The Francis Asbury Society

FACE TO FACE: Intimate Moments with God 12/28

Posted on | December 29, 2015 | Comments Off on FACE TO FACE: Intimate Moments with God 12/28

Scripture reading: Matthew 1:18–25

What Christmas Teaches

Us About God

Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father.” (John 14:9)

 

Christmas is the astounding announcement that God himself has come and taken up residence in our midst. The one lying on Mary’s lap is none other than Immanuel (God with us). This means that for those who desire to know what God looks like, they need look no further than the manger. It’s true that no one has ever seen God. But Jesus has come to make him known (John 1:18). So if you want to know what God is like, come and see. God is like Jesus.

Philip Yancey meditates deeply on the question, “What is God like?” in his book The Jesus I Never Knew. His conclusion is profoundly simple and simply profound: God is like Jesus. Yet this conclusion makes him pause as he realizes how the story of Jesus confronts him with a deity unlike any other deity in any other religion in the history of the world! No one in their wildest imagination could have fabricated a God like this! Jesus helps us to understand that God is not what you might expect.

God is humble. There is something oxymoronic about a humble God. If the Maker of all things were indeed to show up on earth, we would expect perhaps an earthquake, tsunami, or hurricane. But a baby? The Muslims delight in repeating again and again that “God is great.” But frankly, no supernatural revelation was needed to reveal that fact about God. The truly startling thing that Jesus teaches us about Almighty God is that he is lowly and humble.

God is approachable. Until Jesus came, every religion worked hard at emphasizing how frightening it was to approach God. Fear was the dominant reaction when anyone was in the presence of deity. But the coming of Jesus changed dramatically the way we think about God. He reveals a God who is like us in every respect except sin (Hebrews 4:15–16). This is a God with whom we can get up close and personal.

God is the underdog. It sounds irrational, even sacrilegious to call Almighty God an “underdog,” and yet the coming of Jesus reveals a God who seems no match for the evil powers of darkness. What chance does a baby have who is born to a homeless, unwed mother, forced to flee from her homeland as a political refugee? Without money, without power, without political connections, without influence

. . . what chance does he have in a world like this?

God is courageous. What courage it must have taken for God to lay aside the power, glory and comfort of heaven to come and live as a peasant carpenter. He knew well the history of Israel and how they treated prophets, and he knew how they would treat him.

 

When one begins to realize the shocking reality of the God Jesus showed us, well, little wonder that the world did not recognize him (John 1:10). Little wonder the Jews rejected him (John 1:11). Little wonder his own disciples struggled to grasp who he really was (John 14:9). But the most important question is this: What about you? Do you recognize your God and Savior? Or are you still looking for some other deity more in harmony with your expectations? Those who receive Jesus as he is are infinitely blessed.

 

But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God. (John 1:12)

 

 

 

The prayer preceding all prayers is, “May it be the real I who speaks.

May it be the real Thou that I speak to.”  —C. S. Lewis

 

 

point to ponder If the God you worship always conforms to your expectations, then you are probably worshipping a false god.

 

prayer focus For the grace to receive and believe in Jesus as he reveals him- self to be, not as we desire him to be.

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