Thursday, July 27, 2006

Christian Faith: The Basics, Part 27

I know. I know. I just announced yesterday that I was putting this series on hold. But I got inspired.

Continuing to use Martin Luther's Small Catechism as our "skeleton" and specifically, explicating the Creed, I want to begin to talk with you today about God the Son, Jesus the Christ.

We start with the grand finale of the beautiful overture to the Gospel of John:
No one has ever seen God. It is God the only Son, who is close to the Father’s heart, who has made him known. (John 1:18)
Like another Gospel writer, Mark, John never gives an account of Jesus' birth. We have to rely on Luke and Matthew for our narratives of the Christmas story. But it's John's prologue, read by candlelight and framed with the singing of Silent Night that steals our hearts and stirs our minds at Lutheran churches each Christmas Eve. It's John who succinctly and eloquently captures the essence of Christmas.

How is that? Because his words cut to the very core of what it means to confesses that, "Jesus is Lord." That is, "Jesus is over everything and everyone." (In another place, John quotes the risen Jesus describing Himself as, "the Alpha and the Omega," which is to say that He's the start and the finish, the beginning and the completion.)

Christianity is a faith rooted in the belief that God has revealed Himself to the world, repeatedly. And definitively.

Christian faith isn't based on the singular word of some toga-wearing holy man or some latte-drinking, pipe-smoking pseudo-intellectual, or a treasure-hunting, scam-selling opportunist telling us, "This is what I think God is like..." Or, "This is what God told me exclusively..."

We don't need to speculate about God's nature.

We don't need to accept the word of one person, the way Islam or Mormonism expect us to do.

God has revealed Himself to lots of people. In fact, the Old Testament describes how God slowly, patiently built up a whole people, revealing Himself in countless ways to many over the centuries, preparing that people--the Hebrews--to become the family into which the Savior would be born.

And then He showed up.

God the Son.


None of us, at least none of us in our currently earthly states, could look the perfect God of the universe square in the face. But God wanted to establish a relationship with the whole human race. And so, He became one of us, veiling His glory, sharing our humanity, walking among us. The divine became human. The prince became the pauper. The King became the servant. Jesus made the heart of the Father known to us. God Himself.

But why? That's a story. The best story.

More on that, God willing, in the next post of this series.

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