For reasons doctors knew best, Kevin our boy when born, was immediately shifted to the neonatal intensive care unit. Prior to him, within a year gone by, my wife had a miscarriage and we were still wheeling out of the trauma. So, you may well imagine the fears that buffeted us with the pregnant future of our newly born. I vividly remember that intense emotion that kept my heart pounding and my eyes yearning to peek through that rectangular pane on the door of that NICU as many times as I was allowed to; and that glimpse of that little bundle of flesh swaddled in that cradle! Oh the joy of sighting those starry eyes staring as if at the heavenly angels gesturing ‘bon-voyage’. This spectacle which I saw from outside that atmosphere had instantly illuminated a hitherto unknown expanse in my heart; a father’s heart. There were many other babies that surrounded him that day, but my eyes were on him; only on him. He was special. He was mine.
It is with an intense affection that God called his people Israel as His very own! As He glanced at the many men living on the earth, on that particular day He fixed His eyes on one man – Abraham. And the calling of Israel as His son becomes fully established when Israel is taken out of Egypt. (Ex. 4:23) He chose Israel because He wanted them – and through them, the whole world – to be redeemed. He took them out because He wants to dwell with them (Ex. 25:8). But before He must dwell with them, they must be sanctified. As Ravi Zacharias writes, “in the Christian faith alone you have a sequence of three: redemption, righteousness, and worship.”
Although Israel had experienced how the Lord their God carried them just as a father would carry his son, they perpetually failed to reciprocate appropriately. They have deserted Him at the slightest of provocations. Moses was hardly gone for 40 days and they ended up changing their allegiance to a calf which they deified as god. So much so that in Exodus, God laments through the prophet, “For this is rebellious people - false-sons, sons who refuse to listen to the instructions of the Lord.” However, despite their stubbornness of heart, God established a temporary ritual of offering sacrifices as a means for them to access Him.
Mankind universally recognized that God is great and humans are small. God is perfect but they were flawed. Temples and shrines made efforts to bridge the gap. Sacrifices and offerings were made and rituals observed by “mediators” (priests) who sought to bring the remote divinity near. After all, God was God and human beings mortal flesh. For who among us would directly look at the sun with our eyes? The glory of it would immediately overwhelm and destroy our sight.
The human fallibility exposed the inevitability for the prerogative to provide for their redemption to remain with God. He told Abraham, “I will provide the lamb for the burnt offering” (Genesis 22:8). And true to his promise, in the fullness of time, He gave His son, a perfect sacrifice for the redemption of mankind! (John 3:16). Hence, while religion says, ‘do’ and ‘keep doing’, the Christian worldview says, ‘Done’, and ‘it is finished’.
As one may see the flames, colors and the glory of the blazing sun through filters, one could now see the glory of God through Jesus. That is one of the many reasons that Christians make their prayers accessible when they pray ‘in the name of Jesus’. I wonder, if you have ever thought of Jesus’ statement in John 14:6 - ‘I am way, the truth and the light’ in this perspective. No one qualifies to provide us the access to the Father (HOLY GOD) except Jesus, by Himself being our way, pointing to the Truth while illuminating our path with His light.
The greatest news that has ever been broken to the human race is the news that God is like Christ.
In other words,Jesus is the highest expression of God we have ever seen!
As followers of Christ, how are we to live out this greatest expression of God?
The Greece said, “Be moderate—know thyself”; Rome said, “Be strong—order thyself”; Confucianism says, “Be superior—correct thyself”; Shintoism says, “Be loyal—suppress thyself”; Buddhism says, “Be disillusioned—annihilate thyself”; Hinduism says, “Be separated—merge thyself”; Mohammedanism says, “Be submissive—assert thyself”; Judaism says, “Be holy—conform thyself”; Modern Materialism says, “Be industrious—enjoy thyself”; Modern Dilettanteism says, “Be broad—cultivate thyself”; Christianity says, “Be Christlike—give thyself.” (1)
E. STANLEY Jones writes, "When India, a non-Christian nation, wanted to pay her highest compliment to her highest son, she searched for the highest term she knew and called Gandhi a Christlike man."
During this season, may we turn our attention to the eternal mystery that was decrypted on that cross. Christ, the lavish gift of God can be meditated upon year after year; yet it would forever leave us to wonder in amazement. And as we meditate on that cross, let’s anticipate the victory of the light and the life of Christ over the darkness of sin and death. Let us live grateful lives for His redeeming grace in the face of our frailty. Having access to God through Jesus, we may now offer ourselves as living sacrifices, holy and acceptable to God. While our salvation cost us nothing, we are called to work out of our security in Christ. While God, through His Son Jesus calls you - His very own, would we not do everything in our ability to embrace him and become - Christlike