God is like Jesus, who was The Word with God from the beginning, who created all things, who became flesh and walked among us.
To say that Jesus is like God, is to base what God is like, on whatever picture of God that has ever been written by others - onto the divine. No, instead, the only accurate picture of God is Jesus. God would give up divinity to walk with sinners. God heals and dines with those who religion says is off limits. God comforts the doubters. God forgives his murderers. God rises from the dead and instead of retribution to those who abandoned him, brings a word of peace. We know God is like this because Jesus showed us.
The scriptures say this about Jesus:
In the beginning was the Word (JESUS), and the Word was with God, and THE WORD WAS GOD. (John 1:1)
If you knew Me, you would know My Father also. (John 8:19)
He who sees Me sees the One who sent Me. (John 12:45)
... He who has seen Me has seen the Father; how can you say, 'Show us the Father' (John 14:9)
He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. (Colossians 1:15)
For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form (Colossians 2:9)
And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature... (Hebrews 1:3)
And we know that the Son of God has come, and has given us understanding so that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life. (1 John 5:20)
The revelation of God in scripture should always be used to gauge the accuracy of any depictions of God in scripture. Jesus is perfect theology. If this isn't the way scripture is read, disaster happens in the name of God. Slavery was justified by how people interpreted God in scripture. Discrimination and marginalization of the LGBTQ community was, and still is, justified by how people interpret God in scripture. Patriarchy, misogyny etc the list could go on.
"It's right for God to slaughter women and children any time he pleases." John Piper
This is NOT the Abba that Jesus revealed and is NOT the gospel of Jesus Christ. This calvinistic message is responsible for warping Christian minds into dualistic thinking for over 500 years. This is what happens when we don't view God to be fully revealed in Jesus.
Let's see what Jesus has to say about this mindset :
When His disciples James and John saw this, they said, "Lord, do You want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them?" But HE turned and REBUKED THEM, [and said, "You do not know what kind of spirit you are of; for THE SON OF MAN DID NOT COME TO DESTROY LIVES, BUT TO SAVE THEM." (Luke 9:54-56)
It is clear that Jesus who is the visible image of the invisible God (Colossians 1:15) and the exact representation of His nature (Hebrews 1:3) does not agree with the above statement.
Jesus Christ, the Word/Rationale of God, God in the flesh, came to clear up all evil misconceptions of our Heavenly Father and as stated by the gospel writer John, "For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him." Notice it says through him, NOT from him...
I think if any "slaughtering" by God would have been warranted it would have been when his own creation killed Him on the cross. Instead we see His true character as He cried out "Father forgive them..."
As christians when we say things like "God does what he/she wants so we don't have to understand why ________ happened", we are not being true to one of the essential tenets of Christian faith. That God is fully revealed in the person of Jesus.
GOD IS LIKE JESUS! I hope you realize how amazing that really is. Any image, thought or text/writing about God that is not an exact replica of the person of Jesus is not God.
I hope you take all your preconceived notions of an angry, mad, vengeful god and throw it in the trash for the God of mercy, the God of grace, the God of forgiveness, the God of peace, Mr Happy himself, the God of Jesus Christ! The Savior of the world!
In the words of Brian Zahnd, "God is like Jesus. God has always been like Jesus. There has never been a time that God was not like Jesus. We haven't always known this. Now we do."
Nathan is a Husband, Father and aspiring Jesus follower. Nathan was raised Mormon, turned agnostic, to fundamentalist evangelical, to a sojourner following grace wherever it leads. Nathan says, "We live in a pluristic world and to be able to transcend former assertions and still include those in different places without passing judgment is something I aspire to do everyday. I love writing about theology, the Divine and the universal question "why"." Nathan's hope is to continue the conversation of being human - using the language of the faith tradition he knows and loves. He currently resides in Texas, U.S.A.
See all previous articles by Nathan Jennings