Week 39 “Who is God?”

By Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell (Guest Blogger)

Week 39

Scripture Readings: Hebrews 1-4

Key Scripture Verse: Hebrews 1: 3 (NIV, Life Application Bible)

“The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word.”

The beginning of the book of Hebrews starts off saying that God had sent many prophets and teachers, had revealed himself through visions, dreams, sending angels with messages to specific people, but when he sent Jesus, God was speaking to his people through his son who was the same as he. It also states that even though angels had been sent many times to convey a message to the people, they were messengers of God, but not God himself. In Jesus, we have the benefit of God revealing himself in “exact representation” of his own character.

Jesus was there at the beginning when God formed the earth; he represents God’s word. In John we read that “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1). Hebrews says that Jesus is superior to the angels that the angels bow down to him. Jesus was not merely a teacher, a prophet, or a messenger of God’s word, he was not only God’s word, but God himself.

When Jesus died on the cross and the curtain tore in the temple, the people no longer had a barrier between them and God. Jesus had removed the barrier of sin which separated us from God and once he became the sacrifice for our sins by dying on the cross, we were reconciled to God the Father and no longer was there any veil separating us from him. That’s the grace of the gospel. Jesus became our direct access. And after he was gone, the Holy Spirit was sent to be our access forevermore.

It is significant to note that Jesus and his covenant were a replacement of the old—Jesus not only fulfilled the prophecies and the teachings of the past, he was God himself represented in the flesh, and he brought a new covenant.

If we ever question who God is or what he looks like, what his character is, how he operates, our best representation of God is Jesus. We need look no further. Jesus, the Holy Spirit, and God the Father are one.

This should be very reassuring. If we read the scriptures and learn how Jesus did things, what he taught, understand how much he loves us, and allow him to reveal himself to us, we will develop in faith. We have direct access to God through Jesus in our prayers and through reading his word.

We can be in relationship with the living Christ. We can accept and receive his forgiveness through his grace and commune with him forever. We do not need to communicate through an intermediary. We do not need to commune with angels. We have direct access to God himself. No veil, no barrier, no separation. We need only accept the gift of his love. It’s simple. It’s profound.

Jesus said that if we know him, we also know the father, because they are one and the same–he is “the exact representation if his being.” How awesome is that?

By Paul Simrell

The Reverend Paul W. Simrell has served for over thirty years in a variety of congregational and institutional settings. He is a recognized minister with standing in the Virginia region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada and is nationally endorsed by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) for specialized ministry in both pastoral counseling and chaplaincy. Ordained in 1982, he has served congregations in Kentucky, Texas, Florida, and Virginia. He currently serves as the pastor of Elpis Christian Church, a small, historic congregation located just a few miles west of Richmond, Virginia. Elpis is the Greek word meaning “expectant hope.” He also serves on the associate clinical staff of the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care, Richmond, Virginia, both as a pastoral counselor and a ministerial assessment specialist, specializing in executive, clergy and relationship coaching. He is a graduate of the University of Florida and Lexington Theological Seminary and has done advanced clinical training in chaplaincy and pastoral counseling at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky, Children’s Medical Center and Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Texas and the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care in Richmond, Virginia. He is a Certified Pastoral Counselor, an ACPE Practitioner, and a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors. He is a Certified Facilitator of the Prepare-Enrich relationship assessment and skills-building program and served as a volunteer chaplain for over twenty years with the CJW Medical Center campuses in Richmond, Virginia. His avocational interests include playing the piano and drawing. He is very happily married to his wife Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell, a free-lance writer, who is also a Certified Facilitator for the Prepare-Enrich program. Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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