Jesus is the full image of the Father. What I see in Jesus is true of his Father.
Are Jesus and God two different gods?
Have you ever thought that the Old Testament depiction of God and the New Testament depiction of Jesus were somewhat at odds? That the God of the Old Testament is strict, jealous, and vindictive and Jesus is loving, gentle, and easy-going? Of course, two-dimensional descriptions of Jesus and his Father–or of any person–miss the depth of their reality. Two simple examples: Jesus got really angry at the shenanigans in the Temple (Matthew 21:12), while the Father told Isaiah to “speak tenderly to Jerusalem” (Isaiah 40:2). These are not two different gods, as the heretic Marcion suggested, but different expressions of the same God.
The Son is the image of the invisible God, the one who is first over all creation.
– Colossians 1:15 CEB
Both Jesus and the apostle Paul made it clear that Jesus was the spitting image of his Father. Jesus went so far as to say that their family resemblance went beyond superficial similarity and to identity.
To see Jesus is to have seen the Father.
If you have seen me, you have seen the Father. I am one with the Father and the Father is one with me… What I say isn’t said on my own. The Father who lives in me does these things.
– John 14:9-10 CEV
The heart and behavior of Jesus is identical with the heart and behavior of the Father. The essence of Jesus is the essence of the Father.
Whatever Jesus believes is what God believes
When Jesus looked at the young ruler “and loved him” (Mark 10:21), so did the Father. When Jesus refused to condemn the adulteress (John 8:11), neither did the Father condemn her.
When Jesus looks at you and loves you, so does the Father.
When Jesus refuses to condemn you, so does the Father.
Jesus shows how to accept God’s love
Why are love and acceptance so hard to take, especially from your Father?
One of the reasons Jesus is so important to our relationship with God is that he relates to us not only as a teacher and messiah, but also as a fellow human being, a brother. Brothers can be less intimidating than fathers, so knowing Jesus and accepting his love can be easier than knowing our shared Father and accepting our Father’s love.
If you want to lead a simple, integrated life that leads you to experience the constant divine companionship for which you were made, you have to believe that divine companionship is something good and worth having. You might grudgingly obey a strict, jealous, and vindictive father out of fear, but would you invite him to watch a baseball game with you?
When you see in Jesus a self-sacrificing, healing, tender, merciful, and righteous person, remember: what you see in Jesus is what you get in God. (tweet that)
This post is part of the God Ideas Series.