Question: how do you recognise someone? We’re really good at recognising people. Even when a person grows a beard, or changes their hair, or wears different clothes, we can still see if it is our mum. What they look like is a big part of it, but we recognise people by their voice, by the way they move, the way that they behave.
I went to a wedding just a little while ago. Weddings are fun – here’s my Brother-in-Law’s wedding, with my two girls and their cousin all dressed up for the occasion. But back to the wedding. Bumped into this guy: (picture of FRA). He’s related to this guy: (GLA) – here he is in close up. And all the family seem to maintain that this guy is looking more and more like the other two as the years go on. I don’t know about that, but I do know that family resemblance can be quite a powerful thing.
At Alpha last Wednesday, we talked about Jesus. We looked at the things that Jesus taught – when Jesus started to compare himself with the Father. ‘If you have seen me, you have seen the Father’, he said. “I and the Father are one”. “No-one comes to the Father except through me.” And we said that either Jesus was telling the truth, or he was delusional. But if he was telling the truth, then he ought to share the characteristics of the Father – just like my brother and I are growing to like more like our father. And you remember what the Father is like? We talked about it last week.
Exodus 34:6-7 “The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished.”
So if Jesus really is God’s Son, and if he really is here to show us what God is like, then all the things we said about the Father ought to be found in Jesus.
He ought to be someone compassionate – caring for those who are suffering. So we would expect Jesus to help those who are sick, or hungry, or afraid. And he healed the sick, fed the hungry, and gave hope to the frightened.
He ought to be merciful – living out the grace and forgiveness of God. And Jesus came, forgiving those who had sinned, accepting the messed-up people around him.
He ought to be just: and Jesus told those who presumed on God that they were in danger of condemnation. He spoke hard words to the self-righteous, and he threw the exploiters out of the temple.
And we said that the Father was the God who spoke: and Jesus came to tell us and show us what God the Father is like.
Everything that we declared the Father was, Jesus showed that he was. He demonstrated that he was the spitting image of the Father. He looks like his dad. And that means that we can confidently say that he wasn’t deluded; he was – and is – just exactly who he claimed to be. God made flesh; the living Word of God.