249 – COHERENCE – V
Man, since immemorial times, looked for a god. The story of all peoples reveals this. APIS, an Egyptian god, represented by an ox; OSIRIS, the main Egyptian god, and many more. ASHUR, the main god of Assyria; BAAL, god of the Canaanites; ASHTAROTH, goddess of the Sidonians; MILCOM, god of the Hitites; DAGOM, god of the Philistines; MARDUK, Babylonian god; HORMUZ, Persian god; AHRIMAN, god of evil, in PERSIA; BRAMAH, great Hindu god. VISHNU, the conservative; SHIVA, the destroyer. The Greek have more than thirty gods on Mount Olympus. The Romans have another bunch of gods. We mentioned a few names to prove that from the beginning of History men invented gods in their blind search, worshipping the Sun, the Moon, the animals, and the very men when sitting on a throne.
God, the true God, creator of everything and everybody, decided to reveal himself to humanity in his royal attributes, for the attributes of false gods, a figment of human imagination, were cruel and merciless, just like men’s. But God sent someone in his place to do such a great work. The name of this person is Jesus Christ. And Christ came in the time predetermined from eternity (Gal. 4:4-5). And the work done by Jesus Christ revealed the Father, revealed the character of the Father, revealed the works of the Father, revealed the righteousness of the Father, revealed the love of the Father, revealed the will of the Father, the grace of the Father, the kingdom of the Father, and the creation of the Father.
Jesus declared, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me” (John 14:6). There are not two ways, but only one. The way given by Moses does not take us to the Father. Moses told the people: God is on Mount Sinai (Ex. 19:11, 20). Jesus said: The Father is in me. “He who has seen Me has seen the Father” (John 14:8-9). The god revealed by Moses was outside Moses, and the God revealed by Jesus was inside Jesus. Jesus, then, explained this mystery to Phillip, “Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? The words that I tell you, I speak not from myself; but the Father who lives in me does his works. Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me; or else believe me for the very works’ sake” (John 14:10-11).The difference between Moses and Jesus is that Moses said: Do you see that cloud of fire? That one is Jehovah (Ex. 13:21-22). And Jesus said: Do you want to see and know God? Look at me. I and the Father are one (John 10:30). Whoever wants to know the Father has to know me first (John 8:19).God, the Father, the Creator, had never communicated with men before Jesus; therefore Paul declared,“Who alone possesses immortality and dwells in unapproachable light; whom no man has seen or can see” (1 Tim. 6:16). And Jesus also declared, “All things have been handed over to Me by My Father; and no one knows then Son, except the Father; nor does anyone know the Father, except the Son, and anyone to whom the Son, and anyone to whom the Son wills to reveal Him” (Matt. 11:27). Let us look at how God, the Father, can be seen in Jesus Christ:
- The Father sent Jesus to show that he does not condemn anyone, and has never condemned, for God, the Father, loves his creatures and does not want them to perish (John 3:16-17).
- God, the Father, knows the state of moral poverty of men and women. God knows the power of carnal passions that drive everyone to reprovable and wicked practices, but he wants everyone to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth (1 Tim. 2:3-4). To prove that, God, the Father, does not condemn anyone. Paul wrote: “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men” (Titus 2:11). And so that there would be no doubt about it, Paul said, “For it is for this we labor and strive, because we have fixed our hope on the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of believers (1 Tim. 4:10). In face of all these revelations about the magnanimous character of the Father God, the apostle John said: “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God, and knows God. He who doesn’t love doesn’t know God, for God is love” (1John 4:7-8). From God, nothing bad or detrimental comes to men. “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom can be no variation, nor turning shadow”(James 1:17).The Father was and will always be good and merciful, and he does not change (2 Cor. 1:3-4).
Jesus, the express image of God, has only done what is good. “How God anointed him with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him” (Acts 10:38). Jesus healed everyone, indistinctly. When John the Baptist, from the prison, sent his disciples to ask him if he were the Christ, he answered, “Jesus answered them, “Go and tell John the things which you hear and see: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have good news preached to them” (Matt. 11:4-5). Jesus, going against the law of the Old Testament, did not condemn an adulterous woman, caught in the very act, and delivered her of the ones who were going to stone her (John 8:1-11). A prostitute came into the house where Jesus was invited to eat by a Pharisee. Jesus sat at the table, as the sinner took an alabaster vase of perfume and anointed Jesus’ feet, and, crying, bathed his feet with her tears, and dried them with her hair. The Pharisee was scandalized, but Jesus forgave the sins of the woman, giving her salvation. Jesus declared, concerning himself: “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13). Who were these friends? The answer is in Matthew 9:9-13.
Jesus revealed to the Jews who wanted to stone him: “I showed you many good works from the Father; for which of them are you stoning Me?” (John 10:32). The words that Jesus spoke were not spoken by him, but by the Father, who was in him (John 17:7-8). Jesus did a great deal more good works that were not registered. If they had been, the whole world would not be able to contain them(John 21:25). And Jesus was never tired of repeating: The works that I do, it is not I who does them, but the Father who is in me does them. The words that I say to you, I do not say of my own initiative(John 14:10).
The question that comes up is the following: The works of Jesus, the things he taught, the example he gave, and the love with which he loved, have they all come from the Father God? (John 17:7-10). The apostle John saw the love of God in the works of Jesus, in the kindness of Jesus—such a perfect image of the Father God, that he declared, “We are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life” (1John 5:20). Therefore, if this is the truth about God, the Father of Jesus, why did Jehovah reveal himself, and did it in such a diverse way? He revealed himself to the Egyptians through pestilences and plagues. He revealed himself many times through furious and unrestricted wrath, with the purpose of destroying his own people (Ex. 32:10; Num. 14:11-12). Though he had promised Moses to forgive him (Num. 14:19-20), he did not, and he swore in his wrath that Moses would not enter into his rest, that is, Canaan, as he had promised (Ex. 3:8-10; Heb. 3:17-19). If only good comes from God the Father, why did Jehovah, hearing the cries of the hungry people, sent them food, and when they were eating it, he killed them? (Ps. 78:23-31). Why does Jehovah find pleasure in destroying sinners? God, the Father, saves sinners, and Jehovah finds pleasure in destroying them?(Deut. 28:63). If the love of the Father comes from heaven, the kingdom of his love, why is the wrath of Jehovah deeper than hell? (James 1:17; Deut. 32:22-24). The differences of behavior and character are so evident, so striking, that theology will never be able to erase them, for it is all written in the Old and New Testaments. Whoever has eyes to read, may read it. Whoever has eyes to see, may see it.
by PASTOR OLAVO SILVEIRA PEREIRA