Imagining God

I want to draw you a picture, but I’m terrible at drawing, so I’m going to use words instead.

I want to draw you a picture of God.

What image comes to your mind when I say that? Do you think of some white bearded old man in the sky, high above the earth, looking down on us from a distance? No, that’s not the picture I want to draw for you. I want to draw, in words, a picture from the Bible, which looks very very different from that image of the old man high above us, distant and unknowable. You see, the Bible says that Jesus is the image of the invisible God.

The invisible God – that’s God the Father, the one no human can ever see and live. But Jesus – God the Son – is how God shows us what he looks like. When his disciples asked him to show them the Father, Jesus said: “Whoever has seen me has seen the Father.” So if you want to know what God is like, you don’t need to use your own limited human imagination – no, just look at Jesus. Look at how he lived, and look at how he died.

That’s the picture I’d have drawn for you if I was good at drawing – a man hanging on a wooden cross and bleeding to death. That’s what God is like: loving us with a self-sacrificial love, willing to suffer an excruciatingly painful and humiliating death for us. Dying so that we can live.

Not distant and unfeeling. Not someone you have to try and appease, hoping to do enough good to win his favour but never being sure. Not someone you have to try and second guess. No, he cares enough to reach down to us, to come down and live as one of us and die for us, and to give us his written Word, the Bible, so that we can know the truth. He loves us! He loves, therefore he communicates. He loves, therefore he sacrifices himself for us. He loves, therefore he shows us what he’s like, and invites us into his family. All his riches are available to us, through Jesus.

No need to imagine. He’s told us, and showed us.

 

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