This summer, as we engage in a conversation about the Bible, it will inevitably lead to discussion about Jesus, which in the end will result (I hope) in a lifelong dialogue about God; Let it be known – write in your journal, post in your blog, tweet to the cloud – that during the summer of 2013 you engaged in theology – the study of God.
There is absolutely nothing more fascinating, more simple and yet complex, than the study of God, seriously. But did you ever stop to consider that the only reason why we know anything about God at all is because He has graciously revealed Himself to us?
Theologians tell us that there are two types of revelation – general and special. For today’s discussion we’re going to chat about special revelation: “The content of special revelation is primarily God Himself…and this revelation is both “knowledge about God and knowledge of God.”
We don’t get very far into our conversation in the Gospel of John before we’re engaged in the theology of special revelation:
“We all live off his generous bounty,
gift after gift after gift.
We got the basics from Moses,
and then this exuberant giving and receiving,
This endless knowing and understanding—
all this came through Jesus, the Messiah.
No one has ever seen God,
not so much as a glimpse.
This one-of-a-kind God-Expression,
who exists at the very heart of the Father,
has made him plain as day.” (The Message)
Did you catch that? Maybe read it again just in case….
All the way through the Bible, from Moses (you meet him in the book of Exodus) to this short passage God reveals His character, the plan of redemption, the promise of a Messiah, the Word, the Light, the explanation – the person of Christ.
I love how The Message translates this remarkable truth, “No one has ever seen God, not so much as a glimpse, Jesus is the One of a kind expression of God, plain as day, simple as that.
Theology – so simple: Jesus Christ born in a manger; so mind-bogglingly profound it hurts our brain: Jesus Christ, Son of God, King of kings, Lord of lords. If your brain isn’t hurting right now, go back and read John 1:1-4; 14, 18 and let the Light shine into the dusty parts of your noggin’…then, lay this short passage, Hebrews 1:1-2, alongside John 1:16-18:
Going through a long line of prophets, God has been addressing our ancestors in different ways for centuries. Recently he spoke to us directly through his Son. By his Son, God created the world in the beginning, and it will all belong to the Son at the end. This Son perfectly mirrors God, and is stamped with God’s nature. He holds everything together by what he says—powerful words!
Did you catch it? What does this passage reveal about Jesus? Go ahead – take a stab, what do you see? Then celebrate – You.Are.Practicing.Theology!
If you want to linger here for a few minutes, please do.
Or if you don’t quite get it, write the verses down on a piece of paper, or read them aloud, or simply ask the Spirit of God to reveal, to explain, to help the truth sink in.
Okay, so being the theologian that you are, I wanted to tell you that over the next several weeks this conversation will continue, and as it does, remember that as you peer into the life of Jesus from Nazareth – the one who walks along dusty trails and on top of salty seas, who raises eyebrows and raises the dead – you are “doing theology.” And, as Truth and Grace washes over your soul, you’re able to understand and comprehend because He wants you to know Him.
“Revelation is God’s manifestation of himself to humankind in such a way that men and women can know and have fellowship with him.”
(quotes taken from A Theology for the Church, Danny Akin and a chapter entitled Special Revelation, Daniel S. Dockery and David P. Nelson)