John the Baptist continued his descriptive testimony to the person and mission of Jesus Christ. Although God had given His law to Israel through Moses, He sent His Son, Jesus, to bestow blessing upon blessing on us, to bring His “unfailing love and faithfulness”  to a world in darkness and death.

“No one,” said John, “has ever seen God. But the unique One, Who is Himself God, is near to the Father’s heart. He has revealed God to us.” John 1:18 NLT

One cannot read the Gospels without seeing how close Jesus was to His Father at all times. They are full of quotes from Jesus “I say what My Father says. I do the works of My Father. My Father and I are one. If you have seen me, you have seen My Father.”

Perhaps the one characteristic of God that surprised the people of Jesus’ day the most was His generosity, His inclusiveness. The Pharisees condemned Jesus for the company He kept– prostitutes, tax collectors, and sinners. Even His disciples were surprised as He reached out to a Roman centurion, the woman in Tyre, or allowed His busy day to be interrupted by children. The God that Jesus revealed had love that reached everyone, and was not exclusive to devout, upright Israelites.

This grace of God, demonstrated by Jesus’ reaching out to the worst outcasts, did nothing to diminish the holiness or righteousness of God. Jesus’ message was twofold; no one, not the most righteous of the Pharisees, had a righteousness that would meet God’s standard of holiness; and no one, not even the worst sinner, was beyond the reach of God’s grace. His coming sacrifice of Himself was perfect enough and great enough to atone for the sins of all the world.

The God Whom Jesus revealed, His dearly loved Father, has a love that encompasses the whole world, and yet has such a level of care for each individual, that He knows the number of hairs each one has. “This,” He told His disciples, “is your Father.”

 

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