I do not think that the "Father" God looks like ZZ Top, or Grandfather Twilight for that matter.
Nor do I think Jesus accessorizes his outfits with a life size crucifix.
And, no, that is not Hedwig from Harry Potter in the background.
Now that I'm done ridiculing this classic painting, please allow me to share the actual reason I am writing today...
I had a small epiphany as I was reading Hebrews Chapter 5 this morning. I'm quite sure that it's something that has been taught before, and it's probably taken for granted by people much wiser than myself, but I thought it was cool...
In this chapter the author talks a lot about Jesus being a high priest and whatnot. He illustrates the point that, since Jesus became human, he can be trusted to make our case before God, because he knows what it is like.
He knows what we go through on a daily basis.
The part the jumped out at me, was the part about him being God's son, and learning obedience through suffering.
I have always wondered why the phrase "Son of God" was so important in referencing Jesus.
I mean, he is God right? Why would God call himself his own son?
It never really made sense to me...
I could understand him being titled Christ, or Savior because that, as Christians see it, was his purpose. But to use family verbiage to describe God himself coming to earth always seemed a bit strange to me.
What is it about the whole "god head" (three-in-one) concept that makes me feel like God has Dissociative Identity Disorder?
I mean, someone with multiple personalities often think they are one person, without realizing that they are shifting between different identities.
Maybe that's what God has...
He could probably get treated for that.
Then it hit me...
God didn't need to give himself that title. Believe it or not, it's actually for our benefit. Jesus could've just said he was God, rather than bothering with the whole Son of God, Son of Man business, but he didn't.
There is a reason.
God doesn't make mistakes.
God, above all, wants us to find him.
So why the title?
God created family. He created man and woman to become one, he created them to have children. He created children to see the love between a husband and wife, and to emulate that example for generations to come.
A father holds incredible influence over a developing child.
Children long for their father's approval.
Children want to please their father, to feel his joy.
As much as society tries to stress the opposite, there is a distinct difference in children that have not felt their father's love.
So here is why Jesus is the "only begotten Son of God":
First, because God had never taken on human form before. That much speaks for itself.
Secondly, however, it is because God is creative. God paints beautiful pictures. Take a look at nature some time and you will see his canvas of creativity.
God knows that not everyone can learn the same way.
He understands that some prefer picture books and comics to Moby Dick or War and Peace.
He knows that some feel him strongly in a church service, while others find him in Mosh Pits.
He understands that some things just can't be explained in words.
So, he doesn't merely give us a book of directions to read and act on.
He is tactile.
He wants us to have something tangible to grasp when we try to please him.
This is where Jesus comes in.
Jesus was the only man to ever keep the standard of life God set for the world; he fulfilled the law that ensured the world would be as God intended.
Now humanity has a tangible picture of what an honorable, true, genuine, authentic life should look like. We understand God better because he has revealed himself through Jesus.
My friend Abby always starts her prayers by saying, "Hey Dad", or something of that nature. When I first heard it, I thought it a bit odd. Maybe a little too...informal. I mean, if you're talking to Big Guns upstairs you might want to try to throw in a bit of pizzaz, right? Give him a special title or something?
Lead off with a, "Oh most supreme Lord of the universe" or something?
After reading Hebrews today I began to realize just how beautiful a simple "Hey Dad" can be. It is an intimate and passionate God who holds the heavens together. Not a businessman who does transactions.
I never thought about it this way before but, now that I've started, it gives me great joy.
I love my Dad!
God hasn't left us alone.
He is actively involved in our lives, actively seeking out new ways to relate to us. To bring us that much closer to him. I see this all the more clearly after my adventure in the book of Hebrews this morning.
Brilliant. Just brillant.