What God Looks Like
Christ is the visible image of the invisible God (v.15).
In March of 2012, Americans listened with regret and repulsion as we heard reports of an American soldier in Afghanistan who went on a killing spree in a rural Afghan village. This rogue soldier massacred 16 civilian Afghanis.
This is an absolute horror. The aftermath compounds our grief because these evil actions (and several other travesties) will, for some, define American ideals to our Afghani neighbors. Because of the actions of one violent man, many will believe that Americans are filled with hatred and are to be feared. Who can blame them? When someone acts in our name or on our behalf, we’re represented by their actions.
In a way, we could say that God represented Himself (and His reputation) in Jesus—the Son of God who has been part of God’s work in the world from the beginning. Through Jesus, God “created everything” (Colossians 1:16). Through Jesus, God rules over “thrones, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities” (v.16). In Jesus, we see God in action.
Jesus, however, does more than represent God. Rather, Jesus actually embodies Him. Jesus Christ shows us what God looks like. Jesus is the visibility of Him—God with skin on.As Paul says, “God in all His fullness was pleased to live in Christ” (v.19).
If we want to know what God is like, we look first at Jesus Christ. We can’t know all there is to know of God, not by a long shot. But we can know a lot. We know that He is full of love. We know that He cares for justice and rebukes hypocrisy. We know that He loves the outcasts and misfits. We know that He heals the sick and forgives the sinner and longs for us to experience life to the full.
We know that Goddoes all these things because Jesus does all these things.
Pick any story in one of the four gospels. Read the story slowly with this question in mind: What does Jesus’ action and heart reveal to me about God?
What is your biggest question about God’s will or God’s love for you? What does Jesus’ life and teaching say to your question?