Tuesday, July 16, 2019

As One who speaks with authority

John Stott in Why I Am a Christian, commenting on Matthew 11:25-27:
.... Is it possible for human beings to come to know God, for creatures to know their Creator? And if so, how is it possible for us to do so? Jesus addresses himself to these questions when he says that the Father has ‘hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children’ and that ‘no-one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him’. We note at once that the word common to both affirmations is the verb ‘revealed’. The implication is that there can be no knowledge of God without his initiative in revelation.

First, God is revealed only by Jesus Christ. It may be helpful to jump straight to the second statement of verse 27: ‘No-one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.’ That is to say, only Jesus knows God, so only he can make him known. This means, of course, that God is fully and finally revealed in Jesus Christ. It does not deny that there are other and lesser revelations. For example, God is partially revealed in the ordered loveliness of the created universe, in the moral demands of the human conscience and in the unfolding developments of history. But, although creation speaks of God’s glory, conscience of his righteousness, and history of his providence and power, nobody tells us of his love for human beings in their alienation and lostness, or of his plan to rescue us and reconcile us to himself, except Jesus of Nazareth.

This is the claim of Jesus, as we have already seen. And this is why every enquiry into the truth of Christianity must begin with the historic person of Jesus. The most unnerving thing about him is the quiet, unassuming yet confident way in which he advanced his stupendous claims. There was no fanfare of trumpets, no boasting and no ostentation. His manner was altogether unaffected. Yet here he is daring to call ‘the Lord of heaven and earth’ (the creator and sustainer of all things) his Father, and himself the Father’s Son (verse 25), indeed ‘the Son’ in an absolute way; and that all things have been committed to him by his Father (that is, that he is the heir of the universe). And finally he claims that as only he knows the Father, so only the Father knows him; he is an enigma to all others. There therefore exists between them an unparalleled reciprocal relationship. This is Jesus’ multiple claim. It is breathtaking in its sweep. Nobody else has dared to make it, while retaining his moral integrity, sanity and balance. ....

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