And what is he like? John 1.14 gives the answer: full of grace and truth. And verse 16: From the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another. This is what God, our Father in heaven, is like. He is not cold and distant. He is like Jesus. If you want to know the heart of God, keep reading the Gospels and seeing the heart of Jesus. He is the kind of God who welcomes little children, the kind of God who hates religious hypocrisy, the kind of God who throws parties for the outsider, who opens the eyes of the blind, who feeds the hungry, heals the sick and raises the dead, who brings good news for the poor. In Jesus, we discover that God’s yoke is easy and his burden is light; he is gentle and humble in heart. He is the kind of God who, like Jesus, is easily misunderstood, but not easily ignored. He is a God who knows our suffering and temptations from the inside, who can sympathise with our weaknesses. He washes smelly feet and weeps over death. He is a God who would rather die than live without you. He is the kind of God who won’t let death stand in the way of his plans.
And all that is good news. Because left to ourselves, we generally assume that being divine is the opposite of being human. But we need to let God show us what God is like and stop imposing our ideas on him. We think God couldn’t become human because that wouldn’t threaten his holiness and perfection. The good news is that in Jesus, that is simply not true. God’s perfection is seen in his coming to live in our messiness; his holiness consists of making us clean.
And so in Jesus, Immanuel, we know that God is with us. Not just any god, not the god of our nightmares, yet neither the god of our fantasies. Instead, the God and Father of Jesus is with us. What wonderful news!
A couple of paragraphs from my sermon today.