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1 John 4:7-21

 

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.

 

By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, "I love God," and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.(ESV)

 

Who He Is

Thursday of Epiphany 2

23 January 2014

Christian people sometimes seem stumped when some sly person asserts that the Bible never directly calls Jesus God. Of course, this is a lie on the face of it (1Jn 5:20; Tit 2:13; 2Pt 1:1; Jude 25). However, there do seem to be too few direct references to the divinity of the Son in the Bible. But, even if it were true that the Bible does not directly call Jesus God, it almost doesn't matter. The works the Savior does are none other than the works of God. What He does for us tells us who He is. Perhaps you know someone who has an advanced academic degree, such as a Ph.D., who continually insists on being called "Doctor." He stands on the ceremony of his name or title. This strikes most people as more than a little pompous. Plenty of Ph.D.s never live up to their title, because, although Doctor means "teacher," they couldn't teach their way out of a paper bag. We would prefer a true teacher to a Ph.D. in our child's classroom, especially if the Ph.D. cannot teach and is no true doctor.

 

Jesus will not stand on ceremony. The Bible spends little time crowing about divine titles. Jesus is the true teacher, who acts to save his people from their sins (Mk 10:45). The Bible, unlike modern praise choruses, spends little time praising God, instead it focuses almost exclusively on proclaiming the divine work of Christ for the salvation of the world. He is the Savior we need, who talks little about himself and does much. He seeks not his own honor and glory, but our good, our salvation, our righteousness before God, and our eternal life. Jesus spends no time saying, "Hey, look at me! I'm God." In fact, during most of His ministry, He commands the people not go about trumpeting the fact that God has come into the world in His person (Mk 7:36). This is the very message that threatened the mission and ministry that God had planned to carry out. Jesus had no desire to be acclaimed God so that He could be carried off on the shoulders of the crowd like a footballer who has just scored the championship goal.

 

Jesus is about doing the works of the One who sent Him. If you look at what He has done for you, you will have no doubt who He is. Go where the Lord of glory offers Himself into crucifixion for you, you will see into the heart of God. Look into the sorrow streaming eyes of the Son of God hanging on the cross's wood; you will see your salvation. The crown of thorns pressed upon Him by the weight of the world's sin crush from His head now wounded delicate rivulets of blood upon His temples. Only God was crucified for you. Only God looked with sorrowing eyes upon you. Only God bore the weight of your sins. What He does tells you who He is.

 

John Cassian

 

"It is clear that through the mystery of the Word of God joined to man, the Word, which was sent to save men, can be termed Savior, and the Savior, who was born in the flesh, can through union with the Word be called the Son of God. So through the common use of either title, since God is joined to man, whatever is God and man, can be termed altogether God. And so the same Apostle well adds the words: 'No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us' (1Jn 4:12). He tells us that he believes, and declares that he is filled with divine love, who believes that Jesus is the Son of God. But he testifies that the Word of God is the Son of God, and thus means us fully to understand that the only begotten Word of God, and Jesus Christ the Son of God are one and the same person.

 

"Do you want to be told more fully that, though Christ according to the flesh was truly born as man of man, yet in virtue of the ineffable unity of the mystery, by which man was joined to God, there is no separation between Christ and the Word? Hear the gospel of the Lord, or rather hear the Lord saying of Himself: 'This is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent' (Jn 17:3). You heard that the Word of God was sent to heal humanity. Here you are told that He who was sent is Jesus Christ. Separate this, if you can, though you see that so great is the unity of Christ and the Word, that it was not merely that Christ was united with the Word, but that by virtue of the actual unity [of person] Christ may also be said to be the Word." 

 

John Cassian, Seven Books on the Incarnation, 4.5
 

Prayer

Lord Jesus, just as our patriarch Jacob was adopted as God's heir by grace, grant that we too, who have tried to deceive your fatherly care, might also be adopted by grace into Your messianic community, the church. Amen.

 

For Luke George, that the Lord would grant him peace and strength as he undergoes therapy for leukemia

 

For all those who are being wearied by the changes and chances of this life, that they may be lifted up as on the wings of an eagle

 

For all those who supported the cause of life by marching for the unborn yesterday, that their voices would be heard and that our nation would protect the life of all children, both born and unborn

 

For all those who doubt the faithfulness of God because they are disappointed by the faithlessness of humans, that they might come to know God as He desires to be known

Art: MEMLING, Hans  Adoration of the Magi (c. 1470)

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