February 13, 2014

No other Name, no other idol

Today’s verses remind me of those mazes in crossword puzzle books where you are to start at one side and draw a line through to the other. The challenge is avoiding the many deceptions and dead ends because there is only one way through to the other side.

Finding and knowing God is like that. Deceptions and dead ends abound. Many religions and spiritual movements claim to be the way. Some people even say that all of them lead to God, but this is not what God says. When Philip, one of His disciples, asked how to know the way, Jesus said . . .

I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. (John 14:6)

How could Jesus make this claim? It is because He fulfilled an ancient prophecy . . .

Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. (Isaiah 7:14, about 700-740 B.C.)
But as (Joseph) considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us). (Matthew 1:20–23, 700 years later)

Incarnation is the way through the maze, the way to find God. If anyone sees, finds, knows, accepts and believes in Jesus Christ, then they have seen and found God. Here are the rest of Jesus’ words to Philip . . .

“If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.” Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.” Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority, but the Father who dwells in me does his works. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else believe on account of the works themselves. (John 14:7–11)

Jesus made this remarkable claim many times. He could say such things for God had promised to come and dwell among us, and He was the fulfillment of that promise . . .

And Jesus cried out and said, “Whoever believes in me, believes not in me but in him who sent me. And whoever sees me sees him who sent me. I have come into the world as light, so that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness. (John 12:44–46)

I’m sitting here thinking about this and letting Jesus’ claim grab hold and sink in. Christians believe it, but we need to focus on it; I need to focus on it. I need to let the reality of who Jesus is continually permeate my thoughts and govern my day, my plans, my entire life.

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross. (Colossians 1:15–20)

Today’s devotional says that whatever I know about God comes through Jesus. He is God’s revelation of Himself to me. He is also the only One who takes the place of all my idols. He is reality, the way through the maze and the way that I am to walk, the life that I am to live, and the truth that rings true in all situations. When reality renders its verdict, it always points to Jesus.

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