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God Made Visible

During Advent, we celebrate and bring to the forefront of our imagination the God who was made visible. The Gospel of John sums up the advent of God with one sentence: “And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth” (Jn 1:14).

“The Word” refers to God’s thinking and his self-expression. When God thinks, it is Jesus. When God expresses himself, it is Jesus. Notice the singularity of the claim. Jesus is not one Word among others, as though God had more than one mind and more than one mouth. Rather, wherever and whenever God thinks and expresses himself, it is Jesus Christ.

Moreover, it has been this way throughout eternity. The Word is not created. He was “in the beginning with God” and is himself God (Jn 1:2). He has been fellowshipping with the Father from all eternity (Jn 17:5, 24). This means that in knowing Jesus, we are not knowing someone “one step removed” from God. In knowing Jesus we are knowing God himself, God in his eternal essence. In seeing Jesus, we are seeing the very heart of God.

In fact, far from being created, the Word is actually the Creator. John tells us that everything was made by the Word, through the Word, and for the Word (Jn 1:1-3). Creation exists, in other words, as an expression of God and for the purpose of people knowing God. Creation’s purpose is found in Jesus Christ.

The Word is the life and the light of all people (Jn 1:4). God wants people to know him and share in his life (Jn 17:3). Whenever and wherever people experience true life and true light, it is Jesus Christ, whether they know it or not (Jn 1:4, 9). Whereas the enemy covered up the true God in a veil of deceptive darkness that brought death, Jesus turns the light on so we can see who God really is. In doing this, Jesus gives life.

In Christ, we see the glory, the beauty, the fullness, the truth of God. Even though no one previously had ever seen God’s eternal, transcendent nature, now in the Word of Jesus Christ God is made known (Jn 1:18). The invisible God is made visible. In Christ, the previously concealed God has been unambiguously revealed.

—Adapted from Is God to Blame? pages 26-28

Image by Clarisse Meyer via Unsplash

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