If one were to do a Google Image search for George Washington, a number of different pictures will pop up. Since he lived in a time before photography, all we have are paintings and sculptures by various artists, each one representing him in a slightly different way.
Image via Pixabay
Were you to actually go and do the search, you’ll notice that, even though they are varied, the various images all pretty much capture the same nose, the same brow, the same facial expressions, the same demeanor. Each one may emphasize something a little differently, but if you put them all together, we must be able to get a pretty accurate sense of what he looked like.
Still, none of those paintings are going to be the same as if you were to sit physically across the table from George at dinner. To be face-to-face with him, obviously, is going to be the clearest and best representation of what George looked like that you could possibly get!
A picture is good, but seeing the actual person is better.
When it comes to “seeing” God, the matter of course is more complicated. God is spirit (Jn 4.24), and thus invisible (1Tim 1.17; Heb 11.27), and so it is harder to picture exactly who God is and what He is like.
Of course, crucially, we have His Word – the inspired text of Scripture, which teaches us about God’s character, qualities, and nature. We cannot know God apart from His Word.
However, as the lame infomercial sales pitch once said, “But wait! There’s more!”
God has shown Himself to the world in another crucially important way, beyond just His written Word:
In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days He has spoken to us by His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, and through whom also He made the universe. The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of His being, sustaining all things by His powerful Word. (Heb 1.1-3)
There it is!
In the past, God spoke through the prophets, who gave us His Word. The apostles have added the New Testament to this book. This Word is holy, infallible, and revered, and serves as our canon – our “measuring stick” – for all things relating to God.
But God has now also spoken in another way – through His Son. His Son, who is “the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of His being.” (Heb 1.3).
In this, God makes Himself very, very clear: If you want to see God, just look at Jesus.
The apostle John would tell us as much as he started writing his gospel account of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. John wrote, “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.” (Jn 1.18)
The apostle Paul would also clarify this idea later in Colossians, writing, “The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation” (Col 1.15), and, “For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form,” (Col 2.9).
Again, the meaning of these verses is clear: If you want to see God, you just need to look at Jesus. God is everything that Jesus is, and Jesus is everything that God is. God cannot be anything that we don’t see in Christ, and Christ cannot be anything that we don’t see in God.
In Jesus, God has revealed Himself to the world in the most amazing way. While it is challenging to comprehend the overwhelmingly great and mighty and majestic and holy and invisible God, it is much easier to comprehend a Man who represents all that God is. We cannot truly see what God in Heaven is like, but we can easily see the Man from Nazareth who acts and speaks for Him and as Him.
For those who don’t believe in God or who struggle to know Him or who have difficulty getting their heads around Him, our answer can be very plain: Just get to know Jesus. Don’t worry right now about the massiveness and mystery of God – just get to know Jesus. Start there! In getting to know Jesus, you are getting to know God. In getting to know Jesus, you will have everything you need to know about God.
Jesus is the fullness of who God is. To see Jesus is to see God. To see Jesus is to see God in the clearest and most approachable way possible; such is the grace of God in revealing Himself to us in this way!
So may we go deeper in our knowledge and communion with Christ, and as we do, grow in the knowledge and communion with God. It is the beautiful, accessible, powerful, and easiest way of knowing God better.
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