The Tornado of Divine Revelation

Posted by on Aug 25, 2015 in Uncategorized | No Comments

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“…no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal Him. Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”

– Matthew 11:27-28

 

How Do We Know God?

How can a creature know its creator? How can the finite know the infinite? How can a time-bound dust mote know the eternal God? In these verses, Jesus tells us. And the answer? Only through Him.

No one – Jesus says – no one knows God the Father except for God the Son…….and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal Him. That is a startlingly bold and divisive thing to say, “No one will ever know God unless I choose to reveal Him to them.” And yet Love Incarnate says just this to every human being on the planet. If this is what Love has said, then to contradict it –  to say that there are many paths to God, to say that everyone knows Him, to say that Jesus is an option but not the option, to endorse any of these popular doctrines of tolerance – is to oppose Love.

There are many directions we could go from just the few thoughts already mentioned, however, I want to consider just one: how does the Son reveal the Father? Again, there are many answers that could be given, but I think we have a good answer presented to us in the text quoted above. See what Jesus says directly after claiming to be the only one who reveals the Father:

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”

Come to me.  Jesus Christ is the Exegesis of God (Jn 1:18), He is the enfleshed brilliance of His glory (Heb.1:3), He is God with us (Matt.1:23), the Incarnation of YHWH’s Name and Nature (Jn 8:28, 17:26), and His primary revelation of God the Father is not a teaching, not a list of commands, it is nothing that we can memorize or master, rather, His primary revelation of God the Father is the invitation to come to Himself. Would anyone know His Maker? Would anyone know her God? He will be found nowhere else than Jesus Christ.

It is impossible for someone to know God if they do not know Him in the person of Jesus Christ. To look at Christ and see a liar, or to see a human teacher, or to see a prophet, or to see an irrelevant moral philosopher, or an archangel, or a “god,” to look at Christ and see anything other than our Lord and our God (Jn 20:28) is to be without God.

But, if we look at Christ in scripture and recognize our God….if we turn the eyes of our heart on the living Jesus Christ and see in Him – in His eternal existence, incarnation, life, victorious death, resurrection, ascension, intercession, return, and universe-illuminating reign – if we see in Him our God communicated perfectly to us, then we have come to know God the Father in the only way He can be known – in His Son.

 

The Incredible Invitation

So, with all this in mind, see how wonderful, how absolutely wonderful, Christ’s revelation of God is to our souls……..what does it look like when the incarnate Exegesis of God speaks from the heart of God to the rebellious people of God? What does it look like when Uncreated Life reveals Himself to His creatures? What does it look like when the Heart and Mind that sustain reality itself speaks to us with revelatory words? Will it be like Sinai? Will the earth split and people hide their faces in terror as God descends veiled in fire and smoke and lighting? No, not this time……..what, then, will it look like? What will it sound like?

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”

Can it be true? Can it be true? Can it be that, at the heart of reality, there is a call to fellowship? A call to communion? A call to “enter in” and find rest? Can it be that this is what pulses beneath it all? An invitation? What staggeringly good news….what words to set all of our anxious fears and suffocating “what-ifs” to rest….the heart of God Almighty is an invitation to “come in and know Him better,” a call to resting communion with Him. This is what it looks like to have the Father revealed to us in Christ, “Come to me and find your rest under my merciful yoke.”

 

The Tornado of Divine Revelation

Yes, God’s heart is an invitation to come in….but if Jesus is the communication of God to us, we have to ask ourselves – is this all we see of God in Christ, an invitation to communion? No, we are also told that Jesus Himself will slaughter millions of His enemies (Jeremiah 25:33, Revelation 19:21) and be the divine agent of world-splintering wrath (Revelation 6:16-17).

So what are we to make of this? Is God’s self-revelation the sweet and strong Shepherd King who invites us into communion with Himself, or is it the avenging warrior who breaks the world under outpoured wrath? We might ask more simply, is He a Lamb or a Lion?

I think the illustration of a tornado might help us to understand the Lamb-like and Lion-like revelation of God in Christ. A tornado is a violent funnel of wind and lightning that – like a lion – tears to pieces anything in its path. However, at the very center of the tornado is what is called its “Eye,” a patch of silence and stillness where a person can stand and be unharmed by the monstrous storm raging around them. The edge of a tornado is a Lion, the heart of a tornado is a Lamb.

In the same way, if we are opposed to God, if we are running from Him and refusing to submit to Him, then we are putting ourselves on the destructive edge of the “tornado,” we are in the path of His wrath. However, if we press in, if we run to, if we throw ourselves wholly on His sovereign grace in Christ, then we are drawn into the “eye” of His self-revelation. As with a tornado, so with God, rest is found by pressing in, not running away.

And the last thing that needs to be addressed is: how can sinners like us even find the “eye” of God’s self-revelation in the first place? How can there be an invitation to rest when we have made ourselves His enemies? The answer is – beautifully – the cross.

 

Calvary as Ground Zero

Calvary is ground zero for God’s self-revelatory tornado because in Christ crucified we see both the decimation of holy wrath and the invitation of sovereign grace. We see the ravaging of wrath’s winds as Christ’s body is broken and His soul drowns in our hellfire….but we also see the quiet peace of God’s heart as the savior willingly pours His life out in love so that we can be forgiven and drawn to Him….on Golgotha, like nowhere else, we see that God is both Lion and Lamb, both Storm’s Edge and Storm’s Eye, both Just and Justifier of the ungodly. Or to say it simply, there we see that God is Love.

So, may we know the Father in the Son. May we see our God in Jesus Christ. And may we respond to His call, running into the Storm’s Eye and finding invincible rest in the heart of our Crucified and Risen King.

 

 

 

 

 

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