Episode 1. The Hidden Things of God
If God is Spirit, why did He create us in the physical dimension. And why did He take so long to reveal Himself. And why was it that when Jesus came, most people just didn’t get it? Hmm … Have you ever met someone who seems to speak really well and eloquently but after you’ve […]
If God is Spirit, why did He create us in the physical dimension. And why did He take so long to reveal Himself. And why was it that when Jesus came, most people just didn’t get it? Hmm …
Have you ever met someone who seems to speak really well and eloquently but after you’ve listened to them for a while you’re left thinking, “Hang on a minute, I don’t think I understand a word they just said”. It’s as though we’re on different planets.
I know a few people like that and it’s an uncomfortable feeling because they sound like they really know what they’re talking about and I’m left thinking, “Maybe I’m just stupid, I’m certainly missing something here but I just can’t figure out where they’re coming from”. You’ve probably had that feeling too, somehow they’re looking at things from a different frame of reference or from a different perspective and we just don’t get it.
Well you know that’s exactly how people felt about Jesus half the time. He’d get up and speak to a crowd and it was fantastic but it was almost as though He was speaking in riddles. They didn’t get what He was saying half the time. Now why, why would the Son of God speak to people like that? What was He on about?
It’s kind of an odd thing. You would think wouldn’t you that God would be a communicator “par excellence”; that everything that Jesus said and did would be plain and obvious? After all He only had three and a half years in His public ministry. He was set to turn the world upside down and yet so much of what He was on about just wasn’t clear.
Like, for instance, who He actually was. Here we have Israel in the 1st Century, they remember the promises made by God to King David a thousand years before, that David’s sons would rule over Israel forever but instead Israel strayed away from God. So for the last 500 years, which is a long time, except for a brief period of independence, Israel had been an occupied land.
First it was the Babylonians and the Syrians and the Greeks and now, in the 1st Century, the Romans. See they were looking for a king to set them free because the king of Israel was known as “the Messiah, Gods anointed one” and they were expecting maybe a warrior like David. Someone to kick the Romans out and get things back to the way they should have been, to re-establish the kingdom of Israel, the kingdom of God as an independent nation under their own king under their own God.
You see, it seemed perfectly obvious to them but instead of a powerful warrior like King David to conquer the nations around them, God sent them what? Some crummy carpenter from Nazareth. Now to be sure He did some amazing miracles but He wasn’t what they expected Him to be. Part way through His ministry Jesus asked His disciples:
Who do the people say that the Son of Man is?
See, He even uses a funny title like the Son of Man, what does that mean? So He says:
Who do the people say I am? And they replied, “Well some say you’re John the Baptist, others say Elijah and still others think you’re Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” “But what about you?” He asked, “Who do you say that I am?” And Simon Peter answered Him, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God
See the confused response. Some people thought He was John the Baptist. Well, John the Baptist had just been beheaded by Herod. Some thought He was Elijah or Jeremiah or one of the prophets from centuries before who had come back.
The average punter on the streets didn’t have a clue who He was or what to do with Him and the only people that did were those who were close to Him, the 12 Disciples. They figured it out, yet over and over and over again you see how even they were confused about who Jesus was and what He was on about.
The crazy thing was, He drew these huge crowds. Jesus did the most amazing miracles; I mean He brought Lazarus back to life again, Jesus healed blind people and He cured them of Leprosy and there was a man who couldn’t walk and He healed this lame man.
So He did these amazing miracles and He talked in a way that resonated with the people and yet, instead of this obviously powerful man of God hanging out with the religious and political establishment, He spends most of His time with outcasts, prostitutes and tax collectors … the rejects. So the establishment accuses Him of being a glutton and a drunkard. They saw His amazing miracles and yet they didn’t understand.
I don’t know about you but I’d be pretty frustrated at this point. If, if God had sent me to this earth to turn it upside down and to tell people what, what God was like I would get so frustrated and think, ‘God why don’t they get it? I’m doing everything right, I’m healing the blind and the lame and the sick. I’m preaching what You told me to preach, I’m drawing huge crowds, why don’t these fools get it?’ Instead this is what Jesus prayed, Jesus said:
I praise you Father Lord of heaven and earth because you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned and revealed them to the little children. Yes Father for this was your good pleasure.
Well He certainly has a whole bunch more patience than I do. He spoke in parables and then people would go home and talk about it over the dinner table and say, “What do you think He meant?”
In a sense God deliberately hid Himself, He came in the form of a carpenter not a prophet, not a king, not a warrior, not what the people expected and He, little by little, revealed Himself to the people.
Not all of the people, not the ones in the top religious positions but little people like you and me. In fact, think about it, God is God in a spiritual dimension and He puts us in a physical dimension and somehow He reaches out to us across that divide and then we have to discover who He is by faith as He reveals Himself bit by bit, isn’t that amazing?
I mean, sometimes I hear people talking as though they have God all figured out. I’ve studied systematic theology too but I just don’t think that we can slice and dice God and put Him into little boxes and categories and doctrines and say, “You know something, I have God sorted out”.
I don’t. With me the relationship with God is a discovery and an adventure and I have this sense of awe and some days it’s confusing and some days it’s scary, and some days it’s such an incredible delight.
See God hides Himself from the wise and the learned and reveals Himself to the little children. Not to the proud “I know it all” people but, but to the little children, the people who come to Him with a simple faith. And He peels back the layers of the onion, little bit by little bit by little bit, one at a time so that we can grow and learn and draw nearer and hear His voice and give our lives over to Him and make mistakes and learn again.
This is the mystery and the wonder; it’s a journey of discovery. God hides so many things, so much about God is a mystery and then, then in the person of Jesus Christ we discover Him little by little, day by day and you know something; I think we’re going to spend the rest of eternity discovering who God is.