December 4

Knowing God

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. John 1:18

Today’s verse reveals a Christmas mystery captured in the popular song “Mary, Did You Know?”. The song climaxes with the lyrics, “that sleeping child you’re holding is the great I AM.” As both God and man, Jesus’ life reveals who God is.

Consider a few highlights of Jesus’ life. As a young boy, he was perfectly obedient to his parents. As a 12-year-old, he astounded the teachers of the law at the Temple with his knowledge. He celebrated a wedding and miraculously provided wine out of water so that the couple would not be embarrassed for running out (John 2:1-10). When he came across the funeral procession of a young man whose widowed mother had now lost her only son, Jesus’ heart went out to her. Jesus raised the son back to life so he could care for his mother
(Luke 7:11-15).

As people crowded around Jesus in Jericho, a short tax collector named Zacchaeus climbed a tree to get a glimpse. Out of the throng, Jesus singled out Zacchaeus to bring salvation to Zacchaeus’ whole household (Luke 19:1-10). Jesus regularly ate with “sinners” but condemned the self-righteous.

And when those closest to him betrayed him, Jesus eagerly sought their return. He kept giving Judas chances to repent, even while Judas betrayed him (Luke 22:48). In the midst of trials and beatings, Jesus gave Peter a knowing look to turn him from denial (Luke 22:61).

When the disciple Philip requested, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us,” Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?” (John 14:8-9)

What does Jesus’ life show us about the Father? It reveals that our God is compassionate. He knows each one of us personally, and he cares about the details of our lives. He celebrates our joys, empathizes with our sorrows, and relentlessly pursues us when we turn from him.

But the greatest mystery Jesus reveals is the depth of the Father’s love. As Jesus proclaimed, “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (John 15:13). Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection reveal just how far the Father will go so we can live with him forever.

Dear Father, thank you for revealing the mysteries of your love for us through the life of Jesus. Amen.

Dr. John Meyer serves Martin Luther College as director of Graduate Studies and Continuing Education.