A Glimpse of God
Lord, Show Us the Father
If you want to familiarize yourself with San Diego, there are various things you can do. You could choose to walk the city streets. Visit the Gas Lamp Quarter District. Go to the pier. Take a stroll along the many beaches. Spend the day at Sea World or tour Balboa Park. Why not venture out to the highest peak? Take a hike up Cowles Mountain and look down. From that vantage point, you get to see San Diego from a different perspective. Or you could reference it on Google Maps and see where it is in relationship to Southern California, the rest of the country, or the world for that matter.
Likewise, if you want to get a glimpse of God, there is a tangible resource that is readily available to us—the Bible. From the standpoint of the gospels, Matthew, Mark and Luke give us narrative accounts, but John gives us the longest view of the Son of God standing way, way back. In John 1:1 we read, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” What John is doing here is looking at Jesus standing where we are. His tone is uniquely set apart from the other gospels giving us a more exalted view. By reaching back to the first book of the Bible, John hinges his story to the Genesis account—the book of beginnings. He picks up the view of creation when God said, “Let there be light; and there was light” (Gen 1:3). John touches on the theme of light illuminating our understanding of Jesus, “The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world” (Jn 1:9).
Further down the story, this thought reappears in chapter 14:9 when Philip said to Jesus, “Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied.” Jesus replies, “Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and you still do not know me? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father.”
Here’s where it gets slippery. At this point we come to one of the paradoxes of the Christian faith—a seemingly absurd contradiction that is, in fact, true: the moment we try to grasp God directly, He eludes us. We can’t see God. God is invisible. He is intangible. It’s just like peeling an onion. You strip off the outer layer only to find another layer. And we ask ourselves, “Where is the onion? Have we got it?” We then proceed to peel layer after layer until nothing is left for our teary eyes to see. In effect, this tearful experience illustrates a profound mystery. God is a mystery. Just when we thought we had Him cornered, He escapes our notice. He cannot be grasped by our sight or by our senses.
Yet John says that God has made Himself known through His Son. In other words, our knowledge of God is a real knowledge yet it is an indirect knowledge. He who has seen Me has seen the Father. Peter testified before Jesus, “We have come to believe and know that you are the Holy One of God” (Jn 6:69). When people ask us, “Where is God in life? Where is God in the world? Why can’t we see Him?” John writes, “No one has ever seen God. It is God the only Son, who is close to the Father’s heart, who has made Him known” (Jn 1:18).
Copyright 2009, Gicky Soriano. All rights reserved.