No one has ever seen God. But the one and only Son is himself God and is near to the Father’s heart. He has revealed God to us.
How do we know God? How can we know God, not just theologically, but relationally? Let’s keep these questions in mind as we turn to John 1:15-18.
After celebrating the Incarnation of the Word of God, who became human and revealed his divine glory (1:14), the Gospel of John underscores the Jewish context of these events. The Word Incarnate was the one about whom John the Baptizer testified (1:15). The law was given through Moses, “but God’s unfailing love and faithfulness came through Yahushua Mashiach / Christ.” Thus, the Word Incarnate fulfills Jewish hopes for the Messiah and completes God’s revelation that began with the Mosaic covenant.
This brings us to verse 18, which is one of the most astounding verses in all of Scripture. It is also a tricky verse to translate and interpret. Yet its basic meaning is clear … and stunning. “No one has ever seen God” underscores God’s distance and difference from human beings. Unlike the pagan gods who showed up on earth periodically, the one true God has never been directly seen with human eyes. Thus, we cannot know God truly through our own powers of observation and discernment. We need God to reveal himself to us in a way we can understand.
This is exactly what happened in the Incarnation: “[T]he one and only Son is himself God and is near to the Father’s heart. He has revealed God to us.” The Word of God is also the Son of God. He has seen God and is thus able to reveal God to us. But, more strikingly, the Son is God (see John 1:1). Therefore he reveals God to us, not only in words and deeds, but also in his very person.
When we gaze upon Yahushua, we peer into the face of God. Through Yahushua, we can know God, truly, intimately, personally. Yes, our knowledge of God is not complete (1 Cor. 13:12). But insofar as we know God through the Word Incarnate, our knowledge is genuine and trustworthy. Thus our relationship with God is shaped by his self-revelation in Yahushua, the fully divine and fully human one. We honor God when we allow Yahushua to show us who God is and what it means to walk in fellowship with him each day.
(Mark D. Roberts)
QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER REFLECTION: How has Yahushua shaped your understanding of God? How has God’s self-revelation in Yahushua impacted your relationship with God?
Gracious God, apart from your help, we would never know you. Oh, we’d know something about you from observing your creation, and our hearts would yearn for you, but we’d never know you truly unless you chose to make yourself known to us.
So, today we thank you for revealing yourself to us. You have made yourself known through the Law and the Prophets, through calling Abraham and forming a covenant with Moses. But most wonderfully, you have revealed yourself to us by becoming one of us. In Yahushua, the Word Incarnate, you have made yourself known to us. Thus, you invite us to have a truthful, intimate, vital relationship with you.
All praise be to you, Gracious God, for revealing yourself to us in through Yahushua Your Son. Amen.