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’?
-John 14:9, ESV
John’s Gospel tells us that Jesus is the Word, the Memra, the second Yahweh figure who was visible to the Israelites during the events of the Old Testament. This Gospel was incredibly important to me when I became a Christian, struggling with the question of who Jesus is. I walked something like the Romans Road to salvation, aware of my sin and my inability to meet the standard of righteousness required by God. The prevailing feeling at that time was fear. “Sinners in the hands of an angry God.”
Luke’s Gospel, which I was studying at the time in school as part of my Religious Studies course, emphasised Jesus as the Son of God. Little was provided to help us understand what that meant. I was also studying Latin and Ancient Greek at the time, so I had the Greco-Roman concepts attached to this phrase, but they seemed inappropriate to the monotheism of Judaism. Luke’s Gospel also impressed upon me the same sense of dread I was feeling in Romans, because it features the preaching of John the Baptist before the Temptation in the Wilderness and the beginning of the Galilean Ministry. John the Baptist struck me as a “fire and brimstone” sort of preacher – scary.
Then I turned to John’s Gospel, and found some of the confusion and fear I was experiencing lifted. John told me that Jesus is God. This answered the deep, searching question within me about who Jesus is. But it went further than that. John’s Gospel told me what God wanted of us in the simplest of terms: to be believe on Jesus Christ whom He has sent. Jesus promised never to turn away anyone who came to Him, and He promised that He would raise up on the last day all those who died believing in Him.
John’s Gospel allowed me to see God in Jesus, just as Paul calls Jesus “the image of the invisible God”. In Jesus I saw a God who cared about righteousness as I had seen in Romans and Luke, but I also saw a God who was compassionate on the sinner, who understood our weaknesses and who loved us nonetheless. I saw a God who was willing to do whatever was necessary – and more – to save us and to show His love to us. In that sense, I saw two glories – the glory of Jesus as Yahweh, the Creator, but also the simple glory of Jesus as Love, as Kindness.
Jesus is the Word of the Father: He is the Father’s message to mankind. If you want to know what God is saying to us, look at Jesus.