’t know. But, he did.
Immanuel…God with us.
From the very beginning of the story, God has been revealing himself to us, reaching out to us and calling us to know him. Although always failed to understand, God never gave up. Instead, he promised that one day he would send a true prophet who would come and tell us about God.
Once again, God has done more than we expected. He didn’t send just another prophet with words we could ignore.
He sent the Son himself.
God promised, Jesus came, true revelation.
[You can read the rest of the posts in this series on the Gospel book page.]
A lot of good links over the last couple of days. Here are some of the more interesting.
- PZ Myers points out that Answers in Genesis has been guilty of using history jacking (hijacking your browser history to discern what sites you’ve been visiting) and using that information to categorize visitors. Interestingly, although they have a distinct category for “Christian” users, if you’ve visited creationmuseum.org, joelosteen.com, or beliefnet.com, you get categoriezed as “other.” HT James McGrath and Stuart.
- Mark Galli has a great post on Evangelizing Ourselves: The Gospel is for Christians Too.
Let me suggest, in fact, that whenever we communicate to non-Christians that we have found it and that they have not, that we have been chosen and that they have not, that we are the apple of God’s eye and that they are not—whenever we assume that stance, consciously or not, we are communicating something other than the gospel, the Good News.
- Kevin DeYoung has a very helpful post on The New Testament’s Use of Old Testament Prophecy. Summarizing Doug Moo, he offers six principles and two important questions to keep in mind.
Sometimes with good apologetic and evangelistic motives we will point to all the OT prophecies about Christ and then run down a list of all the NT fulfillments. There is truth here, but if we set things up as “here’s the prediction; here’s the prediction come true” we are bound to confuse people. We may even cause people to doubt the prophetic witness rather than trust it.
- In “This is not my father’s Pentecostalism!“, Roger Olson reflects on the shift from the anti-intellectualism of his early Pentecostal background to the Pentecostals of today.
These Pentecostals are widely read in biblical and theological studies, immersed in the latest trends in missiology, even leading the way in some areas of theological reflection such as the Holy Spirit and world religions.
- Daniel Kirk has posted his SBL paper: “Toward a Theory of Narrative Transformation: The Importance of Both Contexts in Paul’s Scriptural Citations“
Our attempts to read Paul, in other words, will come up short to the extent that we either (a) neglect the narrative flow within which the cited verse occurs in its original OT context, or (b) allow that OT context to be entirely determinative for what the verse means in Paul.
Today, the monastery is a vibrant stronghold of traditional Ethiopian Orthodox monasticism. And at first glance, it even seems impervious to modern Ethiopia’s fast-changing society. But it, as do all facets of Ethiopia’s monastic culture, confronts new realities and an uncertain future.
- Brian LePort continues his discussion of Derrida, deconstruction, and postmodernism with a post on Interpreting Derrida: Deconstruction. (You can see a list of his other posts here.)
- Bible and Interpretation has a fine essay on the Tel Hazor Excavations: Highlights from Recent Seasons. HT Jim West
- Patheos is hosting a discussion of Revelation of the Magi: The Lost Tale of the Wise Men’s Journey to Bethlehem (HarperOne, 2010), which deals with an ancient syriac tradition regarding the three wise men.
- James K.A. Smith announces that Brazos is giving away a copy of his Letters to a Young Calvinist. XSM2B7AG8BTA
Wifi is a wonderful invention. I’m sitting in a nice, secluded cabin on Lummi island. Woke up to a rooster crowing on a nearby farm and spent the last couple of hours reading, drinking coffee, and enjoying a cold, misty morning. I just got caught up with my blog reading, and thought I’d go ahead and pass some links along. To keep the list manageable after a few days off, I’m just going to highlight the more interesting ones, and I’ll keep the comments to a minimum.
- Anne Rice has been interviewed by NPR on her recent decision to leave the Catholic church.
- NT Wright has a great article on C.S. Lewis’s Mere Christianity – explaining both what he appreciates about the book and what he dislikes. (HT Mike Bird)
- Here’s a debate between Richard Gaffin and Wayne Grudem on the nature of prophecy today. (HT Tim Challies)
- Jim West discusses theological exegesis.
- NYT has an article on pastoral burnout.
- Paul Helm has posted the fourth part of his review of Kevin Vanhoozer’s Remythologizing Theology.
- Jim West carried through on his promise to revive the Biblical Studies Carnival.
- Patheos has begun a discussion on the future of evangelicalism. The series began with the topic of “transforming the church” and posts from Scot McKnight, Collin Hansen, Kevin DeYoung, Justin Taylor, Ed Stetzer, Matthew Anderson, Al Hsu. Next up: “transforming the culture”
- iMonk disucsses Rachel Evans’ open letter to Ken Ham.
- And, Jonathan Acuff discusses why Christians sometimes act like jerks online. (HT Colin Hansen)
- Peter Leithart posts a brief comment on “the prophethood of all believers.” He didn’t address the question of prophecy being a gift that seems limited to particular individuals in the NT, but the post was still thought provoking.
- Tyndale House has a nice resource page of Bible study software (free and commercial) that you should keep an eye one. (HT Andreas Köstenberger)
- Mike Bird finds both old and new perspectives in the Epistle to Diognetus. I’m not sure that he’s actually found the “missing link” between the two camps, but it was interesting to see the interweaving of soteriological and ecclesiological concerns like this.
- Jeremy Pierce suggests that the predominance of son/slave language in the NT can be connected to the Father/Lord – i.e. we relate to the Father as Sons and to the Lord Jesus as slaves.
- And, as of a few minutes ago, Slovenia is now on top of Group C at the World Cup.