When individuals face danger or experience untold tragedy in their lives, they frequently cry out: “Where is God.” The story is told of a young boy who viewed a picture of the Crucifixion of Jesus and said, “If God had been there!” Yet, God was there. This short exclamation discloses the glory and the mystery of the Incarnation. Christianity rests upon the fact that God was there in that awful bloody torture. It was God’s design in order to reconcile the world unto Himself in and through Jesus’ death and Resurrection from the dead. Even though one witnesses the very depth of the degradation of human nature in the Crucifixion of the Son of God, nevertheless, one, at the same time, observes God’s highest revelation—Jesus as an atonement for the sins of the world.
As one peruses the four Gospels, one is not confronted with philosophical dogma, but rather with One who should be believed above any person who ever walked the face of this planet. God became Incarnate, which is to say, He became flesh. Jesus was not a phantom, or ghost, He was not an archangel, nor was He a demigod. He was God. Yes, He was both human and Divine. The author of Hebrews captures the essence of Christ’s humanity this way:
Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil— 15 and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death. 16 For surely it is not angels he helps, but Abraham’s descendants. 17 For this reason he had to be made like his brothers in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement forf the sins of the people. 18 Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted. (Hebrews 2:14-18)
In the human life of Jesus, one meets God. Jesus told Philip, “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father” (John 14:9). It is in Jesus that God is present and active in redeeming humanity. One can also say that it is in Jesus that God comes to meet men and women. Paul writes about this truth of the Gospel:
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! 18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.(2 Corinthians 5:17-19)
Christians should bow their heads in gratitude that God’s presence—His very Self—is made manifest in the words and works of Jesus His Messiah. Jesus’ message about Himself is quite revealing as to His preexistence and unique relationship with God the Father (see John 17:1-5). Pay attention to Jesus’ priestly prayer: “And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began” (17:5). His language sets forth a unique oneness with God; He brings in a unique moral authority over men and women, an authority that exceeds any other authority on earth; He points to a ministry of salvation toward men and women that only He can accomplish; and, finally, He implies that He Himself is an exclusive master over the powers of evil.
In the Gospels, one witnesses Jesus speaking with authority. Even Matthew, about thirty years after the Sermon on the Mount, could not eliminate this concept of Christ’s authority and teaching. He gives his editorial comments about the reaction of the people to this Sermon: “When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching, because he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law” (Matthew 7:28-29). Christ’s teaching is embedded in the Gospels, especially the Sermon on the Mount. The Sermon on the Mount is representative of His kingdom ethics. Also, within the Gospels, one is immediately confronted with the teaching that Jesus is charged by God with the redemptive recovery of the human race (see again John 17:1-5). For one to rebel against the Prince of Life, one experiences the very heart and core of sin in all its ugliness. As one examines his or her own life, one is conscious of the failures he or she suffers on a daily basis. One can only find redemption in and through the finished work of Christ upon the Cross.
Christ is the object of one’s faith. For one to believe in Christ is to believe in God. When one worships God, one worships Christ. God’s grace reminds each person of how one should live. When one reflects upon Christ purchasing the church with His blood, one should bow one’s total life to God—“For me to live is Christ.” What does the church mean to you? Remember, a living church is a worshipping church; it is not a people holding all the correct doctrines of a particular sect of God’s people. Do you allow pleasure to keep you away from church? Do you allow---------? Why not fill in the blank yourself! Are your serious about salvation? Do you actually seek God in your life? Is God first in your life? Many claim to know God, but, at the same time, their actions deny Him (see Titus 1:16). Do you trample the Son of God under foot by your actions toward spiritual things? Do you insult the Spirit of grace by your lifestyle? Have you read the Book of Hebrews lately, especially Chapter ten? If not, why not take the time to read now?
f Or and that he might turn aside God’s wrath, taking away