Essentials 1 - Reveal
Essentials 1 - Reveal
Discover the life-changing truth that God has engaged us in conversation.
Because Jesus is the Son of God we can know what God is like.
If we want to learn something new there is normally an obvious place to start. Whether it’s learning a new instrument or a new language or a new sport, it makes sense to begin in the right place. The same is true with people. If we want to work out who someone is, there’s an obvious thing to do – engage them in conversation. Stop guessing what they are like and start listening to what they say. Think about what you could do on a train. You look up from your phone and you notice that a stranger has sat opposite, and you want to know, Who is this person?’ Well, what could you do to find out who they are? Well, I guess what you could try is to stare at them for a long time. You could look at what they’re wearing or what they’re watching or who they’re with, and then you could try and put together in your mind, try and construct an idea of who this person is. But at the end of the day it’s all guesswork.
What we need is to engage them in conversation. We need them to reveal themselves to us, and when they start talking we need to listen – the same is true with God. Most of us would like to believe in a god. The idea of living in a pointless universe without a personal God who can provide us with purpose and protection… that is a frightening prospect. Whereas the idea of belonging to and being loved by a caring God… well, that’s absolutely thrilling. But how do we know the truth? How do we move from hoping it is true to knowing it is true? What we need is for God to engage us in conversation. Everything would change if God turned up and spoke.
Near the beginning of a short book called Luke’s Gospel, there is a staggering claim made about the identity of a man called Jesus. Listen to how Luke describes the moment when Jesus’ mum discovers she is going to have a baby: Ever had one of those days that dramatically changed midway through? You got up in the morning with a plan but then something happened that rerouted your life. Well, Mary was having one of those days… minding her own business, doing what was normal and then bang! An angel appeared and announced to her that she would conceive, even though she would still be a virgin. Now, we’re not supposed to hear this stuff and think to ourselves, Well, of course, that’s the way it was back then.’
We’re supposed to ask ourselves the question, What kind of person is announced in such a dramatic way?’ and the answer is revolutionary! The claim is that Jesus was the Son of God in human flesh. The word God is a very elastic term. Lots of people like to talk about God but not everyone means the same thing. For some, God is a lonely individual. For others, God is a life-giving power – not personal, but present in some indescribable way, a bit like the Force in Star Wars. But for Christians, God is a loving community of three divine persons.
The Bible teaches that the God who is responsible for all the good and beautiful things, from the tiniest particle to the grandest planet, is a united family of three divine persons: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit – it’s what Christians call the Trinity. It’s the delightful conviction that for all eternity, at the very heart of the universe, is a relationship of perfect love. And in Luke’s Gospel we discover that Jesus is one of these divine three. Now, this news about God explains so much. Think about relationships. Why are they so important to us? Why do we appreciate good friends and enjoy good company? Because the God who is relationship made us to experience life in a similar way. Or think about music. Regardless of our musical taste, why do we love the combination of distinct instruments playing together? Because the God who is Father, Son and Holy Spirit made a world to work like them.
The amazing news of the Bible is that 2000 years ago, one of the members of this eternal family, the Son of God, was born into the world he created. When a new mother holds her baby for the first time there is always nervous excitement – but can you imagine how Mary felt as she stared down at this wriggling bundle of joy? Because as she looked at Jesus, she was staring at the Son of God in human flesh. Now, the implications of this are huge! It means that God has communicated with us. It means that God has engaged us in conversation. Therefore, we don’t have to guess if there is a God and we don’t have to imagine what he is like. Because when Jesus speaks, he reveals divine truth. The only question is, will we listen to what he has to say?