I reread six biographies on Jesus Christ last week.(see endnote) None is long, but each is profound and unique. I read because I needed to remind myself who this man is whom God calls my older brother.
How long has it been since you considered Jesus, not for what He said about Himself, but for what those who knew Him best said about Him?
John studied Christ. He knew Him well, and was perhaps Christ’s closest and most trusted friend during His life. John sat by Jesus, ate beside Him, leaned against Him, left all to follow Him, and stood alone at the crucifixion; the only disciple to not desert Jesus in His final hours. John was ultimately exiled for his faith. In that isolation, endowed with the wealth of solitude, he reflects in his writings the Word of God who became flesh: Jesus Christ (ref. Jn. 1:1ff).
John wrote three of the biographies I read. In the candor of an uneducated, working man John simply points out, Jesus Christ explained God (ref. Jn. 1:18b). As only John could do, he summarized the entire spectrum of Christ’s life, work, death, resurrection, and ascension in three words: Jesus explained God. If there is a subject that has more ink devoted to it other than the nature and identity of God, I don’t know what that subject is, but John would condense all these volumes to this: Jesus Christ explained God.
The writer of Hebrews says in his biographical sketch, Jesus Christ is the exact representation of God’s nature (ref. Heb. 1:3). He exemplified—exactly—the person and personality of God. He demonstrated how God thinks and feels, what wounds Him and causes Him to laugh, what chills Him and what thrills Him. In Christ we capture exactly what is on God’s mind and in His heart. In other words, Jesus Christ explained God exactly as He is.
John also states that Jesus was full of grace and truth (1:14b) and that through Him grace and truth were realized (1:17b). Grace is God’s determination to reveal His heart to us. Truth is the absolute, unalterable, unequivocal declaration of God.
Thus, Jesus Christ is God’s resolve to say with absolute certainty, “This is what my heart toward you is like. It is unalterable. My determination to communicate My heart to you is constant and Jesus Christ is the embodiment of all that I am.” Restated: Jesus demonstrated God’s heart (grace) exactly as it is (truth). He is the heart of God exemplified. He is the fact of God embodied. He is the incarnation of the invisible God. He is all that God is whether seen or unseen, comprehended or incomprehensible, heard or unheard, believed or doubted. In other words, if you want to know who God is, closely consider Jesus Christ.
To know Jesus Christ is to know God. To comprehend that Jesus Christ is constant in His companionship is to realize the same about God. To believe Jesus Christ advocates on your behalf before God is to say God desperately wants you to be reconciled to Him.
Jesus Christ gave His life for us so He could give His life to us and live His life through us. Why? So that we can understand—through Christ’s indwelling tutelage—exactly who God is. Tozer says, “Nothing twists and deforms the soul more than a low or unworthy conception of God.” Our Heavenly Father wants to be known by us and Jesus Christ is His signature effort to touch our hearts with His own in order to make this possibility a reality.
God became poor, as we are poor. He became humble, as we are humble. He became rejected, as we are rejected. He became lonely, as we are lonely. How do we know? Because Jesus Christ, the exact representation of God and the one who explained Him for us, was poor, humble, rejected, and lonely. He became such in order to make God approachable and our redemption possible.
Jesus Christ is a fixed point, an immovable history, the absolute persona of God’s character and nature. While there are many reasons He is determined to be the same today as He was yesterday and will be tomorrow, I think one overlooked reason might be His determination to be known exactly as He is. In order to expedite this desire, He remains constant. (Ref. Heb. 13:8; Jm. 1:17.)
While I have not come to know God as I truly desire to know Him, I do recognize more now than ever before that He is my Father and comprehend to increasing degrees the effort He has expended to become personal. However, my prayer of late has been, “Dear Jesus, I do not know you as deeply as I want to know you. Help me understand what it means to have a brother like you.”
To consider more about the person and work of Jesus Christ, my novel No Mercy, and its sequel, Battle for the Round Tower (check BonefishPublication.com for availability), offer portraits of Him against the storyline of an adventure tale.
endnote: Ref. Jn. 1:1-5, 9-18; Phil. 2:5-11; Col. 1:15-19; Heb. 1:2-13; Rev. 1:13-16; Rev. 19:11-16