They’re the Same Picture: The Nature & Character of Jesus and the Nature & Character of God

April 17, 2024

A few weeks back we started our latest series on revealing who the Jesus actually is that we claim to be at our centre and one of the things I noted was that when we discover who Jesus is, we get the bonus of knowing who God the Father actually is as well. And this is because Jesus is the perfect revelation of God. I’ll be returning to this point later in the series because it is–or it should be anyway– the starting point for any theological discourse within Christian orthodoxy, but this week I want to just reinforce this profound truth because, frankly, it’s easy to lose sight, separating “God” from “Jesus” and when we do that, we are at risk of distorting both the character and nature of Jesus and the character and nature of the Father. 

If you’re like me, you grew up thinking of Jesus as the “softer side of God.” Whereas God the Father is the disciplinarian and gets frustrated with us, Jesus is the merciful one; God seems distant while Jesus draws near; God is all about the law and Jesus is all about grace; God’s majestic and powerful and Jesus is humble and submissive; God gets frustrated easily while Jesus is over there saying, “Go easy on ’em, Dad!” And although the Bible can easily be read in such a light as to arrive at this dichotomy between the Godhead (nevermind the unique character of the Holy Spirit!), the overwhelming arc of the New Testament, from the gospels through the epistles, presents a very different perspective in how we are to understand Jesus and the Father: Jesus is in fact the PERFECT revelation of the Father.

For instance, here’s just a SAMPLE of verses that speak to how Jesus perfectly reveals who the Father is:

  • Matthew 11:27: All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.
  • John 1:18: 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 5:19: So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise.
  • John 8:19: They said to him therefore, “Where is your Father?” Jesus answered, “You know neither me nor my Father. If you knew me, you would know my Father also.”
  • John 10:30: I and the Father are one.
  • John 12:45: And whoever sees me sees him who sent me. 
  • John 14:9: Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?
  • John 14:11: Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the works themselves.
  • 1 John 5:20: And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true; and we are in him who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life.
  • Colossians 1:15: He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.
  • Hebrews 1:3: The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.

That last one always stops me in my tracks: “the exact representation of his being.” Really?! Wow. Meghan Good notes “Jesus was God’s authorized representative, sent to set straight the record about who God is, about what God wants, and about how reality really works.” (Divine Gravity, pg. 42). Again, I’ll be talking about this in the coming weeks more but for this week I’d love it if we would just commit to meditating on these verses and consider the implications of what it means to assert that the Jesus of the gospels – the one most epitomized through his selfless, others-oriented, enemy-forgiving love on the cross – is the consummate depiction of God the Father. I confess I don’t fully understand all of this nor the full implications of it but that’s okay. This, my friends, is a profound mystery and one we’ll explore further in the days and months and years to come at Grassroots Church. I hope you’ll continue to join us as we explore this mystery together.


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