Both the New Testament reading (Hebrews 1:1-14) and the gospel reading (John 1:1-18) from today’s Daily Office highlight a truth that will probably sound familiar to most folks who’ve spent some time around church: If you want to see and understand the nature of God, just look at Jesus. In Hebrews, for example, we’re told: “The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being” (v. 3); and in the gospel of John we read: “No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known” (v. 18).
But despite how frequently we’ve heard this truth, it seems to me like we frequently struggle to align ourselves with it, choosing instead to align our priorities (and our ideas about what God must be like) with the assumptions of culture rather than the example of Christ. For example, while many people seem to carry around an unspoken belief that God is a “cosmic punisher,” just waiting for us to slip up so that He can judge and condemn us, Jesus said that “It is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom” (Luke 12:32). And then he demonstrated that reality by laying down His life for for us (Romans 5:8). No wonder Paul would later write: “If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will He not also, along with Him, graciously give us all things?” (Romans 8:31-32)
But it’s not just our attitudes about ourselves that God-revealed-in-Christ challenges. What should we think God feels about the poor, to whom Jesus directed much of His ministry and through whom He said we could minister to Him (Matthew 25:40)? How should we treat our enemies, when the God-we-meet-in-Jesus said we should “love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you” (Matthew 5:44)? If the Son does, in fact, make the Father known, what should be our attitude toward the outcast (the rejected and the sinner), when Jesus said that He came to seek and save the lost (Matthew 18:11)?
Today, let’s see the glory of God, shining in the face of Christ. And let’s walk in His Light, which overcomes the darkness.