“I have seen the burden God has laid on men. He has made everything beautiful in its time.
He has also set eternity in the hearts of men;
yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end.”

Ecclesiastes 3:10-11

GOD

 “God.” What do you think of when you hear that word? What thoughts, images, and emotions come to mind? Maybe you think about an angry, vengeful “God” with a white beard and lightning bolts ready to strike. Perhaps you believe “God” is distant, unknowable, out in the universe but unconcerned with our daily lives.

But what if God—the true God (without a white beard and lightning bolts)—can be known? What if the God of the universe actually wants us to know Him?

 

 “I had always felt life first as a story
and if there is a story, there is a Storyteller.”

G.K. Chesterton

STORY

Maybe you've heard somewhere that the Bible is a “handbook for life.” Maybe you’ve heard that the Bible exists to teach people what’s right and wrong—sort of like a big rule book. While we believe the Bible does make sense of life and the Bible does have some rules within its pages, more than anything else, the Bible is a story.

The Bible is a story about the God who created the universe—stars, galaxies, planets, earth, atmosphere, animals, everything you can see and everything you can’t—the God who created humanity (Genesis 1—2). It wasn't long before things went wrong. The first humans that God made (ever heard of Adam and Eve?) rebelled against God and chose their way over God’s way (Genesis 3). When that happened, the fellowship between God and humanity was broken, sin and death entered into God’s creation.

Ever since that day, humans naturally choose their way instead of God’s way. It’s in our nature. It may not sound like that big of a problem, except that man’s way is not the best way. Man’s way ends in sin and death, God’s way is full of joy and life.

You see, God is not absent or uninvolved in His creation. He has always been at work. God had a plan to restore what was lost, to get his creation back to the way it was always meant to be. He gathered for himself a people, a nation, called Israel. God’s people would be a holy people (holy means “set apart”) that would be blessed by God and in turn, bless the world. It was the start of God’s great restoration project.

Israel’s story in the Hebrew Scriptures (commonly called the “Old Testament”) is loaded with ups and downs. They didn’t always fulfill their end of the bargain to love and obey God and bless the world. But God remained faithful to His plan.

You see, humanity needed an intervention, something to restore the broken fellowship between God and humankind, and God planned on sending someone.

 

“You should point to the whole man Jesus and say, ‘That is God.’”

–Martin Luther 

JESUS

All throughout the Hebrew Scriptures looms the shadow of the One God would send to finally restore fellowship between God and humanity. You see it in the great escape from slavery in Exodus, the sacrifices of Leviticus, in the kings that never quite got it right, and in the prophecies of what “the Anointed One” would look like (the Hebrew word is “Messiah,” in Greek it’s “Christ”)—it all lead up to one man. His name is Jesus.

Jesus’ family line came through God’s people, Israel. He would do what Israel could never do; Jesus would obey God perfectly and bless the world. This was God’s ultimate plan, the great restoration—Jesus would reconcile the world back to the way it ought to be. Jesus would restore sinful humans into relationship with a holy God.

The New Testament Scriptures that speak of Jesus and His followers said that Jesus is “the image of the invisible God,” that He is “the exact representation of God’s nature,” and that Jesus “was in the beginning with God” and that He “was God” (Colossians 1:15, Hebrews 1:3, John 1:1).

So, how do you know God? Know Jesus.

Perhaps the primary question Jesus might ask of the Western world in our day is the same question Jesus posed to his disciples 2,000 years ago—"Who do you say I am?" (Luke 9:20). The answer to this question is the starting point and the dividing line between life and death.

If you read the Gospels—Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John—you will see in Jesus’ words and actions that he won't let you get off the hook thinking He’s simply a teacher, prophet, or revolutionary. No, this Jesus claims to be the Son of God—the way, the truth, and the life—the living water, the bread of life, and the rightful King.

Jesus of Nazareth—the Jesus of history, the Bible, and the foundation of billions of people’s lives—captured the hearts and minds of those who heard his words, witnessed his miracles and believed Him to be every bit of Who He said He is. He is no mere teacher. He is the Rescuer, the Life-Giver, and the Savior of the world. The person of Jesus and his life, death, and resurrection is who we find at the end of Israel's story in the Hebrew Scriptures and the beginning of the age to come.

Simply put, Jesus is God’s great rescue plan for the world. And God is inviting you into a relationship through Jesus. God’s desire is that you turn from your way and trust in Jesus’ way. You will be forgiven, restored, and brought into a new life. God wants to be known. Do you want to know Him?

 

Learn more about how to begin a relationship with God.

Visit us on a Sunday to hear more.