Answering the question of ‘Who is Jesus?’ in a few sentences is about as hard as trying to explain the existence of time in a couple of words. Nonetheless, I’m going to attempt to, at least, explain the God I’ve come to know. Yes, I said ‘know’. He isn’t abstract or distant, He is here with me every day. It is said that faith is believing in what you cannot see and when I open my eyes, I see the work of God all around me. For me, it isn’t so much a matter of faith as it is a matter of accepting what I see as the work of God. The depth of his story is so much deeper than I can explain in 3 short parts. It is hard to stop and break it all down, please don’t take my word for it. I hope that if you read this it will prompt you to do two things. 1) Ask God to reveal himself to you and then let Him say whatever He wants to say without preexisting notions interfering. 2) Give the Bible a chance, take a look and see what it says for yourself; see if what I write is true.
The Role of the Sacrificial Lamb
I discussed the Old Testament God with you in the last two parts and ended with this idea that God needed to do something much bigger in order to bring true and lasting redemption to humanity. Something I didn’t mention was the sacrificial lamb. The very nature of sin demands death as payment. It, simply, is the cost of sin. God established for the first humans an alternative; they could offer a sacrificial lamb to take the place of their death. It couldn’t be the sick, filthy, lame lamb no one wanted; it had to be as perfect as possible in order to be a sufficient replacement. In this way the lamb paid the price of sin rather than the humans themselves. Was it what God wanted? No. What He had wanted was lost long ago when Adam and Eve pursued their own desires over a relationship with our Creator. Since God wasn’t ready to give up on humanity He provided an alternative, as unsatisfactory as it may have been, it worked. The price sin demanded was appeased temporarily through the sacrificial lamb.
But the time for a temporary fix was closing. God came to earth and entered into humanity as a baby in order to know every part of being human and, ultimately, to be the most perfect, eternal “fix” for sin. Jesus came to be our permanent sacrificial lamb.
The God who made his way to earth is not pious, or vindictive. He did not come as an angry God or glorious God. He came humbly.
Isaiah also tells us that the Messiah was unattractive. He came in every way possible so as to not attract shallow flaky believers, but to find those who were willing to love him back because they came to know Him intimately and to trust Him.
“He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain…surely he took our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken down by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed…We all like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way…he was led like a lamb to the slaughter…For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors…the Holy One of Israel is your redeemer; he is called the God of all the earth. The LORD will call you back…” Isaiah 53-54:6
The God who came, wanted redemption and healing for our souls and He still wants that for each and every one of us.
So He came gently, humbly, and as a servant to show the world how to be gentle and humble and how to serve.
Who Are You God?
I asked Him once: “What do you want me to understand about you? Who are you really?” He answered me with John 13, the chapter in the Bible where Jesus washes his disciple’s feet. The King of the Universe got on his knees before his students and gently washed their stinky, filthy, calloused, fungus feet with joy.
What the heck? Really?
I wonder how many times He had to dump the water before he was done washing those 12 pairs of feet.
Feet are dirty, but there is some symbolism there because not only does Jesus gently wash our stinky feet, he washes our stinky souls too.
He came to offer us peace. He came to pay the price that sin requires and to offer us an opportunity to know him intimately. He only asks that we accept the gift and not reject him.
And, no matter how much we might want him to, He can’t simply give it to us. We have to receive it. He isn’t the kind of God to push it on us or make us accept it. He offers this gift, what we do with it is up to us, we have that choice.
Nabeel Qureshi states it well in Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus:
“But how can Allah be just if He “simply forgives’ arbitrarily? God is not arbitrary. He is absolutely just. How would He be just if He forgave arbitrarily? No, He cannot ‘just forgive us if he chooses’. The penalty for my sins must be paid.”
Jesus paid the price. But He didn’t stay dead. He is God after all. And death cannot hold God hostage. I worship a loving, compassionate God who defeated death for our sake because He loves us so intently, so deeply that He refused to let sin have the final say. He refused to give up on us. And, He hasn’t given up yet. He is waiting…
Waiting for you to decide if you believe him or not.
He is a good God. He does care. He cares deeply. Much more deeply than most of us realize or can even fathom but sin has a place in this world and the nature of sin is death and destruction. The knowledge of good and evil isn’t so wonderful after all. Satan knew what he was doing that fateful day when he deceived Eve, but God isn’t to blame for that, selfish ambition is.
We live in a cursed world far from the world it was intended to be, but the good God who created it intends for restoration and ultimately He will have it.
If we trust Him and believe what He says then we can also see Him at work in the details of our lives.
And, there is nothing arbitrary about it.
Author: Jacqi Kambish
This is the third part of a series “Who is God?” and part of Is God REALLY Good? Take a look at Part 1 and Part 2 of “Who is God?” if you want. Please know that the conclusion of Is God REALLY Good is due to post in two weeks on Monday, May 8th, 2017. Feel free to share any thoughts.