How God shows up in Jesus

“If God exists, why doesn’t he show up and prove it?”

I’ve mentioned a few times how helpful I’ve found Paul Williams and Barry Cooper’s approach to answering difficult questions helpful.[1] So often when we engage in apologetics we find ourselves wanting to take the person to Jesus and the Cross but find ourselves side tracked by complex apologetics. So I found it liberating when at a training session on evangelism, Paul Williams said “Why not do, that? Why not take them straight to Jesus?” For example, when someone asks you “If God exists, why doesn’t he show up and prove it?” then why not take them to the events of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection. That’s where God shows up, that’s where we see proof of his existence.[2]

Well, I’d got the point. Or had I?  This summer, we’ve been doing some evangelism training and I was talking through this approach to dealing with difficult questions when something struck me that I hadn’t quite got before. It’s no doubt obvious and no doubt I already there in Cooper and Williams book.[3]

You see, when I talk about Jesus as showing up and proving God’s existence, then I tend to think in terms of his miracles demonstrating God’s sovereignty.  The big example I remember Paul Williams using was of Jesus telling the storm to be still, demonstrating his power over creation.

But the risk at this point is I still end up treating Jesus as someone who comes and performs a magic trick to convince us.  That doesn’t feel right.  What is more, I’ve in effect separated out God’s greatness (his power) from his goodness and as we’ve seen here, the two go together inseparably. And that simply isn’t what happens with Jesus.

When Jesus shows up, he reveals the truth about God, that God exists and what God is like. . When Jesus showed up, he revealed and proved God’s power.  But he did more. His speaking to the storm shows us something of God as the creator who brings order and beauty instead of chaos. He showed that God is the one who brings peace and reconciliation.  He gave us a foretaste of the day when God will renew and restore his creation.  Jesus shows us and heals the sick, yes demonstrating God’s power but also showing us something of his heart. We see in Jesus the one who is love, forgiving sin, healing the hurting, mending the broken hearted, taking my place on the Cross. We see in Jesus the teacher God’s wisdom. We get an insight into his omniscience.   Jesus is the one who does His Father’s will. He reveals God’s will and purpose to us.

This links to something else. Whenever I talk about apologetics with groups, we usually discuss how people want answers to two questions “Is it true?” and “Does it work?”  By revealing God’s character and purpose to us, Jesus answers both questions.  We see that it is true that God exists but we also see that belief in God works, it brings forgiveness, peace and hope.

[1] See Paul Williams and Barry Cooper, If you could ask God one Question (The Good Book Company 2006).  In fact, this is really an example of the Presuppositional Apologetics approach taken by Van Till, John Frame and others and particularly exemplified so winsomely by Tin Keller.

[2] This isn’t to ignore traditional apologetics. You can still use things like the cosmological and teleological argument, refer to archaeology etc but you do so from the start and centre point of Jesus’ life and teaching.

[3] Apologies at this point as I don’t have a copy in front of me as whenever I buy copies in I tend to give them away as soon as possible.

 

Advertisements

One thought on “How God shows up in Jesus

Comments are closed.