Grace and peace to you from God our Father and our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen
Have you Seen God? The creator of the universe full of Glory and majesty, have you seen him? It's a bit of an odd question, a question where both "yes" and "no" are correct.
No, I have not seen God. To see God in his fullness is to be totally exposed to God's purifying holiness which would consume all my sin, and result in my death here on earth. The bible has several passages that tell us no one has seen God. John says it in the start of his Gospel and Jesus himself says it "Not that anyone has seen the Father except the one who is from God; he has seen the Father" Here Jesus says that he is the only one to have seen the Father, because he came from him. No one else has seen God.
But then again some people have seen God. God is said to appear to different people throughout the old testament, but sometimes in these accounts the statement "we have seen God' has immediately followed someone speaking to an angel. Moses, the great holy man of the old testament was said to speak to God face to face. but only a few short verses later when Moses asks to see God's glory we are told,
"The Lord said, “I will make all my goodness pass before you, and will proclaim before you the name, ‘The Lord’; and I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy. But,” he said, “you cannot see my face; for no one shall see me and live...you shall see my back; but my face shall not be seen.”
No mortal man could experience the fullness of God, the Father, and live, He is too powerful, too majestic, too Holy for our sinful eyes, And so Jesus came.
In Jesus is the fullness of God he says himself " Whoever has seen me has seen the Father" "I am in the Father and the Father is in me"
At the start of John we read, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. And the Word became flesh and lived among us," and further," No one has ever seen God. It is God the only Son, who is close to the Father’s heart, who has made him known."
So what does this mean for us here today? Jesus the visible person of the trinity has ascended into heaven, and we have been given the invisible Holy Spirit to walk with us, teach us God's word and strengthen our faith. How do we as Christians who believe in Jesus without having seen him; see him. Well, we see God, Jesus, in a similar way to how the disciples saw the Father. Jesus Christ being one with God was a direct revelation of God's love for the world, for you. He knew God's will perfectly and lived it out, and by his actions, the disciples saw the Father. In the same way you who are baptised in the triune name, blessed with the Holy Spirit, by your actions you see God in other baptised Christians and they see God in you.
Amongst your friends and family, as a Christian, they see God in you. If others know that you are a follower of Christ, they will see you as God's representatives and your actions as God's actions. If you are Kind and loving, generous with your time and money they will see God shining through you. If on the other hand your attitude and actions are less than savoury you are not giving a good impression of the love that God has for all people. if when I sin against my family or friends refuse to repent, I am not giving a good picture of the Christian life. If when I am sinned against I withhold my forgiveness, I am being a poor representative of God's boundless mercy. Other people, other Christians when they see how we live our lives are either encouraged or disheartened.
Now we are not judged according to how others view us, by no means, Christ died for all our sins, and as long as we are still repenting of our sins, and looking to Jesus for forgiveness we are justified in God's sight. Whether people see it or not, as baptised Christians we are God's holy chosen people, set apart for service to him. If we live our lives closer to or further from the way of life God has set down for us, we are no more or less justified by Christ's atoning death.
The Holy Spirit dwells in us, the Holy Spirit works on our hard selfish hearts softening them and turning us back to Jesus. The Holy Spirit shows us where we have failed God, and have failed others, strengthening us and encouraging us to humble ourselves and ask for forgiveness.
As God's representatives and as people who God is seen in we have a hard task ahead in our lives, but the burden is not ours alone to bear and it is not a fearful task. "“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me." Jesus brings comfort to our troubled souls. it is in Jesus ultimately that God is seen. In the life he lived and the sacrifice he made. In Jesus is the way, the way to know God, to see him. In Jesus is the truth about God, and his overflowing love and forgiveness, and in Jesus is life, life now here on earth, and life eternal in Heaven, where finally and completely we will see God and live.
The peace of God which passes all understanding keep our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Amen.